Jacksonville, Florida is reeling from a rash of murders in the city. Like any community, the city wants to curb that violence and is willing to do whatever it can to do so.
I don’t blame it.
What’s important here, though, is that its list of fast fixes doesn’t include gun control.
[State Representative Tracie] Davis, along with Senator Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, pastors, mothers of murdered kids, and concerned residents gathered at Elizabeth Powell Park where a 24-year old man and a 14-year-old boy died last week by gun violence.
“So we want to offer solutions for today, not solutions for March, after March 19, not solutions for April, not solutions for May, we need solutions right now that need to be implemented,” Gibson said.
She added that its time to declare a state of urgency. Some of the solutions included calling on the City Council to release funding for after-school programs as well as calling on the governor to bring in State Troopers and possibly the National Guard to help patrol the city streets.
Gibson also stood by the idea of implementing a stricter curfew.
The curfew isn’t just for youth, either.
Now, after-school programs and calling for additional law enforcement officers are probably a good idea. I don’t know that the after-school programs will have an immediate impact, but I think it might over the long-term.
Curfews where the city’s telling adults not to be out at certain times when there’s not some emergency going on? Yeah, I don’t see that one flying.
It’s one thing to tell kids they need to be home by a certain time, but adults? That’s way too Nanny State for me.
Still, I do applaud the city for looking for solutions other than trying to restrict law-abiding citizens’ right to own guns. Now, that might be part of a longer-term strategy on Jacksonville’s part. I won’t rule that out. If you’re someone who thinks gun control works, it even makes sense to do so.
But I’ve always been flabbergasted by the people who only call for gun control as a way to combat gun violence.
Violence of any kind is problematic as well as complex. We don’t understand it nearly well enough, but what we do know is that violent people are going to be violent regardless of the weapon. If you’re serious about combatting violence, you have to look beyond the tool being used.
In Jacksonville, officials seem to be trying to do just that, and I applaud them for it.
If I were to offer suggestions, they’d be to work with either a local university of one of the larger universities in the state such as the University of Florida or Florida State University to research into what leads to people becoming violent in the first place. If you can find the underlying causes of the violence, you can effectively address the root causes.
If it turns out to be economic immobility, then work to address that.
Now, those aren’t quick fixes. It’ll take years to figure out what the right steps are. Though Jacksonville has a problem now, I’d urge leaders to start looking deeper if they want long-lasting peace.