Letters to the editor Monday

Address the roots of violent crime

 

I’d like to comment on District Attorney Spencer Lawton’s response to Editorial Page Editor Tom Barton’s op-ed concerning the violence at City Market on July 4. It is easy to agree with Lawton on most points, but his fundamental premise concerning the increasing violence on the streets of Savannah seems to be that if law enforcement and the justice system will just keep a steady hand on the throttle, the train will arrive on time.


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Conversely, Tom Barton is saying that Savannah citizens have endured enough violence and death on their streets, and (it) may be time for significant change since the current approach seems to be failing. Although their opinions could scarcely be farther apart, neither illuminates the multiple economic and social issues that currently fuels street violence.

To begin with, unstable or virtually no family life leaves too many young men walking the streets with little or no aspirations other than becoming an NBA star or a drug kingpin. Additionally, child labor laws and technological advances make it excessively difficult for those youngsters who would like to work after school or during the summer.

For instance, I know an individual in the heating and cooling business who has a 14-year-old grandson. The youngster wanted to learn the business and accompanied his grandfather on service calls. Someone reported it, OSHA investigated and my friend was instructed to stop allowing his grandson to work since it could be dangerous. And, if he was injured while working for the company in any capacity, there would be serious legal consequences.

Recently, the Savannah Morning News reported that many summer jobs for college and high school students would be eliminated due to lack of funding. Unfortunately, that seems to be a trend nationwide.

Technology has eliminated thousands of positions from high paying welding jobs to answering telephones, or working as a cashier at big chain stores. And when we include those good industrial jobs outsourced to foreign nations, a labor situation has been created whereby lower skilled adults are competing for jobs that young people might do while acquiring basic skills that could serve them well in later life.

I worked virtually full-time in college, as did my son and daughter. All three of us often clocked more than 40 hours a week and it helped us finish college debt free.

Obamacare has created a situation where businesses and colleges limit the number of hours students and other part-time employees can work per week (approximately 30) in order to avoid paying required benefits, including healthcare, for those workers.

Many people seeking full-time employment now work at two jobs of less than 30 hours each per week.

Overall, it creates situations where young men and women have excessive time on their hands and the need for spending money, but few legal opportunities to earn money. Without parents who can provide funds, selling a block or two of marijuana or some $10 crack rocks becomes increasingly attractive. Add gang influence to the mix and it may look like an even better deal to inexperienced young people. Most probably see it as economic opportunity versus no economic opportunity.

In most cases, those arrested are bailed out and back on the streets within days and sometimes only hours. That creates the impression among kids in the neighborhood (who are always watching) that there are little or no legal consequences for drug dealing. By the time the system gets around to dispensing justice, those kids can be deeply involved in illegal drug activity.

I am not critical of Meg Heap; she seems to be an honest and capable district attorney. I have met Police Chief Joseph Lumpkin at a Police Academy graduation and he comes across as a dedicated professional. I don’t know Mayor Eddie Deloach; no doubt he is doing what he can to reduce the street violence in the city. But, their efforts are more focused on eliminating gang and illegal drug activity as it occurs, and that approach includes those difficulties one might expect when trying to stop an avalanche halfway down a mountain.

With that in mind, it is difficult to see how bringing in Tom Barton’s proverbial gunslinger or Spencer Lawton’s business-as-usual approach will eliminate the violence on Savannah streets. The fundamentals that generate violence must be addressed by families, schools, the business community and politicians in cooperation with the law enforcement/legal community, or that violence will continue at unacceptable rates.

RONALD E. MCCALL

Collins

 

Democrats, Republicans should kiss and make up

There is so much bickering between the two political parties. With all the problems with the economy, crime, illegal aliens, taxes and so much more, you would think the Democrats and Republicans would try to come together, and work towards harmony, friendship, understanding and respect for one another. That being said, I am willing to step up and make this offering: “I will hug your donkey and you can kiss my elephant.”

RALPH P. FULLER

Savannah

Ronald Harrison 8 days ago
"I know an individual in the heating and cooling business..." - It's either the HVAC industry or plumbing.
GUY RANDOLPH 8 days ago
McCall makes good points. But what are the actions? Repeal the job killing parts of Obamacare? End teacher tenure? Reject the "it takes a village" philosophy and reemphasize the family unit? Change the welfare and tax policies to encourage work and make being on the dole a negative? Return to mandatory sentences for drug dealing? Relax government regulation of child labor? These actions address your concerns. Most of them reduce the size and influence of government. I think you may be a conservative.
William Hutcheson 8 days ago
Guy, good post. But it'll never fly. Too insistent. Too harsh.
Ed Fahey 8 days ago

Post Dwight Eisenhower, it has been impossible to negotiate, reconcile or deal with the GOP. It is a party of greed, self-interest, hypocrisy, immoral values and the puppet of the military-industrial complex.

No GOP president has ever balance the budget nor diminished the national debt.

Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan destroyed the middle/working class in this country by literally robbing the social security trust fund.

Donald Trump is reliant on Russia and China for his alleged wealth and his hidden indebtedness.

Patricia Wells 7 days ago
Mr. Mr.McCall, ,  My husband worked every summer since he was 6 years old, picking tobacco, picking eggs from chicken farms.  Even at the age of 6 he was expected to buy his own school clothes.  He didn't have normal summers like children of today do.  

When my son was 15 he worked at a campground.  He cleaned the pool every day.  That was the job he loved the best.  He also kept the camp sites clean.  That was one of his favorite summers.  He had a job he loved and got paid for it.  

When my second son turned fifteen he worked at St. Mary's Home doing handyman work and he never ran out of work to do.  He was always painting something but they kept him busy.  Kids like to earn their own money and they like to buy their own clothes.  But I don't think a 6 year old should be made to work at picking tobacco (a nasty job) and be forced to buy his own clothes.  6 year olds should be allowed to be 6 year olds.

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Tue, 07/25/2017 - 8:43am

Letters to the editor Tuesday