Replacing Guns With Gardening Sounds Great, But It Won't Work

In inner cities all over the country, various groups are looking for things they can do to combat the violence that plagues their communities. They aren’t legislative bodies, so while they might want gun control, they can’t actually pass gun control. The smart ones start looking for other things they can do to try and minimize the violence.

These efforts can range from midnight basketball to backyard fight clubs.

However, it seems that one group has an idea that they can replace “guns” with “gardening” and reduce violence. In an article titled, “South Columbus neighborhood aims to replace guns with gardening“:

A new community garden in the Driving Park neighborhood celebrated its first harvest on Saturday with a “garden party” on Berkeley Road.

“The OG Garden,” which stands for Our Garden, was founded on April 10 this year, when local yoga instructor Marjorie Nesbitt dedicated her empty lot at 897 Berkeley Road for a neighborhood gardening project.

The garden is in the middle of one of Columbus’ most violent neighborhoods, relative to gun violence. Multiple fatal shootings happened mere blocks away on Berkeley Road, just this past summer.

I wish them well, but I’d also advise them not to get too worked up if it doesn’t work.

Because I’m pretty sure it won’t.

Look, I like that they’re apparently looking for things to reduce violence in their communities and they’re not pushing for gun control with this effort. I really do appreciate that and I really do wish them all the best.

However, I also understand a bit about the minds of an inner-city youth who is part of gang culture. I’m pretty sure they’re not going to put their gun down so they can plant roses or peace lilies. I wish they would, but it’s just not going to happen.

Why? Because gardening isn’t something that’s likely to attract a potential gangbanger’s attention and I think we all know it. Midnight basketball tries to reach out to these kids and their love of the sport of basketball. A backyard fight club tries to refocus the violence that was going to take place anyway. Most other programs do something similar to midnight basketball by using something that will appeal to at-risk folks and even people who are already part of gang culture and redirect their energy.

Gardening isn’t going to do that.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not down on gardening in and of itself. If I had a better yard for it, I’d have a vegetable garden growing right now. When my wife and I buy a new home in the next year or two, one of my criteria is an open area large enough for a good veggie garden. I actually like gardening myself.

I didn’t when I was a teen, though. Most teens don’t.

Instead, what we’re going to see is a community garden that will still be pretty cool, but won’t likely create any impact on the violence in the neighborhood.

My hope, though, is that the minds behind this don’t get discouraged by the failure and continue looking for solutions.

Then again, maybe I’m wrong and it’ll be a hit and violence in the neighborhood will drop. I’d love to be wrong on this because I think such gardens can be a good idea in other contexts. If so, more power to these folks. I wish them well either way.