Violent crime is a problem in far too many of our communities. Then again, even one act of violence is too many, and since people aren’t going to stop being violent, it will continue to be an issue for, well…forever, most likely.
Yet that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep working to reduce it. Where we run into issues is in what steps we should take.
For one minister, it apparently means handing out books.
When Minister Paul Scott isn’t organizing or speaking at events you can often find the Durham activist walking around the city with a backpack full of books.
“I give these books out for free,” said Scott.
For the past four months, he’s been going to neighborhoods impacted by gun violence and passing out books every day.
“Braggtown which has had more than its share of shootings, Wellons Village, downtown, the west end. I’m trying to be all over. Wherever people are gathered, I’m trying to put a book in their hand,” said Scott.
The majority of the novels are about Black history and gun violence.
He calls it his “street curriculum.”
I’m not a fan of trying to combat violent crime with empty gestures. I’ve written about that more than once.
However, I don’t think this is empty.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying this is going to have an impact. I’m not saying it won’t, mind you, but we’ll have to see if Scott’s efforts yield any real results.
However, I can see the logic at work here.
We know that violent crime is correlated strongly with a lack of education. We know reading educates people. So, giving people books may well lead them down a different pathway than that of a violent criminal.
I’m not saying it’s guaranteed to work, only that I can see where Scott’s thinking came from and that it’s most definitely worth a try.
See, empty gestures usually involve people making a big deal about how they’re opposed to violent crime, but don’t actually do anything besides make a big deal. It’s not like bad guys see a demonstration against violent crime, then suddenly are all like, “Wait! You mean people in the neighborhood don’t like me shooting up the block because that other guy looked at me funny? I had no idea! I should change my ways immediately.”
I get annoyed by such things because they’re not actually doing anything but tell everyone else that they hold the right thoughts on the subject.
Scott, on the other hand, is rolling up his sleeves and trying to actually address the root causes of the problem. This is an approach I can respect, even if it doesn’t show up immediately in the crime statistics.
Unlike the virtue signalers, he’s getting his hands dirty and at least putting forth an effort. He’s not just inviting a bunch of people to go for a stroll with signs in hand to pretend they’re doing something. He’s actually trying to do it.
That deserves credit.
We’ll just have to wait and see if it works.