THE VERSION IN THE AUSTIN WEEKLY NEWS WAS EDITED IN A MANNER THAT I FOUND OBJECTIONAL. THIS IS THE COLUMN AS I WROTE IT.
The recent spate of black-on-black shootings has had me searching the internet for press releases that I know our local politicians must have sent out declaring war on those who are wrecking havoc in our community. Sadly I couldn’t find any.
What is causing all of the shootings that are now occurring? One theory and I must repeat that it is just a theory, is that with the demise of CeaseFire in Chicago, many of the interventions in gang shootings are no longer available. This has caused many of the gang truces to no longer be in effect. An even more sinister theory, again it is just a theory, is that shootings are being encouraged to get CeaseFire funding returned.
Whatever the case, I am not hearing or seeing the outrage that I believe should be occurring as we lose our young people to killings by other young people. Yet let one police officer exercise their right to use deadly force and we have outrage all over the airwaves and in the streets.
Right now we are in desperate times. And therefore we need desperate measures. Something that can immediately send a message that the responsibility in child rearing continues as long as that young person lives in a household. Because one of the things that I can bet my bottom dollar on is that the people doing the killings and shooting are dependent on others to put a roof over their heads. We may find a rare case of someone who is working and has their own place getting involved in these shootings. But I bet that it is more the former than the latter.
You would think that with all the media attention given to the shootings in the black community that people would be talking to their young folks about the violence. But what if the elder in the house is the one who is advocating the use of violence as the solution to any dispute? It is people in my generation who are the first ones to spout off that they would solve a problem “by going to get their gun and shoot the person”, and it is their children who having heard that line of bull for years who are now actually using their guns to resolve disputes.
Recently I thought I heard gunfire. I looked out my window to see at least 20 boys running down the street on the next street over. It was almost 10:00pm and with all the shootings that have happened, the first thing that came to my mind is why do parents allow their teen boys to roam the streets at all hours of the day and night? I also thought about what needs to be done to kick start parents into taking responsibility for those boys who are the most likely candidates to become involved in a black-on-black shooting, either as the perpetrator or the victim.
Well, here’s my solution. Every black resident of Cook County needs to begin to pay a one hundred dollar annual fee for every male child in their household ranging in age from 8 to 35. That money would be used to pay for additional police officers in each municipality in Cook County where added police protection is needed to prevent black-on-black violence. Why do I think that just the black residents need to pay the fee? Because it is unfair to ask the majority community to pay and fund additional services to the black community when we have chosen to wring our hands and moan about the problem but do little to begin to solve it.
Plus when the black community is taxed specifically to pay for the problem, perhaps then we will wake up and begin to address the problem as opposed to window dressing it. What about situations where the wayward young men are living with their girlfriends? Hell, make the girlfriends pay. If the young man is 35 and under and doesn’t have a J*O*B, then she can pay for the privilege of sheltering him. And the tax must be paid no matter the economic status of the individual. From those who work - to those on public assistance, the “No freebies for anyone” mantra would be the rallying cry.
Now how could we enforce the tax on young black men? Easy. When they get picked up by the police and don’t have proof of having paid the fee, then the amount payable would automatically increase tenfold to a thousand dollar. Give jail time to whomever the young men have been living with and again no exceptions for single mothers, the elderly or anyone else in between. What if the young man is homeless? Then force him to do community service for the fee and still give him the jail time.
Now before any of you begin sputtering off emails and responding directly via my blog, I was being facetious. But there is a grain of truth in what I wrote. Until we make the black community economically responsible for the mayhem that is running wild in our community, we will continue to get rhetoric with no action. Anyone of us can be the next victim of senseless violence and wayward bullets. Ask yourself if you are willing to let that person be you?
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