APR 17, 2023
“By far the largest part – eighty percent at least – of crimes against property and against the person are perpetrated by individuals who have either lost connection with home life, or never had any, or whose homes had ceased to be sufficiently separate, decent, and desirable to afford what are regarded as ordinary wholesome influences of home and family…”
Jacob A. Reis, “How the Other Half Lives”, writing about New York City’s slums in 1890.
What Reis knew, and what everyone with any common sense knows today, is that the key factor in preventing crime and delinquency is the family. It is not monthly welfare checks. It is not government-sponsored counseling programs, free lunches, or anything else. What keeps kids from turning to crime is a stable home life.
Kids need structure. Kids need discipline. Kids need stability. Kids need role models.
Walk into the worst slums of India and you will see children coming out of hovels in which the average American would not spend the night, wearing clean clothes and walking off to school with smiles on their faces. Mom spends her days trying desperately to scrape together dinner, washing the few clothes the family owns, and sweeping the dirt floor of the one-room shack in which the family lives. Dad toils in the broiling sun at hard, physical labor.
The kids do not become hooligans. The kids do not commit murder. The kids do not roam the streets like wild animals devoid of discipline or morality.
Those children, desperate as their lives are, grow up knowing right from wrong and understanding what it means to be civilized.
Humans have understood all this for millennia. And yet somehow well over fifty years ago our federal government decided to abandon all of the collective wisdom we had acquired as a species and embark on a mad experiment. We would adopt policies that weakened the family structure, turned everyone into a ward of the state, and made material “benefits” in the form of public assistance the only measure of “success.”
The result has been catastrophic. In our inner cities in particular we have created hellscapes and condemned generations of our citizens, particularly African Americans to deep poverty. In places like West Baltimore tens of thousands of young men and women live in areas where intact families long ago ceased to exist and the only viable employment opportunities involve murder and narcotics trafficking.
In Baltimore, a city of less than 600,000 there were 333 murders in 2022. There were another 688 non-fatal shootings. Even those gruesome statistics are misleading. Take a look at maps online that show where the murders and shootings occurred. There are big chunks of the city where no one is shot. There are blocks in parts of West Baltimore where multiple murders occurred within a few yards of each other.
(Read more at: https://andmagazine.substack.com/p/the-bill-comes-due-our-children-are)