Thursday, April 28, 2016

About the shooting at the MTA downtown bus terminal

Gun control advocates such as Mayor Barry have not let the opportunity to blame the downtown shooting at the MTA bus terminal on guns, saying the incident is a"tragic reminder of the plague of gun violence in our society." The gun did not fire itself'; someone had to pick it up and pull the trigger.

I think the shooting at the MTA bus terminal is a reminder of the consequences of the welfare state which produced a generation of alienated kids born to unwed mothers.  This is what happens when we promote policies that destroy the family. We can each draw our own "reminder" but in any case we can agree that what happened is a tragedy.

If one thinks the problem is unwed mothers and the welfare stare or it one thinks it is guns, there is no short-term solution to either problem. Even if we agreed on the problem, the solution would be long-term. We cannot however wait long-term and we cannot pretend the problem is not real.  A report on the problem of youth violence in Nashville states that over the past five years, 16,955 violent incidents in Nashville involved youth. Last year, among the country's 50 largest cities, Nashville ranked second in the highest percentage increase in homicides — from 41 in 2014 to 78 in 2015. Of those, 55 percent of the perpetrators were 25 years old or younger, and half those killed were younger than 25. African-American males are disproportionately involved in the crimes,  both in terms of victims and those arrested.

The report refers to youth violence as an “epidemic” with a range of root causes: joblessness and poverty; poor educational opportunities; a lack of adult role models; barriers to re-entry for those who have been incarcerated; and a cycle of trauma and violence. (link)

Barry has proposed a series of steps to address the issue of youth violence.  "By 2017, I want 10,000 of our youth to have an engaged opportunity that includes a paid internship," Barry has said (link). I don't know that this or any other part of her plan will make a difference, but it might and I hope it does.  Maybe if a kid born in poverty to a single mother has a job they will, if only for that crucial period of their teen years, have hope and maybe they will have influences other than their peers who are urging them to deal dope and commit robberies.

I don't think government can replace the function of that most basic building block of society, the family. I don't think government can build character and instill values that the family should be doing,  but in looking for short-term solutions maybe providing internship to youth will help. I think we could get more impact by rapidly expanding charter schools.  Charter schools have had remarkable success in producing successful college-bound graduates where that demographic would predict school drop outs and criminals.

Maybe, also increasing policing would help and paying for youth informants would help. I don't know the solution but think a multi-prong approach which includes charter schools is what is needed. I agree we should be doing something. 

One thing the mayor is doing that I think is actually counter productive is hosting a "Stand Against Racism" rally. She should not be fanning the flames of racial animosity and telling Black young people that they are victims. The mayor should cancel the "Stand Against Racism" rally and host a "Stand Against Violence" rally.

 Below is more on the recent shooting at the MTA bus terminal.

It could have been my kids. 

 Press Release Jackson Miller- There was a shooting this afternoon at the downtown bus station. It happened at a time when many Nashville students transfer from the MTA bus that picked them up from school... onto the MTA bus that will take them home. I know, because 3 of my sons were there.

They're there everyday, at that time... Many kids are. Thankfully, my sons are ok. Public school students ride MTA for free each day thanks to a program called STRIDE. I advocated hard for this program as a member of the Education Report Card Committee. It is an important program that gives Nashville's kids an opportunity to attend the school they choose. It is critical to participation in after-school programs -- especially for kids with working parents. I am still a strong believer in the STRIDE program, and will continue to advocate for it.

I also recognize why riding MTA is a tough option for many families. Several parents have told me that they are uncomfortable with their kids riding MTA busses, and today we see why that is a valid concern.

As I hug my family a little tighter tonight, I can't help but think of two takeaways from today's events: Parents weigh many costs when choosing where to send their child to school. We need great schools in every neighborhood.

Rod, even if you did not have a child at the bus station today... if you're getting this email -- I know this story will impact you. This story is why I am running for school board. I know we can make a difference and I know that together we can give EVERY neighborhood a great school to be proud of. For students,

Barry Statement on Shooting at Music City Central

Metro Press Release, NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 25, 2016) – Mayor Megan Barry has released the following statement regarding the shooting at MTA’s Music City Central station that has resulted in four shooting victims, one with critical injuries:
The shooting today at Music City Central is a tragic reminder of the plague of gun violence in our society, where one person with a gun can devastate lives and bring a city to a halt in a moment’s notice. My heart sank when I heard that youth were the victims in this shooting, and my hope and prayer for those victims and their families is that they have a full and speedy recovery.
Metro Police will be assigning additional officers to the terminal in the coming days, and as a clearer picture of the shooting today comes into view, I will be meeting with Police and MTA officials to see what we can do better to improve security at Music City Central and prevent incidents like this in the future.
As Mayor, as a Nashvillian, and as a mother, I will never accept a status quo where our children fear being victims of violence when getting on a bus, going to school, or walking in their neighborhoods. I remain committed to working with our entire community to implement recommendations from the Youth Violence Summit Report and create better outcomes for all of our children.
Metro Police will continue to update the public and media with details related to the shooting as they are made available.

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