Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fighting a War, Not Fighting Crime

So we have approximately 152,000 troops stationed in Iraq right now, fighting a war that seems never ending. I'm not here to rant about what I think about the war, but just keep that number in mind.

Now think about your typical soldier. The" stereotype" might be: dedicated to his/her country, patriotic, hard worker, looking to help others, in search of new adventures. I think most people would conjure up those types of words when describing a typical soldier.

Now think about the latest crime statistics in the U.S. Violent crime rose quite significantly across the country.

Now allow me to make some connections between the two points...

  • With more than 152,000 of our country's "finest" young men and women gone overseas in Iraq alone, this country has lost a major chunk of its future leaders, family heads, and community citizens. This leaves a huge hole in the fabric of our country that can't be filled in. Or perhaps it can be filled in... by criminals.
  • Let's just say that we took 1/3 of those troops and trained them to walk or patrol the streets of major cities and towns, the way they do in Iraq. Perhaps not with tanks and armored vehicles, but with uniforms and protective gear on. Call them police officers, call them peacekeepers, call them re-positioned soldiers. Whatever. If these hard working, dedicated, and loyal folks were to walk around impoverished (or even beautiful) communities, imagine the improvement in tone from the citizens who see them everyday. Many cities are short on cops, so these armed forces could fill in the gaps.
  • The cost of this war is estimated to be 2 TRILLION DOLLARS. Um, that's no chump change. If this country were to take just a fraction of that, let's say one billion dolars and spread it out across major cities for programs to help police officers, provide activities for kids, or help repair destroyed communities, can you imagine what that would do? Now flow 2 trillion dollars into cities and towns and imagine what could be done. To me the possibilities are quite astounding indeed.
  • By fighting an on-going war where we hear about killings, bombings, shootings, and so forth every single day, what kind of message send to our youth, who are most vulnerable to commit or be a victim of crime? Well, Johnny, we're going to keep shooting and shooting and shooting over in Iraq, so you might as well do the same here. Kids love to be copycats, whether it's playing a game of basketball ("I wanna be like Mike") to shooting a gun. Kids learn by imitating others, and showing them a life full of guns and murders is not helping.
That's just the way I see it.

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