No more disinterest, inaction; stop the violence

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To blame the monthly First Friday event for what occurred afterward July 6, at 11:30 p.m. on the corner of Ninth and Broad streets, is the most irresponsible thing that I can think of in a society that is as intelligent and progressive as the one on Earth and in a country that we call the United States of America.

The problem is much deeper than the event.

The problem is one that hits us square in the face, every day in this country. The senseless lawlessness that presents itself in the form of out-of-control teenage and young-adult behavior is an American epidemic that fosters itself throughout our country from major cities such as Chicago and Philadelphia to small towns in our very own beloved Georgia, such as Wrens, Albany and, yes, Augusta.

The state of affairs as it pertains to violence and in particular that which involves guns, intimidation, robbery and murder are all well-documented. We know that it has taken a foothold among African-American children, teenagers and young adults, and the neighborhoods in which they live. We realize that the conditions are not getting any better, but even worse.

FOR EXAMPLE, there have been more killings in this country the past 10 years of African-American males between ages 18 and 30 because of gun violence than the number of soldiers killed in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The murder rate of this demographic of our society is beyond comprehension, and the statistics appalling.

Yet, we still go about addressing the problem as if to put a Band-Aid on a poisonous rattlesnake bite. We do virtually nothing.

Don’t get me wrong: As well-intended as marches, rallies, prayer vigils and the like are meant to be, they do very little but satisfy our emotional craving for being able to say that we are doing something about the problem. But the issue just continues to pick up steam.

Friday’s shooting of six people was just a shot over the bow, if you will. It could have been a lot worse. We could have had a number of people killed or maimed for life. But some of those injured will carry some emotional scars for the rest of their lives. The question now is: What are we going to do about it?

I didn’t say “what is the black community going to do about it?” I said “we” – a collective community of all Augustans.

I’ve been around long enough to know that if those were six white children wounded, there would be a public outcry to figure out what needs to be done – and, no, I didn’t play the race card. I’m just calling it the way I see it, and more importantly how our society processes these occurrences when it comes to black-on-black crime, like it’s some type of expectation.

IT IS TIME FOR open and honest discussion. This issue needs to be put on the front burner of this nation, this state and this community.

It should be a major priority, and something more than a reaction every time the issue raises its ugly head. I don’t need America outraged just when Trayvon Martin is gunned down outside of Orlando. I need America outraged every time a young person is killed unnecessarily in this country because of an outlaw mentality of great gravity and extreme measure being permeated in this country daily.

So, coach, what would you do?

First, I would ask that our state legislators take this as an issue of priority to Atlanta during the next session. I also would ask them to start the process of placing on the ballot, as a referendum, a 1-cent sales tax that would provide the sheriff with enough resources to adequately address the problem.

THE TAX COULD provide enough resources to fund law enforcement and parks and recreation at a level to combat this situation at its very core.

Second, I would ask that we as a society start holding all of us accountable for the raising of our children. Heck, let’s give some tax incentives or breaks for families who do raise their kids to be productive members of society.

Third, mandatory sentencing for carrying, concealing, discharging, firing or brandishing a firearm with criminal intent.

Fourth, enforce the current curfew laws. If parents are not available for pick up, the violators spend a night or two in jail, and the parents are fined for not picking them up.

Five, let’s stop making excuses for bad behavior; stop making this about race; stop placing the blame on others; and let us all take a look in the mirror.

THE RECENT SITUATION gives us an opportunity, as it should, to tackle the problem head-on. If it didn’t happen downtown, it was sure to happen at the mall or the movie theater or maybe on some street corner.

The bottom line is that it was going to happen, and the sad part about it is, if we don’t take this opportunity to address it, it surely will happen again, and we might not be so lucky to just walk away with no life-threatening injuries. I sure hope that it doesn’t claim my life or someone that I love.

How do you devour an enormous monster? You take one bite at a time.

Who is willing to take the first bite?

(The writer is an Augusta activist.)

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americafirst
1001
Points
americafirst 07/15/12 - 06:36 am
11
1
Coach, as much as I respect

Coach, as much as I respect you and your opinions, I must disagree with much of your comments. First of all, there was a public outcry when several African-Americans were shot during First Friday. I am also disappointed that your main solution is an additional tax. Throwing more money at the problem will not solve anything. I also am disappointed that you fail to put more emphasis on the real and obvious problem: non-existent or non-caring parents. Until that problem is solved, no amount of money confiscated from the citizens will solve anything.

Riverman1
93803
Points
Riverman1 07/15/12 - 06:45 am
4
2
Get the soldiers back armed in combat gear

Get the soldiers back downtown, but this time armed, wearing combat gear. Martial law.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 07/15/12 - 07:40 am
1
4
Right on and amen, Mr.
Unpublished

Right on and amen, Mr. Bryant.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 07/15/12 - 07:45 am
9
2
You are correct
Unpublished

‘The problem is much deeper than the event.’
This is the results of the entitlement mentally that has been taught by liberals/progressives, democrats and many black leaders for the last 35 years.

