Indianapolis has a violence problem. Oh, Chicago has a murder rate well ahead of ours, but the city's record is far from admirable; about the best you can say is that the past couple of years have not been worse than the previous worst year.
Most of the killing seems to be drug/gang related; true in the 1920s, still true today, and for much the same reason, laws that create a lucrative underground market.* A few years ago, group of local ministers and concerned citizens decided to step up and do something by forming the Ten Point Coalition. Both proactive and reactive, Ten Point members patrol high-profile events like the Indiana Black Expo/Summer Celebration and this weekend's Circle City Classic and show up at crime scenes, talking with young people, trying to head off trouble before it starts and generally being visible and involved. I don't know how you'd measure results, but violence at public events does seem to be down since they started making their rounds. At least they're trying something.
It may have some bad guys bothered, though the evidence is far from reassuring: Friday night, Coalition members showed up at a murder scene IMPD was working and were threatened by some angry young men. It appears to have been a credible threat, not idle talk.
...And Saturday, Ten Point Coalition members, in their distinctive bright-yellow safety vests bearing the group's name, were walking among the crowds downtown for the Circle City Classic. Undaunted.
I rail about "do-gooders" from time to time but I make an exception for people who contribute sweat equity, who put that hands and backs where their words are. The Ten Point Coalition has way more of that than most groups. I suspect we'd disagree on many fine points of religion and politics but I agree with them on the general goal of making this city a better place.
Want to do good? Then be good. Even in the face of threats.
* Don't like the killing? Then don't buy drugs. Not even pot. Sheesh, you can take a bus to states where that stuff is as legal as church on the Sabbath if you choose to indulge. Yes, I'm an anarcho-capitalist and I think whatever you wanna put in your body is your choice, but actions do have consequences. When you do business with criminals, you're underwriting their crimes, malum in se as well as malum prohibitum. Moral behavior requires a road trip, gardening skills and/or home chemistry.†
† As a chronic pain sufferer, let me remind readers that spinning a really convincing tale of woe to an M.D. does not count as moral behavior, and just makes it more difficult for people who actually need painkillers to get them.
6 months ago