Society's sickness

Curing what ails troubled neighborhoods requires understanding the symptoms

“I’m thinking the devil has taken over.”

– A River Glen apartment
resident, lamenting
recent violence there

 

Actually, the notion that an other-worldly power is responsible for our problems might even be a comforting thought. It’s less complicated, at least – and the blame is easier to affix.

The more confounding truth is that what ails our society has human fingerprints all over it.

A Chronicle news story last week called the East Boundary apartment complex “one of the more troublesome spots for law enforcement, where Richmond County deputies responded to more than 850 calls in 2011.” Not too long ago, authorities were cleaning up after the third homicide there since last May.

Can you imagine living in a neighborhood with that kind of homicide rate? Can you imagine calling police that often?

These folks do, on both counts.

But rather than blame an
apparition, perhaps society ought to take an honest look at what’s going on and why.

The sheriff’s office sympathizes with residents, saying much of their trouble is visited upon them by people who don’t live there. That would seem to indicate this is a larger issue than this particular apartment complex.

Residents do need to question why crime is attracted there, and attack the cause. They need to be extra-vigilant of suspicious activity. They need to have a no-nonsense, zero-tolerance policy when it comes to crimes, minor or major.

And whatever the peer pressure says, they need to cooperate with and enthusiastically support any and all law enforcement efforts to protect them.

Yep. It means telling on people.

At a deeper level, society needs to be more accepting of the traditional values that give civil society its structure and stability, and which allow people from every walk of life the opportunity to better themselves. Family. God. Self-reliance. Responsibility. Clean living. Playing by the rules.

Instead, the popular culture mocks and denigrates such values, and holds up destructive lifestyles as just another choice. We have just lost another entertainment icon, quite likely to some kind of substance abuse (see the editorial below). And we have a presidential administration that treats the birth control pill as a kind of communion host – sacred and necessary for salvation.

In point of fact, outside of the bonds of marriage, willy-nilly dispensing of birth control pills is a get-out-of-responsibility-free card – a license to ply the very kinds of lifestyles that endanger our young and torment innocent apartment residents.

Such thoughts may be hopelessly old-fashioned, but the quality of being old-fashioned is an earned one: behaviors that work, ideas that are true, principles that save us from ourselves are all timeless.

They’re just not as easy as blaming demons unseen.

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