Money Jungle: “Vigilant Ease”


Crime has been a subject of wide discussion across Northeast Florida—but what else is new? Every bit of nasty business in our headlines of late has been duplicated, to no end, up and down the state, and around the country. We’ll not speak here of specific incidents, but instead of the larger problem, the stuff no one else wants to talk about.

The first thing to remember is that we are involved in a national problem, and no one, anywhere, has got a handle on it, which intensified the burden felt by all cities as they basically improvise new concepts and methodologies of crime control. The early predictions of social theorists were borne out: the economic recession has made crime a lot tougher for civil society to deal with, for obvious reasons.

Police shootings are up, but 2009 was one of the worst years ever, in terms of police officers being killed. JSO has not lost a man in combat with a suspect in some time, which speaks to their skills, but other states have noted some truly awful incidents. The police response has seen an increase in police-involved shootings and other uses of force that polarize the relationship between law-enforcement and the populations they serve. All these trends are certain to continue.

Liberal ideologues are quick to note that actual crime statistics have held stable, or (as in Duval) posted credible drops in recent years. Yay! That still leaves thousands of violent crimes occurring in our state every year, and the billions that must be spent to maintain this delicate “balance”. The vast majority of kids who turn up missing, for example, or women who are subjected to sexual assault, are never even mentioned by the media; they can, at best, hope to be fodder in some chump politico’s year-end reports, which is no consolation to them or their families. We are not talking about numbers on a page; we’re talking about human beings, more of whom are being hurt every day.

It speaks to the soft, sorry style of politics in our state now that whole populations are getting mass-traumatized, with no real response from the people themselves. Residents of the Riverside area are up in arms—literally, in many cases—about a series of rapes that remain unsolved at this writing. The heinous attack on a bicyclist in broad daylight was not reported to the public until a week later, by which time more attacks had happened. The best reporting was done by the Riverside Community News blog, which was first to put out sketches of the suspects.

Likewise, in the week before the recent tragedy in Orange Park, someone tried to snatch a child mere yards from where the girl later disappeared, but local media—caught up in the “Balloon Boy” debacle, seemingly imposed on them by the networks—failed to inform residents of the incident until it was too late. Both are glaring examples of the defects of mainstream media, and of the need for citizens to fill those gaps formerly occupied solely by media and law-enforcement. There are now only a small handful of reporters actively walking the police beat, and almost none who might take pride in knowing the subject inside-out, and that’s bad news for everyone.

Typically, people have come to this writer for solutions, since I’ve been open and up-front about the need for enhanced vigilance within communities for several years. One might think a response of such kind is beneath us, like we don’t want to “stoop to their level”. Well, we’re already there. When good people are being preyed upon, and their neighbors do nothing, we’re getting awfully close to moral equivalence.

With people buying guns more than ever—thanks, Obama!—it would seem the next logical step to use these weapons for the purpose they were designed—protection of innocent life. That would entail more armed (righteous) men and women walking, biking, riding their streets, looking for trouble. No citizen should ever feel alone in the face of predatory violence; these animals are everyone’s enemy, and only a quasi-organized movement to take back our streets will stop them even slightly.

The next generation of anti-American-agitators will need only to piggyback atop the nation’s preexisting vulnerabilities to achieve their goals of destabilization. Violence won’t even be necessary, because there is so much of it already; terrorism will only add to the stresses of a first-response infrastructure that has already been compromised. The system is blown-out. All the former citadels of American power, like DC, Philadelphia, Chicago and Detroit, have been subsumed with spikes in violence, and the collapse of authority along the southern border means—well, that’s obvious now. There’s nothing random, isolated or coincidental about any of it.; October 27, 2009


About Shelton Hull

I'm a writer/journalist with over 20 years experience covering all types of subject-matter, with a specialization in politics, music, food and dance. My work has been published in nearly 40 different magazines, newspapers, websites and zines, in addition to occasional forays into radio, TV and spoken-word. Former candidate for City Council District 14 in Jacksonville, FL (2011), and a proud member of Gator Nation.

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