Yeah, I’ll totally admit that that problem is the hardest to solve, probably because it’s largely affected by so many intersectional factors such as race, family, and poverty/economics. Which is also why I’m not suggesting increased gun regulation as an end-all answer (although it is worth noting that most of the guns in Chicago are purchased legally in Indiana, which leads to a larger and even more complex conversation about the role of state’s rights in American gun violence).

I disagree that throwing more money at the problem would necessarily lead to corruption, however—I actually think it depends on where the money goes. Things like “broken windows policing” and “stop and frisk” and increased surveillance are more likely to enflame distrust towards authorities and raise tensions in communities that are already dealing with increased levels of stress. In my experience, conservative-minded people often say that they don’t like having the government tell them what to do, while at the same time, they are more likely (again, in my experience) to support increased surveillance/policing in at-risk and lower-income communities—which is still empowering the government to tell other people what to do

A better solution is one that grows out of the community itself. Such initiatives already exist all over the country, and have truly accomplished some tremendous things. And that’s the catch-22: these community-based initiatives do work, but they need more support and resources in order to thrive and have an even greater impact. This involves money. But with that money often comes some added oversight and administrative interference, which usually demands demonstrable results in a very short timeline. A substantial, long-lasting answer would also need to address the larger economic anxieties, and the subtler racist/classist influences, within the larger region—but no one wants to spend the money to deal with that and wait for it to settle in across the years, either.

I’ve seen firsthand some remarkable solutions like the ones I’m vaguely talking about in Boston and New York City. But as someone outside of those situations, I also don’t want to speak condescendingly about it, or put words in the mouths of people who are directly affected by these problems—hence the Pollyanna-ish answer. This is also where I think allyship is important: I’m not going to show up in those troubled communities and tell them what to do, but I will stand by and support them and jump in to help in whatever ways I can, every time I can, while still letting them lead the way.

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Writer of fiction, article, songs, and more. Enjoys quantum physics, Oxford Commas, & romantic clichés, esp. when they involve whiskey. HATES Journey.

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