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Annys Shin attacks Metropolitan Police Department Chief Charles Ramsey (“Dead Reckoning,” 5/30) and his purportedly misleading analysis of the District’s rising murder rate, wherein he suggests that recent jail and prison inmate releases are driving the violence.
Both are wrong.
Unless Shin’s got evidence that Ramsey himself is committing murders, rapes, and robberies, she ought to shut up, because there isn’t a police chief in the world outside of Cuba, North Korea, or Singapore who could do a goddamn thing about the wanton violence on D.C. streets.
And the chief ought to have the guts to tell it like it is: So long as more than 60 percent of District babies are born to single, mostly poor, uneducated mothers with no sense at all about what it takes to raise a healthy, happy, socially successful child, and so long as more than 75 percent of our fourth-graders are scoring Below Basic on standardized tests while teachers’-union officials abscond with millions, school staff conduct sexual relations with students, and a sizable percentage of those receiving checks for public-school administrative jobs don’t show up for work, the dysfunction and pathology that define our killing zones in Northeast and Southeast will flourish unabated.
The enemy isn’t Chief Ramsey, George Bush, congressional budgeters, or an invading army of gentrifiers.We are the enemy. Weour sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, friends, acquaintances, and colleaguesare the ones doing the killings and other maniacally senseless violence, or harboring the killers right here in our neighborhoods.
Regardless of policing policies, our city will be only as violent and uncivilized as we let it become. Yet Ward 3 Councilmember Kathy Patterson and others like her are more interested in improving jail inmates’ comfort than they are in vocally and unequivocally discouraging the rampant premature parenthood that is this city’s most overwhelming yet least discussed catastrophe.
Whether it’s steadily demoralizing crime rates, soaring special-education, social-welfare, and criminal-justice budgets, or a largely uneducable and unemployable workforce and its long-term impact on our economy and tax base, it can all be traced back to ill-prepared folks having babies who have very little chance of becoming upstanding, contributing citizens.
Until we acknowledge this root cause of most of our social problems, we can’t begin to craft successful solutions.