Does Crime Have A Grip On Tuscaloosa?
Each week brings more tragic news in the city of Tuscaloosa. Another series of shootings? Some of these incidents will not be solved, leaving the culprits free to strike again. Most of the crimes involve black victims and perpetrators. The statistics are not in dispute. What is in dispute is why this travesty continues, and how to end it.
The usual explanations are the impact of poverty, institutionalized racism and flawed policing. Any real discussion concerning moral and cultural dysfunctions afflicting the inner city is condemned as blaming the victims However, ascribing all of the weight to economic and structural problems and assigning to the government the sole responsibility for solving them is both analytically false and certain to fail. Let's be honest, the inner city has been the victim of government-driven economic and social engineering for many years and things have gotten progressively worse, not better.
Based on personal experience, I seriously believe that the main responsibility for inner-city crime rests with numerous dysfunctional social and cultural trends within the community itself. These trends are reinforced by the palpable failures of leadership. Hugh levels of anger and hostility among many in the population, coupled with celebration of drug use and prison culture, undue veneration of violent music is what we essentially have.
Many young people care very little about health or nutrition, do not embrace individual responsibility, and have low self-esteem. Disregard for authority induces some to act out of charter in ways that many times escalate the most routine police encounters. This is the key factor in many police shootings. Many teenagers show total disdain for human life, whether one's or of their fellow humans. This is all profoundly depressing, but not hopeless. These problems are susceptible to community-driven remedies, curable by steady, one-on-one work with teenagers and young persons, coupled with morality promoting efforts by the institutions that shape and drive popular culture.