From the Dark Side: On Ghettos, Guns and Crime
I am sure many people are tired of hearing stories about ghettos, violence and crime. It seems as if the stories never end. Bullets keep flying … people keep dying … the jails are a revolving door for criminals and nothing much changes.
Well, as I have been saying for a while now: “we cannot keep doing the same things and expect a different result”. Therefore, what I intend on proposing is not doing the same thing, over and over again. Crime and violence in ghettos have its reasons. And the reasons are not guns or violence on the television, although these are some of the contributing factors in many cases.
The underlying issue for violence and crime in ghettos, is for the most part poverty. People are poor and like Nas, one of my favorite rappers once said: “Niggas gotta go create their own jobs”. This is so very true. I know many people who had and have to create their own jobs. The System has been broken for a long time and we seem to just be trying to patch-it-up so it doesn’t fully crumble to pieces but for how long can patches hold?
After a major shooting takes place in a ghetto, everyone talks about it for a week or two. The presence of police officers is increased, media coverage blows-up, helicopters circle the sky … then, after a few vigils and peace walks, everyone goes home and it’s all back to square one: we get back to the hustle, the cops back to harassing, the politicians back to lying and still nothing changes. Then, another body gets blasted and people seem to be shocked once again.
Can we at least stop being shocked? There is nothing shocking about it. It happens all the time. I am not guaranteed on any day that I will make it to sleep or that I will wake-up. I can catch a lost and confused bullet in the head any time, just by walking on the street or standing at the corner store. This is a reality in and around ghettos: nothing shocking about it … maybe sad, yes.
Why do people shoot people? That is one question. The answer could be that some people are mentally unstable, disturbed, angry, depressed, etc.
Would simply sending a criminal to jail, solve the problem with crime, or shootings? No. One man can be taken off the street but when we have a System that is sick and is producing ill people, how is one man off the street going to solve anything? Many more are growing-up in the killer mind-state. Thus, there is no solution with incarceration. Sticky Fingerz said it best when he wrote: “For criminals going to jail is like going to school, When You come out You are better at the crimes You do”. There is hardly any rehabilitation taking place.
Why rehabilitate people though, when private jails make a profit on Wall St.? The more inmates a prison has, the higher the cost of the shares rises … No, our societies are not yet ready to heal themselves. We do not have a System in place for that. Our System is based on Fear, Greed and Selfishness. On a grand scale, we only pretend to care, or we care for a minute then, we go back to our busy lives …
I hear statements such as: “There is no money for after-school programs for children”, “There is no money for social programs”, “There is no money for education or affordable housing” … but there are billions of dollars available for the Military Industrial Complex, every bloody year … there are billions of dollars available to bail-out the banksters on Wall St.
I just read an article titled, “Sugar Tariffs Cost Americans $2.5 Billion in 2009 “(http://mjperry.blogspot.ca/2010/01/sugar-tariffs-cost-americans-25-billion.html). Yet, there is no money for the poor … no money to help decrease the rising levels of child poverty. No money for education …
The “off with their heads” sentiment is growing constantly and exponentially. The more things deteriorate, the more the feeling of “I have nothing to lose” strengthens. I have witnessed what that state of mind can evolve to, during the revolution in Romania, in 1989. A similar Wind has begun to blow in the western world now too. I feel it.
As a Romanian poet said during that 1989 revolution: “We’ll die and see” – Mircea Dinescu.
Note: My Photographs, Dominican Republic, 2011