The city of Jackson, Michigan has a violence problem. At least, that’s what the people there believe and regardless of any statistics may say–though, admittedly, the statistics do agree–that’s what really matters. That means the city is getting a lot of pressure to do something, and we know how that usually goes.
To be fair, the city looked didn’t look to gun control for their answers. Instead, what they looked at was a violence prevention program.
Just minutes after the city passed it, though, tragedy reminded everyone just how ugly it can be in Jackson.
At 8:04 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, Jackson City Council approved a plan to take on gun violence in the community.
At 8:39 p.m., the city was again reminded of the pervasiveness of the problem. Less than a mile from City Hall, a 12-year-old boy was hit in the ear by a bullet.
Just 35 minutes later.
The boy was just injured, thankfully, but tell me that doesn’t put the exclamation point on the fact that something needing to be done.
So what is this plan that the city passed?
The program, called Cure Violence, treats violence like a disease, enlisting “violence interrupters” in the community to de-escalate issues and connect at-risk people with needs like housing, jobs and social services. The city will hire five people in the community part time, for the program.
A conglomerate of residents spoke during public comment, pleading for something to be done to stop the violence.
The Cure Violence program passed by the council won’t be put into place until March 2020. Council members noted this community-based program isn’t going to have immediate results and is only a fraction of the solution.
I’ll give them credit for admitting that this won’t change things overnight and it’s not the answer. It’s just part of it. Some people who resort to crime do so from a place of desperation. They need to support a family, so they do whatever they can to do so. Providing a place they can get help without resorting to criminal activity is probably a good thing.
However, I have my doubts about how prevalent those people are.
Much of the problem in America’s cities stem from gangs. Members of gangs who didn’t turn to that life because they needed a job and the local chapter of The Bloods had a “help wanted” sign out front. People join gangs for a variety of reasons, but there’s usually a certain kind of pride shared by gang members. They’re not desperate, they’re thrilled.
That’s where anti-violence programs really need to focus their attentions. Trying to help people get housing and jobs is all fine and good, but what Jackson really needs is to find a way to break up the gangs that run their streets as well. Disrupt their activities so they’re nothing more than a minor nuisance–you’ll never get rid of them for good. Criminal organizations are like cockroaches that way. Just look at the mob, for example–and then you can take your streets back.
Do that and then you don’t have to worry about 12-year-old victims making a point about how out of control violence is in your city.