Tom’s Cure For Rampant Gun Violence

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The old, standby answer that “it starts in the home” isn’t as valid as it used to be. That works when the home is stable, but what about kids who have lived in places that are mired in dysfunction…drugs, alcohol, abuse, violence, mental illness…what about them? Who will give them hope?

We used to understand that we are all family, and if a child was lacking something we had, it was our duty to share with them. When this way of thinking was prevalent, communities thrived, in some cases, in spite of poverty, substandard schools, etc. Our communities weren’t perfect, but they were a lot better than they are now.

I’m all for programs geared to help young people. They’re needed and they work.  Ask people who grew up in the 70s about the impact the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) had on their lives.  Then ask them what happened to their cities when Ronald Reagan abolished the program.  It opened the door to more gang violence, drugs and other crimes. Many of the people caught up in that web, for whatever reason, are the parents and grandparents of the teens and young adults wreaking havoc on our communities, and they’re having kids too.

Programs can only do so much if people are empty. Until we start filling in the gaps for children and teens and even adults with no one to let them know that they matter, we will continue to see an onslaught of violence by us, against us.

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18 thoughts on “Tom’s Cure For Rampant Gun Violence

  1. KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK note

     

    In the Wayne County Mississippi Newspaper Front page continues 8A February 14,2013 addition.

    KKK threat to kill my child four children continous violations. We need representation. But, Sheriff office said they cannot get involved with this, they have a contract with the school.I called 911 they couldn’t help us.

    Rayar Johnnson
    rjohnson4ob(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. Before entering my last year of college, I was a field supervisor for the CETA program in Atlanta. The children employed by this program were proud to go to work and get paid each week. The money was rarely for them. Many of the children lived in Public Housing and might have been the only family member to leave the house to go to work. Most of the children were brining extra income home for their families.
    The program placed them in summer youth employment ranging from Park Attendants and Child Care to Office support at United Way. They learned to come to work on time and do what was asked of them and the reward was a PAYCHECK. This was not a hand-out, but a hand up. It taught a work-ethic which is sadly lost on this generation. This program was HOPE for our youth.

    Tom maybe we all should demand the return of CETA.

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  4. Great comment and very much to the point. We can’t just talk about it. We have to be about it. If all of us who commented is actually engaged in helping our communities (in whatever capacity) it would be a good start. Don’t give up – nothing good or worthwhile comes easy. Let’s all write back and tell Tom what we are doing as individuals to help our youth. ME- mentoring the youth and assisting with youth-related programs in my community. I don’t have much but I donate to youth oriented programs in my community whenever I can. Some people who can really help – have moved away and are afraid to go back into the neighborhoods they left and to me that is understandable but if you don’t who will?

  5. I think Mr. J is on to something, as as African americans, we could step outside of the box and not be afraid to move to say Boise, Fargo, Sioux Falls, Salt Lake City, Cheyenne and even smaller cities and towns in states we haven’t necessarily populated in large numbers. They aren’t necessarily devoid of Black folks or even a Black community(i.e.-Cheyenne and Casper Wyoming both have long time Black churches and there are some in states like Montana, Idaho, Utah and in the Dakotas), but we can’t be afraid to pursue that job opening in the Dakotas or wyoming, as those states have an energy boom right now with low unemployment. So, maybe we as a people need to open ourselves up to forming new communities in cities and towns in those states. We are even in those states to some degree as well.

    • Unfortunately, moving to these areas may not solve the issue if the black child(ren) are subjected to racism/bullying. I should know, I grew up in Bloomington, MN in the late 70′s. I lashed out at everyone, I hated being Black, got involved in gangs and drugs. Finally became a teenage mother at 17. My parents were trying to protect me from the bad elements in Milwaukee, WI and it didn’t really work. Fortunately, I changed my life when my son was born, decided to raise my children in Atlanta, GA and now both my children are college educated, model citizens and proud of their African American heritage. I believe instilling pride, honesty and challenging their minds. I wasn’t a college grad (going to school now at 42) but I knew I wanted them to achieve greatness to the best of their ability and refuse the cycle of self hate to repeat. I believe we need to teach self love but they have to see what real love it looks and feels like. Maybe it’s time we go back and invest in our “hoods” and turn them back to neighborhoods. We can’t wait for white man, politicians or preachers – WE are the solution. Peace

    • It is going to take resources (i.e. dead presidents) to move to Boise, Fargo, Sioux Falls, Salt Lake City, Cheyenne and smaller towns. Money will be needed to rent a U-haul, money will be needed to tide one’s self over until employment can be found. Hud, in 1972-1973 when I was stationed in Big Sky Country known as the state of Montana, there were no black churches and no black community outside the perimeter of Malmstrom Air Force Base. In fact, true story the near by city Great Falls had a librarian who was a light skin black woman, folks asked me if I was related to her. Once when I was patronizing a store in this same city, a merchant trying to make small talk told me that Charley Pride had started from Montana. I had no idea who Charley Pride was. I would say to African americans look at the weather reports about the areas named by C. Hud especially during the winter months. Those who currently reside in Chicago, New York and other states up north know what to expect. Those who live in the south and the west are going to get a severe reality check. I once heard a college professor say this, ” forewarned is forearmed”.

  6. Very good article Tom .Have our own choices bought on the terrible times?Where is the church?Has the church become the the “unseen community?Or are they so busy looking at the W2 forms? i

  7. There are no laws that you can decree that will stop BLACK ON Black murders. We have depend on this evil system to help create jobs for them. What we need to do is create our own industries and employ us. Further. We don’t have jobs that we can give our children

  8. Programs for children are great, but I think we’ve passed that point. We ALSO need programs for adults who created these children and the grandparents that often get stuck raising them. They need help, too!

