Readers get the impression that my mail is a septic stream of insult and craziness. Part of that is my fault. I tend to find the insanity more noteworthy than the common sense. It stands out more. But sometimes I get an email that amazes me in its lucidity. Such as this, from Linda Barnes, reacting to my column on what needs to be done to reduce police shooting. It's brief, to-the-point and very big picture, and I thought I'd share it. Not so suggest that any of it would be easy. But how could we imagine the solution would be easy?
I enjoyed reading your article, "Tasers Won't Help, So What Will?" I agree with your suggestions that police restraint and luck would help, and especially that "everyone needs to try harder." But even with trying harder, there's only so much that can be done, because it is such a mess that needs to be undone. To keep it simple, I would suggest we start by moving in the direction of legalizing drugs, thus largely eliminating the prime reason gangs are shooting and killing people in Chicago. Then, I think we need to ensure there are enough well paying jobs in the area. This is starting to take place with the technical/industry hubs that are forming in the city. Lastly, we need to ensure people are qualified to perform the jobs. This can be accomplished by schools providing technical job training and tutoring, as well as individual and family counseling.
We are starting to move in that direction with the specialty community colleges. I think it would be good to start it in high school, which some other cities are doing successfully. What hit home for me this morning is how much preparation goes into developing a young person to be ready for their first day of work. My 21 year old son just left for his first day of work as an Auditing Assurance (Accounting) intern and as I snapped a photo of him in his professional clothes, I realized the lifetime of preparation for this (from the day he started kindergarten until now). This is what all young people need to succeed and if they aren't able to get it at home, I think schools should step in.
Thanks for listening and thanks for writing such effective articles.