The illusion of working on crime

A Wilmington StarNews editorial (link below) describes another social scheme to solve an illusion: “poverty is behind much of the crime that pervades some of our region’s most troubled communities,” they wrote. Translation: Most crime in this area is caused by young black males living in dysfunctional single-parent households within urban public housing near old downtown Wilmington.

This is not news hereabouts. It’s been going on for years. And, I believe, most of our citizens know what’s going on. Our officials and so-called leaders, cheered on by the local press, however, continue to deceive us—“poverty” is the problem, they insist. So, what to do?

The latest social scheme involves asking our business people to help by self-sacrifice. Hometown Hires was hatched up by local district attorney, Ben David, and James Mahan, a banker. Now as I understand this, from the editorial, the project “is aimed at people living in deep poverty.” It’s not clear who these people are, but, as described by the editors they may have failed high school; they may lack job skills (or “even basic life skills”) “that make it difficult to land that first decent job”; or they may have a criminal record. Excuse me?

Question: Why would an employer jeopardize his livelihood by knowingly hiring these people? …just asking. DA David and Mr. Mahan will ask that 300 of them be hired locally.
No harm done if they delude themselves, but why involve innocent bystanders? Does David need the publicity for his next political campaign; does Mahan hope to improve his image at Chamber of Commerce meetings? Who knows?

Many responsible black people in this area work daily to improve their lives, but some won’t. If government officials and assorted do-gooders want to help “solve the problem” they first should understand and acknowledge what it is. Cultural problems can’t be papered over or quick-fixed. Crime can be controlled, but not stopped. The people closest to the problem and most affected by it must solve it.


About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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