The real crime in Ferguson took place long before Michael Brown and Officer Wilson met. Through a series of perverse policies we have created ghettoes in almost every major city in the country. Let's start with my nomination for 'The Folly of Our Times'--The War on Drugs, now morphed into a special-interest jobs program. The 'more-harm-than-good' caused by this program has been well documented elsewhere and is a major subject in itself--and that's without counting the violence created in neighboring countries to the south.
Next, add a school system that provides very little in the way of employable skills and is probably ill-designed for the situation, and add welfare that enables dysfunction, creating a permanent underclass rather than effecting positive change.
There are other factors such as crumbling infrastructure, but the above are all that's needed to create, among other things, a large number of young black men with nothing to do. So, now add the final ingredient: a police force charged with suppressing the logical, inevitable, outcome.
This is not a situation amenable to piece-meal solutions; kinder, gentler cops won't do the job alone. Although weeding out the psychopaths would help. The solution is a massive national challenge. It will require clear-headed, objective planning in an area loaded with entrenched biases, preconceptions and self-serving 'experts'. It will take a long time, although it need not be horrendously expensive since we will stop spending on making matters worse.
In my view the major problems will be three-fold:
1/ Race; not racism but the use of race as a cudgel to beat back unwelcome proposals and discredit their proponents.
2/ Leadership; at present, those who offer themselves tend to be self-serving populists, not given to fundamental thinking.
3/ Culture; the tendency (often overwhelming) to accept conventional wisdom; a candid assessment of what we're doing wrong will be hard to come by.
For the reasons given, there will be no clear-headed, effective progress on this problem in the foreseeable future. We need to avoid being sucked into politically correct, euphemistic proposals and insist on getting rid of efforts that have not worked in favor of some that, at least, have a chance, e.g. early intervention.
"How do I know what I think until I see what I say?"--E.M. Forster.
Joe Bakewell: http://joebakewell.wordpress.com/