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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Look closer to home for root of problem

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I am continually amazed how two people can view the very same topic and yet come to such startling different opinions. This phenomenon is common place in the political arena. But it's not isolated to politicians. You just have to look for the examples.

There's a story unfolding in New Orleans that involves a drastic spike in murders there as residents begin returning to their homes devastated from Hurricane Katrina. To put it bluntly, the thugs are returning and law enforcement is simply overwhelmed. Since New Orleans depends greatly on tourism, the increase in violence may further cripple the city.

The numbers in New Orleans are clearly out of control. Because of a lack of prosecution, over 3,000 arrested suspects were simply released last year. That pace has increased this year. And when criminals are prosecuted, the number actually imprisoned is extremely small. In other words, the criminal element in New Orleans knows their chances of incarceration are fairly small. But New Orleans is not all about crime. It's more about poverty, drugs and broken families. That combination - along with lax law enforcement - makes for a massive social problem.

But now to the part where people view things differently. It's a perfect example.

Recently, a 17-year-old was beaten up. When he returned home his mother gave him a gun and told him to get revenge. He then killed the youth he fought with.

When police visited the boy's home, they found the mother with cocaine and a family photo on display that showed the boy with a gun in one hand and a fistful of cash in the other. So much for motherly love.

Here's the kicker.

When he visited the home, Police Superintendent Warren Riley said, "For us to correct this, we have to look at the root of the problems. The root of the problem is our education system."

No Superintendent Riley, the root is not our education system. The root is a home where the drugged mother gives her son a gun and tells him to seek revenge. The root is a culture of violence that has absolutely not one thing to do with the education system. The root starts at the home.

So how can two people view the same incident and yet come to such different conclusions? I think I have the answer. We all know what the problem truly is. But we're afraid to say it. And when we say the fault lies in the lack of parenting, we don't have a solution. Lacking that solution, we point the finger of blame elsewhere.

Don't blame the education system. Blame a household where violence is the norm and revenge is part of the culture. The problem starts and ends right there.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen