In many aspects the government has replaced the church. At the federal, state and local levels people turn to government to feed, house, educate, employ, set moral standards and solve problems. It could be argued that the government is the leading charity organization in the country. We have become reliant on the government instead of our neighbors and religious institutions. Unfortunately the government has no vested interest in our success; our neighbors and community do.
The government can impose all the laws that it likes, but it is our communities that can change the culture of violence faster and more effectively. There are thousands of gun laws on the books, yet it seems, the murder rate continues to climb. Why? Prosecutors accept plea deals that drop the gun charges; cases are dismissed or lost because witnesses refuse to cooperate. Could it be possible that the crime in the street actually is caused by law abiding citizens who take a "don't ask, don't tell" position on the violence in their own neighbor hoods?
Often after a tragic death there are protests, speeches and posturing by political and community leaders. However, once the television crews have left so has the will to solve the problem. What if we actually followed through on the pomp and circumstance, and actually made a stand against the thugs that are killing our youth and destroying our neighborhoods? To do that we need to make a stand against those committing the acts of violence, relying more on our communities, and less on the government.
We are currently fighting a "War on Terror" around the world. How much longer will the battle need to be to stop the terror that rules our streets? Ask yourself if it is possible to teach our young people that respect doesn't come from a barrel of a gun. Can we get our young men to believe that women are not as portrayed on MTV and BET? Can we convince our young men and women that sex is not love? Is it possible to get adults to make lifelong commitments to their spouse and children?
What type of a commitment are we as a community willing to make to end the violence on the streets? Turning off the television or radio and putting down the newspaper are not options. We need boots on the ground in this battle, and they need to be ours.