January 22, 2012
THE PROBLEM OF VIOLENCE IN THE INNER-CITY AMERICA CAN BE SOLVED
David M. Kennedy, Don't Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and The End of Violence in Inner-City America (New York: Bloomsbury, 2011) (From the bookjacket: "Gang- and drug-related inner-city violence, with its attendant epidemic of incarceration, is the defining crime problem in our country. In some neighborhoods in America, one out of every two hundred young black men is shot to death each year, and few initiatives of government and law enforcement have made much difference. But when David M. Kennedy . . . engineered the 'Boston Miracle' during the crack epidemic of the 1990s, it cut youth homicide in the city by two-thirds and pointed the way toward what few had imagined: a real solution." "Don't Shoot tell the story of Kennedy's progress. Riding with beat cops, hanging with gang members, and stoop-sitting with grandmothers, Kennedy found that all parties misunderstood each other, caught in a spiral of racialized anger and distrust. He envisioned an approach in which everyone--gang members, drug dealers, cops, and community members--joins together in what is essentially a giant intervention. Offenders are told that the violence must stop, that even the cops want them to stay alive and out of prison, and that even their families support swift law enforcement if the violence continues." "The program Kennedy developed based on this approach has now been implemented in over seventy cities, . . . and in city after city, the same miracle has followed: Violence plummets, drug markets dry up, and the relationship between the police and the community is reset." Not the best writing. Still, food for thought. Food for hope.).