  9. i agree, young people don’t have the same morals we had, they let the children argue back and talk back, the children do what they want. in most cases , they are not children of drug abuse or things like that, the programs really did help out alot. these young women need parenting classes , and on the job training , day care and health care how can we go to work sick, this world is a dam mess, every time our president try to fix a problem he talking about the middle class and up what about the people such as me. divorced after twenty years, 7 grown children, 1 in college , 1 in jail, and 5 productive working adults. , my self went back to college at 40 got an A.A degree in social work , but works part time for 8.11 an hour no insurance for me cause i am low income with a college student. i will never give up. but people like me need insurance then, they wonder why , young people sell drugs, hell u have to pay to go to doctors , and ur med’s high is hell i take 6 pills no insurance u figure it out. student loans to the max can’t go back to school . a mess, everyone has a story to tell just being real for a min.

  10. USA Today wrote a article on the issues of these large cities and questioning why/how African American seems to keep moving into these cities with NO JOBS or not enough legitimate jobs to adequately supply the number of citizens that crowd into these cities. Yet, yearly millions more African Americans keep moving into the overpopulated cities? Why? My cousins talk about the job issues in Atlanta (3 of 5 black men unemployed in Atlanta) yet, I’m 1.5 hours outside of Atlanta and they’re hiring everywhere! In my area, a new Caterpillar plant, Johnson & Johnson expansion, etc. They simply don’t want to move out of Atlanta for the nightlife and not comfortable around other races! This is idiotic…..until this change, a look in the mirror is what plagues the African American community.

    • MR J I AM AN MAN OF AFRICAN DECENT (AFRICAN AMERICAN) WHO HAS JUST MOVED BACK TO THE CITY I LOVE BUT COULD NOT AFFORD TO LIVE IN AT THE TIME I MOVED (JOB LOSS) ONCE I WAS ABLE TO FIND ANOTHER JOB I MOVED BACK (CHICAGO ENGLEWOOD) TO FIND WHAT I FEARED. THE AREAS WE AS AFRICAN AMERICANS INHABIT IN THE CITY ARE PRIME PROPERTY , THE HISTORY OF THIS CITY TELLS THE STORY THAT IS THE SAME FOR MANY INNER CITIES, FEARFUL OF LIVING WITH THE NEGRO “WHITE FLIGHT” LEFT THESE AREAS WITHOUT JOBS OR VIABLE OPTIONS AND THE EFFECT OF THIS ARE WHAT U SEE WHEN U GO THROUGH THESE AREA. I WORK 40MILES FROM MY HOME BUT TO LIVE IN AN AREA THAT NOT ONLY EXCLUDES SIDEWALKS BUT HAS A RACIST POSTURE, AND THE JOB MARKET U SPEAK OF HAS NEVER WARMLY WELCOMED PEOPLE OF COLOR , THE ESSENCE OF THE AFRICN AMERICAN RELIES ON COMMUNITY AND THE BURBS IS THE POSTER CHILD FOR ISOLATION.AND NOW THAT THERE IS CONCIDERATION FOR IMPROVMENT IN THE INNER CITY WE ARE BEING PUSHED OUT TO MAKE WAY FOR IMPROVMENTS (GENTRIFACTION).WHERE WAS THE CONCERN FOR THESE AREAS DURING THE TIME OF DECLINE?. I HAVE VISITED THE ATL AND IS IS A BEAUTIFUL CITY I AM SURE THE EXPERIENCE I HAVE HAD IS NOT ISOLATED.

      • I understand your plight, however you can’t have it both ways. To continue to overpopulate a city when there are CLEARLY not enough jobs to support its inhabitates, it’s simply not wise. It not only hurts us culturally, it hurts African Americans politically. Look how the state legislatures are drawing up the districts where we have very little representation…..basically because we all bunch into one area! The Republcans have gerrymandered the states because we refuse to spread out. How can I as a father of children look at my kids in the eye and claim to do what’s best for them and their well-being if I refuse to move out of a crime infested area? schools with no funding because it’s too populated to handle the students? Move to where the jobs are is a no brainer! I’m not saying move out into the boondocks, but this hangup that we (African Americans) have on the inner cities has to change for African Americans as a whole to change. If you want hope, give yourself hope, give your kids a fighting chance….a overpopulated city is no longer a option. My kids don’t dodge bullets on their way to school, nor do I live in a impoverished area due to simply overpopulation, there will always be racist in our midst….but I ain’t running from them and they won’t deny my kids the chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…..just because I’m scared to venture out of my comfort zone.

    • Mr. J. I was thinking the same thing. Black people have stopped migrating to new areas. After the great migration north and west we stopped. Also, in Chicago many jobs have left, they have torn down the projects, only shifting the problem around. The school system has changed, people cannot send their children to school in their neighborhood. Public transportation has decreased including the suburbs. Chicago does not ‘work’ for poor people. It’s a greater struggle to survive.

  11. The article hit the nail on the head: Our youth don’t face any greater obstacles than those of ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. The number one problem of Black America continues to be our prison/justice system. It’s not about helping, doing, raising, or loving any more (after all many of us had shared in these voids, but turned out okay). It is our conditioning. For every young person that goes off to college, there is at least three that goes to prison. After three years in any institution, you become condition to that environment or way of life. When our college graduates come back to our communities (those that come back), they remained out numbered by standards of convicts returning. Our prison system is far out pacing the collegiate response to life in our communities. And until we stand collectively and demand prison reform from our government, we will not make a dent in violence, poverty, or opportunity. The prison system continues to have the most adverse impact on our community. If Obama could or would address this issue, then he we have done something meaningful for Black America. Until then we are just flapping our jaws.

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