While the statistics are startling, as well as deeply troubling, the body count is likely to continue to rise here in Cleveland and surrounding suburbs, and additionally in other cities around the nation with significant black/urban populations. We are inhabitants of the world racism has created.
Part of the answer for the increase in gun violence, according to an elected official in the know who shall remain nameless, is due to the fact that police are, for all means and purposes, on an undeclared strike. While they still punch in and make their rounds, they are doing so with less vigor, with less dedication to safety, as well as to enforcement of law and order.
The fact is, many cops (especially the younger ones) are dispirited, depressed, and feel that the citizenry are — for the most part — against them. They hear terms like “defund the police” which admittedly is stupid. We should be saying “reform the police” instead. However, as I said to my friend (and he readily agreed), the cops for the most part have brought this on themselves with the heavy-handed way in which they’ve policed communities of color for — well, forever.
Supposedly, these young cops are reticent about doing their jobs for fear of being reprimanded by their superiors for some minor infraction. The example used was this: If a cop is caught on body camera yelling “Drop the fucking gun and put your fucking hands up!” their use of the “F” word could cause them to get a career-stifling black mark on their record that could take years to be removed. So, for them, the easier solution is to avoid any confrontation where they might have to command someone to raise their hands.
Of course they also could consider learning how to do their lob without using the “F” word, but given the environment they operate in, the individuals they confront, I suppose they could argue that to address this cohort in any other manner would prove less effective — and they could be right. The goal is to get the gun on the ground before someone gets shot and perhaps killed.
However, here’s the rub: Cops in America have always held the opinion — actually more like a threat — that if the citizenry doesn’t like how they do their jobs, they’ll simply quit doing it, or do the minimum required to collect a paycheck. Changing (or modifying) how they interact with the public — particularly those young and of color — is a cultural shift cops, one that for the most part they are unwilling or unable to make — or will only do so with great difficulty over a long period of time.
Nonetheless, that leaves cities like Cleveland (where the gun-toting thugs know the cops are slacking off) with body counts that are going to continue to rise simply because shooters know the cops are not going to be in hot pursuit — and therefore any fear of consequences are greatly diminished. The thugs feel they have the upper hand, according to my source.
Indeed, while the lack of law enforcement zeal in pursuing and capturing malefactors is and should be of concern, such efforts are still akin to closing the barn door after the horse has departed for parts unknown. The primary goal should not be “how do we catch those that are pulling the trigger?” but instead “how do we prevent them from pulling the trigger in the first place”?
Looking at the situation through that lens, it’s clear that the primary responsibility for creating safe and pacific communities lies with those who reside within those communities and their leaders, not the police. Occasionally, when speaking to someone in my age bracket who decries the violent state of affairs gripping Cleveland and other locales, they are sometimes very critical of the current generation of youth. So I have to sometimes have to ask this question: “Who raised them?”