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Ron Jackson: Who’s going to stop gun violence?

September 16, 2018

The town criers were very busy this past week keeping tally of the gunshots.

The noise and frequency of the complaints about the amount of gun shots in certain areas of Kankakee were louder than the actual gun shots.

It was almost deafening. It is certainly without merit.

The cries often came from those outside the neighborhoods experiencing the gunshots.

Certainly, the illegal gunfire poses a safety threat. Contrary to social media rhetoric, the issue is not being ignored nor is it a stretch to say our local law enforcement is doing a respectable job. The gunfire has been contained to two specific areas.

If this was a forest fire, containment comes before controlling it and, ultimately, extinguishing it. However, those in blue have to function within the limitations placed upon them.

Similar to combating forest fires, those given the front line responsibility for the situation cannot do it alone. It takes other factors such as weather and resident cooperation. The gunfire battle is no different. Law enforcement needs assistance.

In this case, it needs the community to partner in the battle. That ain’t happening.

Sustained violence cannot exist without complicity. The city’s 1st and 2nd wards have been identified as the city’s hotbeds for gunshots. Sadly, those are the right places in the city for the rampant gunfire to occur. The perpetrators have been profiled. Yet, the illegal activity continues. There is a reason for that. The leaders of those communities are not leading. They are ignoring it. They are enabling it. They are complicit.

An additional pitfall of the battle against the gun violence is the antiquated notion there has to be black leaders who fit a particular profile.

Enough of this notion that a black person with a title, typically a religious title, is somehow a black leader.

Please, let’s be done with that. The leaders in black communities are the same as leaders in white communities. However, in white communities, they are called parents.

The black parents of those responsible for the illegal shootings in these two wards are not helping to stop the gun violence. No, they and others in those communities seem to be waiting for the police to do it all or for some outside effort to fix it.

Unfortunately, police cannot stop your children who fit the demographic and search their waistbands or bookless book bags for guns without cause. Parents can.

Parents are not handcuffed by anti-illegal search and seizure laws.

Parents can check their child’s bedrooms for weapons.

They also can observe their child’s peers.

They can monitor their child’s means of communication.

Police response is limited by just cause. The safety of the community should be cause enough for parents to take action.

Community partnership is not without precedence.

We need only to look at the continuous fight against the opioid crisis.

While not exclusive, the opioid victim toll is predominately white.

There is a concerted effort on behalf of citizens, primarily parents who are working with each other and private and government professionals.

They are not waiting for someone else to fix the problem.

That is how you demonstrate that an unhealthy, unsafe practice will not be allowed to permanently take hold in a community.

Similar to growing bacteria in a petri dish, violence breeds and lives when and where it is allowed. There is no other way to put it.

There is no reasonable expectation that the gunshots will soon cease. Those gunshots will continue to be heard in the right areas until the right people say no more.

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