Friday, February 17, 2017
Ending mass group violence such as gangs and even groups like Daesh has some very common connecting threads. Even more broadly, the threads of commonality that can end violence also reach into racist ideology. The common thread is very much stated in the words of a former soldier fighting for Daesh in Iraq. Below is an exert from a news article on the Reuters website: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-mosul-prisoners-idUSKBN15W1N0 Hussein sees himself as a victim of hardship, a product of a broken home and poverty in his hometown of Mosul, where Iraqi forces have launched an offensive against Islamic State to dislodge them from their last stronghold in Iraq. "I had no money. No one to say 'This is wrong, this is right.' No jobs. I had friends but no one to give me advice" said Hussein. These impoverished people are the gardens of gang recruitment. Sadly we have understood this reality for hundreds of years. Even though the news article is about a person in Iraq, it can just as easily be a person in any town or city across the world. Yet it is completely mind boggling to me every time I hear people say there is no money to help such people or that enough is being done to help. The issue of assisting the impoverished is not simple because we make it complicated. However, there is an element that is difficult to bridge and that element is best stated with a cliché of “you can take a horse to water but you can not make it drink”. This is the proverbial person who “slips through the cracks”. Are we doing enough, are we spending enough? We are spending enough but we are spending in wrong areas. This is where we have a certain lack of will to do the toughest job, to fight where it matters most and stand up for the youth who seem to continually thumb their noses at us. If gangs can recruit these youth, others who have a greater societal peace in mind can do so as well.