I have told several people, left and right, about the HBO doc, Stockton on My Mind. Particularly those who aggressively mock “Defund the Police” or those who say that police violence against blacks must stop. This issue, more than any other, has divided us. This is deliberate, the result of careful crafting of a series of violent acts, meant to terrify voters in the runup to the November election. The fielding of BLM, a violent Marxist outfit bent on destroying the American experiment has destroyed the peace, forced everyone to go positional, and bumped gun sales to a level unimaginable last year. Again, deliberate.
Of course, the anger is rooted in truth.The black community is suffering and has for generations. Stuck in structural poverty, in social housing, which is a deadly trap, dealing with hunger, no fathers or fathers in prison, no jobs, terrible education. Every black family I’ve known deals with trauma beyond any white family I’ve known, and I grew up with a father with a traumatic brain injury and a schizophrenic mother. I know in my cellular structure the debility that trauma delivers to following generations. It is huge. It is a hole through which all the energy and determination flows. Most black people you look at grew up with anguish and upheaval unimaginable by the average middle-class individual.
Stockton, one of the poorest, most violent cities in America, is run by a 29-year-old black guy, Michael Tubbs Jr., son of a convicted gangbanger, who is turning the place around. His programs are multifarious and many are funded by the private sector. Advance Peace, for instance, reduces gun violence – 15 gunplay incidents were shut down in the first 90 days of Advance Peace by elders in the community who have authority and to whom the young men turn. The gratitude at the brokering of peace between these shooters was apparently massive. Advance Peace is managed and run by released prisoners determined not to let the kids go down their path.
For young men and women, Tubbs has set up various programs to encourage them to finish school and go to college. Stockton Scholars gifts each college attendee with an annual grant. And there are countless school and community meetings throughout the year, with everyone involved, bent on solving the problems that come up. They literally let no kid twist in the wind.
Heather MacDonald, perhaps today’s most unflinching analyst of crime in America, describes the massive scope of the problem Tubbs and other civic leaders face:
HEATHER MAC DONALD: Blue Truth Matters.
Blacks in New York City commit over 70% of all drive-by shootings, according to the victims of, and witnesses to, those shootings, who are overwhelmingly minority themselves. Add Hispanic shootings to black shootings and you account for nearly 100% of all shootings in New York City.
Such disparities exist in every American city. In Chicago, blacks commit about 80% of all shootings and murders, and whites less than 2%, though both blacks and whites are each a little less than a third of the population. In St. Louis, blacks commit up to 100% of all homicides, though they are less than 50% of the population.Heather MacDonald, Blue Truth Matters
Let’s make this reality even more stark. In the U.S., about 3% of the population commit 50% of the murders and 60% of the robberies. That 3% is young black men.
Michael Tubbs and his team know that there are 25 active shooters in Stockton. He has surrounded them with the care of the community, which is to say men and women they know who have been trained in how to help them and whose caring is personal. Each kid has his own team. They are heavily monitored via check-ins, social programs, elder councils, and even offered transformation travel. Tubbs is so informed by his sense of justice and inclusion, he will on occasion go around the homeless camps, soliciting opinions and offering help.
In another innovation, his SEED program gives $500 monthly to 24,000 residents in Stockton’s most desperate neighborhood. They studied how the money is spent: principally food, utilities, rent, diapers, debt.
The boomer generation abandoned civic duty for sex and glamour, rock and roll and self-indulgence. The twenty-five generations that preceded them saw civic duty as sacred. Pitching in, face to face, intimate problem solving, the inclusion of everyone in the community builds peace and prosperity. This young black man, Michael Tubbs, son of a convicted felon, is showing the way out of our state of permanent childhood, as clients of the super-state and product for our digital overlords.