By Arlene Jones
The other day on Facebook I challenged some of my friends to give their plans for ending the violence if they had the opportunity. I'm giving mine here for the whole world to see.
My son was born premature at 32 weeks. Several weeks later, my doorbell rang. An older black woman stood at my threshold, and when I asked what she wanted she showed me a badge and an ID. She told me she was a nurse and needed to see my son.
When I inquired as to why, she explained that his premature birth had put him on the radar for whatever governmental agency she represented. Truthfully, just her presence had me feeling politely indignant and insulted. Everything about me showed that I wasn't "a then or future public aid recipient" and thus didn't need or want any "government assistance." When I continued to indicate an unwillingness to let her in, she countered that she could call the police and we could do it the hard way. I called my aunt who was a retired nurse and she confirmed that I had to let the woman in to check on my son. I finally relented, but to this day I vividly recall the emotions of having to have a stranger probe my son's well being, to check on where he slept and to invade many aspects of my life, including giving my house a basic once over as to my housekeeping skills.
So what does all this have to do with ending the violence here in Chicago? Simple. When a person gets involved in any crime involving a gun, that act alone should trigger a coordinated federal/state/county/city response to look into every aspect of crime. And it shouldn't make any difference if it is the shooter or victim. Thus those who are committing the crimes along with those who are often not just an innocent victim will see their lives under a microscope.
Let me give you some examples. Endia Martin was supposedly killed because of a FB argument over a boy. Yet if you visit her page, there she stands throwing gang signs and acting the thug role. Deonta Mackey was killed holding up a man in a gas station just days after getting off home monitoring. Gakirah Barnes was shot multiple times and killed after establishing a reputation as a "hitta," aka female assassin.
All three victims' parents were let off the hook for their lack of parenting skills. They weren't subject to a thorough investigation by DCFS. Their lives weren't placed under a microscope up to and including an IRS audit to see what role or lack thereof they played in their children's murders. Their personal and private lives weren't invaded by government officials for what should be at least a year-long investigation.
They made the news and then were able to leave the public eye with some going back to doing what they had been doing without any shame. Yet their roles in rearing their children to end up as they did are never questioned.
If I had my way, it would. If a parent has reared one criminal while on public assistance, should it put them at risk for losing their other children? Should their receiving public money be at risk? I say yes and much more.
Anyone who has ever seen the movie Claudine knows that a welfare case worker showing up puts the entire family on blast. It is no fun having a stranger with power invade your privacy and yet without intervention, how many more dead children or murdering children is this society going to produce or tolerate?
And yes, there should even be an IRS audit to look into the parents' finances, just in case their illicit activities helped to create the bad behavior of their kids. Absentee parents don't get a pass either. They too should get scrutinized.
Admittedly my idea is wild and out-of-the-box, but until we again make personal responsibility a mandate, we will need desperate responses to desperate situations.
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