Riverman1
93803
Points
Riverman1 07/15/12 - 09:42 am
11
1
Chacushman, the government

Chacushman, the government caused much of the problem with its legislated programs that kept blacks on the ghetto reservation.

Conservative Man
5578
Points
Conservative Man 07/15/12 - 09:48 am
5
1
Agree and disagree...

I agree with some of what Mr. Bryant says but I disagree about yet another tax....How about we spend the money we have more judiciously?...The city wastes more money on garbage we don't need (ballpark studies, etc) that could be put to better use...
Granted that won't fix the ills of society, especially the "thug" mentality, but if the monies NOT used for those "tilting at windmills" sorts of things we might have more to put towards making downtown safer.....

crossyourarms
218
Points
crossyourarms 07/15/12 - 11:14 am
9
1
"IT IS TIME FOR open and

"IT IS TIME FOR open and honest discussion. This issue needs to be put on the front burner of this nation, this state and this community."

I'm glad you say that. Because having an open and HONEST discussion where "race" in this country is nearly impossible. So I'll say what I think is pretty open and honest.

These people with the guns on the streets DO NOT CARE!!! They have no moral compass. While I know nothing of their personal situation, I think we'd be pretty safe to bet they came from a single-parent home with little-to-no supervision, mostly likely a parent who is leeching on the system. It is not just African Americans with such families, but again--- let's be honest. Most of the violence is. While this issue nothing per se to do with having more melanin in one's skin, the poor African American culture in the US is largely one of "where my check at?"

The US government FUNDS single motherhood. Women have 4 and 5 and 6 kids because they get MORE MONEY for having them. Is it too open and honest to suggest that we should at least converse about, similar to what happens in China, women with 1-2 kids having their tubes tied.... to prevent the spread over more hungry mouths to feed or another generation of unemployed humans because they don't have the skills not to mention the desire to join the rest of a functional society.

Now, how many will assume I'm a typical racist white person? The solutions may not be pretty here-- but throwing money at the problem won't make parents raise their kids, nor will it make teenagers and young adults have respect. All you do is build more walls.

dichotomy
37500
Points
dichotomy 07/15/12 - 11:38 am
7
1
So the writer's first two

So the writer's first two proposals are more taxes on working people. An HSPLOST (hoodie SPLOST) and tax breaks (which are paid for by the half already paying all of the taxes) for parents to actually do the jobs they SHOULD be held criminally liable for not doing. This in itself is one of the biggest problems we have today. Everybody thinks the answer to everything is to throw more tax money at the problem. The cure to ALL of this problem starts at home when these kids are about 2 years old.

Taxes and tax incentives will not cure this problem. The entitlement programs and resulting etitlement mentality, no discipline at home, the progressive "free PASS" school system which also does not enforce any discipline, and our progrssive NOjustice system, of which these young heathens have no fear, have all combined to create the "youth" we have running the streets today.

You will not solve this problem unless ALL of society, white, black, and other, demand that children be disciplined and taught respect for others at home, demand that our schools strictly enforce discipline, and demand that our police and court system strictly enforce discipline and the law with real punishments. This is not a tax problem, this is a NO FEAR problem and these kids have NO FEAR because we have evolved a society which gives them nothing to fear for running wild and doing bad things. Kids need structure and discipline to be productive members of society. They need somebody to be on them like a drill sergeant from 2 years old until high school graduation. If you parents are not doing that and not insisting that the schools do that then you have nobody to blame but yourself when your kid gets locked up or shot in some parking lot or on some street corner.

It's easy for someone to say, "let's tax somebody and maybe everything will get better", but that is absurd. This requires parenting and parenting is hard work so I have little hope that things will change. We have to many plain sorry parents living on entitlements who themselves were never parented and they don't know how to be a parent. And we have "progressive" schools where the teachers have been hand tied so long that they do not know how to maintain discipline and deal with students with unacceptable behavior. And when these kids who have been passed along finally reach the courts system it too fails us and the kids by not doing it's job. They give them another PASS and hand them right back over to us to wreak more havoc.

I think it's too late to fix the problem but for sure a Hoodie SPLOST ain't the answer.

lawchic
3
Points
lawchic 07/15/12 - 01:23 pm
1
7
Collective Responsibility

The only word you naysayers focused on was tax. Instead of criticizing someone's suggestion, get off your couch and take some positive action. As a woman's who's raised 4 kids alone from time to time (with no government assistance), I can tell you kids need to be engaged. Spend some time volunteering in your community mentoring a child, tutoring, coaching, etc., especially a young man. That won't cost you a dime - just a few precious hours of your free time - and we won't have to read as many of your foolish comments here thinking that women have 6 kids to get a check or about mandatory sterilization. Maybe it's the men who should get sterilized if they father more than a certain number of children. See how that ignorance works?

daviddunagan
343
Points
daviddunagan 07/15/12 - 01:58 pm
5
1
"Trayvon Martin is gunned down"?

