How do we stop violence in Racine? One person at a time, by force if necessary.
Vigils, peace rallies, doves on a stick, or giant human peace signs will not work, unfortunately. If they did, we would have conquered the problem by now.
Still, I understand the temptation to resort to symbolic, feel good gestures. It probably feels better to do something than to do nothing. Perhaps this is what is motivating a Park High School senior Jamel Garrett to try to form a huge peace symbol. You can read about it here: http://racinepost.blogspot.com/2008/01/human-peace-sign-to-be-stand-against.html.
I don't wish to be critical of the young man. He is grieving the loss of a friend. I am glad that he wants to do something. But there are other things that this youth could do that would be arguably more effective in actually combatting violence.
People inclined towards violence must either stop themselves or be stopped by others. Parents, friends, the police, the justice system etc... can all help stop violent people. As such, Garrett could try to foster an attitude of cooperation with law enforcement that seems lacking among some of our youth. This would not be an easy task if the prevailing sentiment is "$%#@*& the cops."
But trying to stop violent people can only get you so far. It would be far more effective to help violent people begin to stop themselves. Being a young man at Park, Garrett may be in a unique position to do so. Perhaps he could reach out to some young people that he knows are inclined towards violence and try to challenge the attitudes and mindsets that support the violence.
Perhaps Garrett is already doing these things and more. If so, they will likely garner more results, if less applause, than will a giant human peace symbol.