The violence on some of our city streets is a terrible thing. I get why people want to do something about it, even if many of them are terribly misguided and blame guns for the issue.
What we see is a lot of issues all over the nation, including in very gun-controlled states like California or Massachusetts.
In Springfield, Massachusetts, they’re one of the many communities struggling to address violent crime. They think they found a solution, too.
There’s new action in Springfield to combat gun violence and keep young people off the streets. The city announced a new program on Monday to keep Springfield young people off city streets and out of trouble.
“Somebody reaches out and says ‘I’m having a hell of a time with my kid, my grandson my granddaughter. Where can they go?’ This pass can go to all of these places,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.
These are universal city passes. In the coming weeks, Springfield police officers will be handing them out to families and kids. With the pass, city youth have free access for one week to ten community centers and their programs and resources like mental health counseling and more. They are welcome to continue to come after the week wraps up. It is a product of recent community roundtable meetings with a focus on preventing further gun violence. As the city’s police department continues to combat what’s referred to as a cycle of violence, Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood told us that it a step in the right direction and explained that these programs can be a positive escape for kids looking for a break.
With officers volunteering and coaching sports in many programs, she told Western Mass News that they develop trust-filled relationships.
Now, understand that I don’t have an issue with the idea of getting kids off the streets and into doing something that will be more likely to keep them out of trouble. A lot of good kids end up running with a bad crowd because they don’t have anything else.
However, Springfield’s execution on this is laughable.
A pass for one week? Do they really think that one week is really enough to pull someone off the wrong path and onto the straight and narrow?
And why are taxpayer-funded community centers not already free? Why would there need to be a pass in the first place?
Regardless of that, one week isn’t enough to address these problems. A kid who is being bullied at school doesn’t get better because he talked to a counselor one Tuesday afternoon. It doesn’t just go away. That’s not how it works.
Look, even if getting kids off the street doesn’t result in a reduction in violence, it’s still a good thing. It may well help kids find their way far better than they would on the streets. I think the idea here is a good one with really only benefits for Springfield.
I just think they’re stupid to think one week is all it will take.