Friday, August 04, 2006

Lord of the Flies

Author links the rise in crime in Philly and fatherless households.
In case you missed it, there's a flurry of activity aimed at fighting Philly's increased violent crime. But while politicians looking to keep their jobs or get new ones work the problem - which, face it, extends to the prison cap, soft judges, cop management, etc. - I don't hear much about root causes.

Except from readers.

One asks, "Ever read 'Lord of the Flies?' " It's the classic 1954 William Golding novel about a group of civilized English boys marooned on an island without adult supervision. In short, they turn from society to savagery and bad things happen.

One could argue something similar happens to young boys marooned in urban poverty without adult supervision.

If you drop the niceties, forget political correctness and look this violence in the face, what you see is young minority perps and victims from low-income neighborhoods without enough adult supervision. Annually, about one-third of all births statewide are to unwed mothers, a figure that strikes me as high.

But in one of the state's 67 counties the unwed birth rate tops 50 percent. Care to guess?

Yep, Philadelphia County, in first place at 62 percent. In Philadelphia's Hispanic community, 74 percent of births are to unwed mothers; in the city's black community, it's 80 percent. And it's nothing new.

I'm not sure what could be done on the governmental level to solve this underlying issue, but I've been concerned about it for quite some time.

None of it has anything to do with mass media exposure, or self hypnotizing with "hiphop" "music". It's the lack of trigger locks that's causing these things.


"More than 20 Philadelphia families have lost children to murder this year. Each death rips apart a family and a community. "

"In response, the victims’ families and friends usually follow a set of urban rituals to mourn them — rituals that offer a chilling glimpse into the culture of grief that pervades Philly’s neighborhoods during this violent summer."

"Jarrette was a kid of the streets. Even his mother admits it. He periodically sold weed to keep cash in his pocket. He also never backed down from an old-fashioned brawl."

“He was struggling with the fact that he was selling sometimes,” Gore said. “He wanted things nobody else had. Kids want that money.”

"Gore has eight children in all, fathered by four men."

"Jarrette never knew his dad. Lamont Moore, 22, was murdered outside the Eagle Bar on Erie Avenue near Germantown in a 1991 shootout. "

"The shirt sported a picture of Jarrette. His eyes hid behind a pair of oversized sunglasses. His hand turned to the side as if he were holding a fake gun in a stereotypical hip-hop video."
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