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Do you want to blame someone for the rampant violence around Alabama? Grab a mirror

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In communities where public education is substandard, crime flourishes.

This is not an opinion. It is a documented fact.

It doesn’t matter what the racial makeup of the community is. It doesn’t matter which political party has control over that local community. It does not matter whether a specific religion occurs.

If you have underperforming public schools, you have high crime rates.

And high drug use. And more gang activity. And a whole group of young people who are generally quite bad at resolving conflicts.

And guns. Lots and lots of guns.

All of these things are our fault, and the fault of our ancestors, going back to the beginning of this state – and the country as a whole for that matter – and the ignorant ways we have decided to treat each other based on superficial factors like skin color and origin.

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Oh, and also our respect for the gun. A magical tool that allows white people to stop mass shooters by simply buying one – training and common sense are optional. And a tool whose sale should never be burdened with fundamental safety restrictions.

It’s a toxic mix that has turned parts of some Alabama cities into war zones.

In Birmingham and Montgomery, for example, it is not unusual for several people to be shot on any given day in a scene where more than a hundred shots have been fired. Many of those shots are fired from automatic weapons – or weapons modified to be automatic – and are often simply sprayed haphazardly in a general direction.

In Montgomery, there have been a number of stories in recent weeks of innocent bystanders being shot by stray bullets. The same thing happened in Birmingham.

Mass shootings are a near-daily occurrence across the state, with multiple young people killed at scenes in some of the state’s most populous cities. Babies have been murdered. Toddlers have caught stray bullets. A grandmother in Montgomery was recently shot with a stray bullet; a lady shopping on one of the city’s main streets became paralyzed.

And meanwhile, across town in Montgomery, the Alabama legislature – filled with people who love to shake their heads and ignore the random violence – has passed a bill banning bump stocks – one of those illegal adjustments that should be semi-automatic. to convert weapons into fully automatic weapons – to wither away and die.

It’s just the latest in a long line of legislative failures that have left Alabama’s big cities — and its poorest neighborhoods — suffering and dying.

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Of course, we don’t blame things like segregation and the Alabama Accountability Act — which has taken billions in necessary funding from some of Alabama’s poorest school districts — and absurd gun laws for the violence. We never take the time to get to the root of the problems, to even think about why so many children in the same neighborhoods – who all seem to have the same problems and struggle with the same problems – continue to kill each other and so many people around them to.

Why would we do that when we can simply blame the black mayor. Or black culture. Or too many Hispanics. Or the ‘border’. Or video games. Or movies. Or …

Or anything other than investigating the long, sordid history of all the truly hateful crap we’ve done that led to this.

It turns out that there are consequences when you discriminate against people for decades. For running from segregated school district to segregated school district. For setting BS magnet programs. To raise money from the schools that are having the most difficulty. To carry out selective – and often unlawful – surveillance of certain neighborhoods. For denying government resources to certain people. For city planning that always seemed to deviate from certain neighborhoods. For downright hateful policies and practices.

And then we combined those consequences with an absolutely brain-dead gun policy. The gun policy is so absurd that even armed, gun-loving police officers begged us not to do it. The gun policy that our own legislators – as in the case of dropping the bump stock legislation – admitted was wrong.

What we’ve done is left an entire generation of some children without basic hope. We have watched idly – ​​and with judgment – ​​as the consequences of decades of hatred and failure leave them in untenable situations, where their best and most consistent options for survival, acceptance and love are extremely poor choices. And then we’ve had the audacity to be surprised or disappointed because they took that obvious path, and surprised by the carnage that resulted.

Or worse, as is the case in Montgomery (and I’m sure Birmingham too), so many people are quick to blame the black mayor. To shout into the social media airwaves that “city leadership” must do “something” to end this senseless violence. Like this is a simple problem of people not trying hard enough, not caring enough, and it all started last year.

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Spare me. The fact is that many of these problems have persisted for years in this state’s poorest neighborhoods. And none of you pearl collectors cared enough to even acknowledge it. It didn’t keep you awake for a minute, when it was just the poor kids killing each other. But now that it’s here, impacting the people you know, and showing up on your Ring cameras, it’s a crisis.

Well, I have bad news. There is no bumper sticker solution for this. There is no easy solution. There is no solution to throw everything in jail. There is no hard, macho equation that will solve this. It will take years of love, compassion, quality education and money well spent to reverse this decades-in-the-making problem.

And if you need someone to blame for all this, grab a mirror.