The mourning after

Neglected moral values spawn culture of violence

Friends were mourning rapper Slim Dunkin this week, shot to death at a video shoot at an Atlanta studio.


In Augusta, friends and family were mourning 19-year-old Webster Thacker this week, after he was shot and killed Dec. 14 in the 2500 block of Drayton Drive.

“Forty-nine alleged gang members have been arrested in Gwinnett County,” writes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “in connection with violent crimes surrounding an apartment complex, among them drug dealing, robberies of high school students and a murder.”

These stories are all unrelated but tied together by one single theme: the out-of-control violence in America’s cities.

Each time a young person is cut down in the prime of life, the question is always asked through teary eyes: Why? The answers are always unique to each situation, but, again, most often tied together by one single theme: the out-of-control violence in America’s cities.

The likely causes to this
crisis are unpleasant to consider, sometimes politically incorrect and impossible to overcome without everyone’s help. And a little honesty.

The causes involve a culture that glorifies “gangsters” and guns and machismo, treats women as chattel and children as non-entities, makes up the rules as it goes along, embraces drugs and pushes law enforcement away while leveling a threatening brow at anyone cooperating with police.

The causes involve a society in which church-going has decreased and church-goers have been increasingly mocked in the media, while two-parent families have largely become the exception – and that, too, is just fine with the media, which have canonized single mothers regardless of how they got that way.

Meanwhile, the media attack anyone speaking honestly about the situation. When presidential candidate Newt Gingrich suggested that child labor laws ought to be modified to allow kids to pitch in at school and maybe earn some cash and stow away some pride, he was carpet-bombed by the media. “Newt Gingrich hates poor children,” blared one headline.

What he actually said was that if kids wanted to work as, say, assistant janitors at their schools, they’d earn a little cash and have more pride in both their school and themselves – and “They’d begin the process of rising.

“Get any job that teaches you to show up on Monday.”

In standing by his remarks, Gingrich caused another firestorm by saying poor kids today have “no habits of working and nobody around them who works.”

Hate? Or truth? Hate? Or tough love? We may never know, since Gingrich’s ideas were summarily taken out back and shot.

You’re never going to solve small things, much less big problems, as long as you simply attack people for their ideas. At least Gingrich is trying to come up with something. What has Barack Obama proposed to help poor children find their way to the American dream and out of a culture of death?

If we’re afraid of ideas, how can we possibly hope to have the courage to stand up to armed thugs?

All those “whys” have answers, if we’re willing to face them. Peace doesn’t just happen. It is made to happen, by people of good will and solid constitutions.

Webster Thacker’s killing, unfortunately, did not come “out of the blue,” as one relative lamented. It was one sprig from a tree of murders, assaults and other crimes that are flowering in the rich soil of neglect and cowardice.



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