Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Roundball Solution

From the Philadelphia Daily News:

It is truly enough. One innocent little 5-year-old girl is dead and gun violence is rampant in our city.

I've heard all kinds of ideas on how to solve this dilemma, but not the one that everyone knows will make a difference. I was a teenager back in the days of gang wars. Those days are back, and the only thing that can stop them are the same things that worked back then.

We need to realize that the guns are not firing themselves. Kids are shooting because they have given up on themselves and everything else, and no longer care. During the days of gang wars, they opened up the school gyms for recreation, and the gang wars dissipated.

A child who has no activity will create his own, legal or not, and it is time our leaders realize this. I once managed one of the worst apartment complexes in the city. Vandalism was everywhere, so I announced that I was building a basketball court on the premises. When word got out, the same youths who were destroying everything marched into my office and asked if they could clean up the area where the court was to be built... for free.

After the court was built, the vandalism lessened significantly, and the kids were happy that they now had something to occupy their time. For those people who feel that adding more police officers will solve the problem, think again. Most of these kids will not respect five officers, so do you think they will respect 25?

For those who think lobbying for gun control will solve the problem, that should make things a lot more difficult for those who are already buying guns legally, but it will not do anything for those kids buying illegally. No, if you want to end this problem, take some of that same money that is allocated for prison inmates and spend it on renovating your recreation centers and gyms so that they will be open in the evenings.

And include free computer rooms, libraries, and get local businesses to donate so they can have a nice tax write-off.

I welcome all responses, pro or con at

Elton Brett Jolly, Philadelphia


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