How do you know that Coach? Could it have been he was shot by a concerned citizen after being jumped? THANK YOU for being an active citizen and trying to solve our many problems. I just wish you would have left that sentence out. DD

Craig Spinks
818
Points
Craig Spinks 07/15/12 - 02:57 pm
3
1
"There's not much courage in Augusta, GA."

And there's not much public-spiritedness, either.

itsanotherday1
48337
Points
itsanotherday1 07/15/12 - 04:22 pm
2
1
Good letter Coach. Whether

Good letter Coach. Whether one agrees or disagrees with his particular solutions, surely you agree it is time to have honest and open debate about root causes, and the solution. So far, it has been difficult to have that debate because the "R" card gets pulled in a hurry when you talk about it being primarily a cultural/ personal responsibility issue.

More basketball courts won't fix the fundamental cause of feral youth in this country, which is; a lack of parenting. Kids born to single teenage girls and women living in a welfare environment are overwhelmingly the issue. Stop that (how is the REAL debate), and you've stopped the problem in its tracks.

All in my opinion of course.

AutumnLeaves
10261
Points
AutumnLeaves 07/15/12 - 04:26 pm
3
0
I appreciate this letter from Clint Bryant

I appreciate this letter from Clint Bryant. He was one of the people among many such as our neighborhood association leaders (Bellemeade, Glenn Hills, Green Meadows), political leaders (Calvin Holland, Reverend Hankerson, Alvin Mason, Randy Hall, Max Burns) deputies, and many other ranking members of law enforcement that I talked to about the problems on my block in my suburban neighborhood with drug trafficking and blatant public drug use, bullying, appalling profanity, racial slurs and frequent harassment within earshot of women and children by ADULTS as well as children, often directed at me, shots being fired at people, property and pets, code violations (David Bass, etc., and Augusta Cares), dumping of dead pitbulls on private property and at a nearby retention pond and too many other problems to list here. Attempts to handle these issues lawfully and properly for over 5 years resulted in further retaliation. I warned our neighborhood association and other leaders that after the targeting of non-blacks resulted in them moving away, which many of us finally did, who would the perpetrators have left to prey on? I guess you're finding out now; each other, which is exactly what I warned you was going to happen. So don't expect me to be surprised by the increase of black on black crime, which is highlighted above. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that would be coming next, when everyone else, including many law-abiding black families and other minorities, got tired of being victimized, too, and fled for hopefully safer communities, usually in Columbia County or North Augusta, SC. I don't know what the answer is. But I hope we don't end up like Chicago. Is it true, more people have been killed in Chicago this year by gang violence than have been killed in Afghanistan? I am glad Clint Bryant is standing up and has done so much for our community and I am thankful I spoke up when I did years ago, or I would be feeling guilty now that I didn't. I don't know what the solution is, but what has gone before, is not working.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 07/15/12 - 04:32 pm
3
1
Agreed with everything

Agreed with everything dichotomy said above. This is what I've been saying for years.

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 07/15/12 - 05:32 pm
2
1
I read the whole letter

...even though I knew what was coming with, "I didn’t say 'what is the black community going to do about it?' I said 'we' – a collective community of all Augustans."

Yup; it's the community's problem. Not a feral lifestyle of ghetto standards and irresponsibility supported by a sense of entitlement nurtured by 'leaders' and unending government funds supplied by a political class that believes in eternal appeasement. Fixing it will only require more taxes. That's the ticket.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 07/15/12 - 06:44 pm
2
2
Uncle Sam ain't my babies daddy.

It IS a community problem. But the attitudes have to change and it needs to start with the parents. Then the churches, community resources, etc. People have to change the culture of people and the mindset of who is responsible. Get the govt out of the business of taking care of our kids and take care of them and raise them ourselves. I don't know about other parents, but I don't like the idea of relying on the govt to solve the social ills in the communities. It seems like it makes things worse. It disrupts the whole concept of parenting and personal accountability. All we hear about is 'finding and funding programs.' The govt is broke. Go back to the old-fashioned, family oriented way of doing things.
As for adding a tax, I disagree with it. If the state needs funds to find ways to keep kids out of trouble, find the absent parents and 'tax' them and only them. Again, it's about accountability.

AutumnLeaves
10261
Points
AutumnLeaves 07/15/12 - 10:56 pm
0
0
Disinterest, inaction, stop the violence....

I was pleading for a stop to the disinterest, inaction and violence in my suburban neighborhood and surrounding communities in 30906 from 1999 on. Don't blame law enforcement, either. It goes deeper than that.

KSL
143965
Points
KSL 07/15/12 - 10:59 pm
1
0
It is not a money problem.

It is not a money problem. It's an attitude problem.

KSL
143965
Points
KSL 07/15/12 - 11:24 pm
1
0
If the parent(s) won't be

If the parent(s) won't be responsible for presenting kids properly respnsonsive to receiving the education offered them, the school needs to take over with the discipline. It is not fair for these kids to take up extra time and resources that could be devoted to the students who are going to be supporting these dregs on society.

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