Crime forum, anyone?
The Times-Dispatch reported that more than two hundred people bothered to leave their homes and go to Hanover county to discuss Richmond's crime problems. I think 200 is probably a pretty decent turnout (never mind the half-million of us who did not bother to attend). But each week, more than 200 people read this and other local blogs and we have a chance to conduct our own forum, don't you think? I commend the T-D for doing these things even as I agree with Publisher Thomas Silvestri's comment that "I don't think talking about [crime] is going to solve it but maybe if we start the conversation as a community, we can get places." He's right about that, as long as we are not talking in circles or in cliches. Jim Ukrop saying, "We need to declare war on crime in our region" does exactly what for us? Now, I'm sure Ukrop had a lot more than that to say, but that's the quote that got printed. Declare war on crime. Well, for Pete's sake...
Other speakers had these things to say:
"I think prison should be punishment, not a vacation."
"Nowadays the village doesn't raise the child. The child is pillaging the village."
"We've got to stop throwing good money at bad problems ..."
"Self-defense is more than a right, it's a moral duty."
If anything of substance came out of the T-D's effort, it sure didn't show in the story today. Either that was the best of it, or reporters Paige Akin and Julian Walker went for the low-hanging fruit of the pithy quotes. (Regular people are sure getting better at giving good quote, don't you think?) So what should our little forum start with? I would love to know what you would like to talk about in terms of our crime problem. I'll tell you what I've been thinking a lot about. We all talk as if there is something each one of us can do individually, and I suppose that is absolutely true. We can mentor a young person or volunteer to work with troubled youth or join our neighborhood watch. Do you want to know what I did in response to the hideous murders this month to help cut down crime? I called ADT. How do we get people like myself who are safely tucked in the suburbs to care so much about Richmond's crime problems that we actually do something other than protecting ourselves? For that matter how do we get people in the city to do something? And what, exactly, should we ask them to do?
Your thoughts, friends?