By Hollis Wormsby, Jr.
There was a vigil held in Bessemer on Monday night on behalf of more than 100 victims of violent crime from western Jefferson County. Those who organized the vigil were well intended and did no harm – but I wonder how much good it did. This vigil followed the form of many others with local elected officials speaking on the impact of gunfire in our communities and families talking about the never-ending pain. No disrespect to the families, but we also need to talk about the cause of violence in our communities.
One step to reducing crime in our community begins with getting control of the kids in our own homes and my home is no exception. Yes, it is important to set standards where we live and this is something I have failed to do. So do not get the impression that I am writing from the perspective of someone who thinks he knows it all. I am writing from the perspective of someone who understands not being able to teach values that are important to young lives. What I say to myself is, “You might not be able to achieve your goal, but it is still your job to get up each day and try.”
Our kids watch more TV than any other race, are more often left unsupervised and in too many cases, including in my own home, and are not taught the values they need to succeed in the workplace. If our kids are not taught the responsibility of regular chores how are they going to understand holding down a job.
Another thing that we must teach is respect for authority. If our children are not required to show respect in our own homes how are they going to respect teachers, principals, law enforcement or others who may not care as much about them as you do.
I am a systems engineer by training so in my world the solution to any problem is a series of logical steps dedicated to a specific purpose. Yes, there are emotions some may need to share at the vigils, but if we are to really address the violence in our communities, we are going to have to own up to the root causes and work to identify strategies to address and improve those problems. Or at least that’s the way I see it.
(Hollis Wormsby has served as a featured columnist for the Birmingham Times for more than 29 years. He is the former host of Talkback on 98.7 KISS FM and of Real Talk on WAGG AM. If you would like to comment on this column you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org)