E.W. Jackson: Protect Children, Not Criminals

Do you care more about keeping innocent children safe, or keeping violent criminals out of jail? Politicians in Illinois have taken sides – and not with innocent children. 

Illinois politicians have gone all-in on the “woke,” soft-on-crime mentality that hardcore liberals have been pushing across the country in recent years. The results are as heartbreaking as they are predictable. 

Three children – including a three-year-old – were among the 14 people shot in a recent drive-by in Chicago, in which gunmen fired indiscriminately into a crowd on Halloween night. What most people think of it as a night of scary fantasy and fun for kids became a real life horror for over a dozen victims and their families. Since 2020, over 300 children have been murdered in similar incidents in America’s cities. Chicago is simply the worst. 

This is not the first time such a thing has happened there, and it will not be the last. If elected officials in the Land of Lincoln don’t reverse course quickly, they will be responsible for accelerating the downward spiral into ever more frequent and horrific violent crimes.  

Illinois politicians haven’t gotten the message. They recently passed the SAFE-T Act,” which sounds like legislation designed to protect citizens from violent crime. In reality, it creates the opposite of “safety” by making the streets of Chicago more dangerous. 

The SAFE-T Act eliminates cash bail and pre-trial detention for a various felonies – including second-degree murder. People arrested for committing violent crimes in Illinois will no longer face bail hearings or be required to post bond. They will be processed as if they were arrested for jay walking, and immediately released to terrorize law abiding citizens. 

This is exactly what the “defund the police” movement wants. The Safe-T Act is inspired by a warped understanding of criminal justice. It demonizes law enforcement officers and coddles violent criminals instead of punishing the guilty and protecting the innocent. 

Some of those who champion soft-on-crime policies may have good intentions, but they are rarely affected by the consequences of their policies. The deadly results for the people they claim to help should persuade them to embrace different solutions. Instead, they disregard the evidence and violate Einstein’s maxim that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. 

The “woke” social justice warriors have a persistent preoccupation with “systemic racism” that prevents them from acknowledging the things we can actually change to make a positive difference in society. 

 First, we can change how kids relate to cops and authority figures. 

Personally, I’ve never had a negative interaction with the police in my life – and I’ve been a Black man for 70 years. When I was growing up, no one had heard of the theoretical concept of “systemic racism.” Racism was tangible and identifiable. Yet I was taught by my dad that if a police officer mistreated meto come to him and let him handle it. I was never to challenge an officer’s authority or treat a cop disrespectfully. It turned out even during the era of overt racism, that if you’re not committing crimes or disrespecting cops, the likelihood of being hurt or killed by an officer is reduced to almost zero. This is not to deny that there are bad cops, but most are decent people trying to do a difficult job. Young people need to be taught how to conduct themselves with these public servants.  

Unfortunately, very few children today hear that message because there are few fathers to teach children a healthy respect for authority. As the family has declined, crime has increased.  

Restoring the stability of family is another thing we can do, if we are patient and persistent. It is a root problem which we can no longer ignore. 

However, it will take courage to address this issue when doing so is to risk being called a racist or a Black sell-out. Children who are raised in homes without fathers are at a disadvantage which often robs them of their potential and sends them on a downward trajectory into drugs, crime, and violence. The whole society pays in the end. 

Finally, we can change the education system. My wife taught in public schools for 20 years, and she saw firsthand how experimentation and woke” policies take precedence over proven methods of educating children. 

It’s not racist to point out that traditional public schools are failing the children in low-income and minority communities. What is racist is keeping those children stuck in failing schools that don’t adequately prepare them to succeed in life. The answer, of course, is to provide for genuine school choice so that parents can give their children the best education possible. 

Our goal as a society should be to give all our citizens the opportunity to fulfill their God-given potential. Our priorities must be building healthy families, creating educational choice and opportunity for our children, and  teaching our youth to have appropriate respect for law enforcement. Until we do these things, we’re going to witness more deaths of the innocent across the nation and more tragedies like the one in Chicago, with no end of the carnage in sight. 

Earl Walker Jackson Sr. is an American conservative politician, Protestant minister, and lawyer in Virginia.

The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.

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