Stopping Violence and Ending Mass Incarceration

By David Lee #AS3041

Violence in American society has always been commonplace, thus it is funny when I hear people complaining about violence in America as if it is a new phenomenon.  America was founded on rape, robbery, theft, genocide, and enslavement.  Since the founding of America, and until this very day America has been a violent nation.  We must understand that poverty and violence go hand in hand, and mass incarceration is connected to both poverty and violence.

How do you build a nation predicated on violence and then pretend to be innocent when you are challenged about your violent nature?  How do you commit violent acts in an effort to extract resources from other nations and then get angry if those nations retaliate against you?  If Americans really wish to stop the violence in this nation, it would behoove the citizens of this nation to first take a long and honest look at American history, and at the foreign policies, which are rooted in violence.  

Impoverished, miseducated, underdeveloped, unemployed, malnourished, homeless, unhealthy people are more prone to commit violent acts, and end up in the nations prisons.  The questions are, why is there so much poverty, unemployment, homelessness, malnourishment, and unhealthiness in this county?  We’re talking about the wealthiest nation in the world, but we have so many existing in such dreadful states.  Most of the people that you find inside of the nations prisons are poor people of color.  The mass incarceration movement has been built on the backs of Black and Brown people.  Black and Brown people have been the main targets of the police out on the streets, and once inside the courtrooms we have very little chance of receiving anything remotely close to a fair judicial process.  This has been the case traveling back to the days of Dread Scott, when it was determined that we had no legal rights, well in today’s legal landscape we can find similar practices of discrimination taking place.  

This is in no way an attempt to excuse the violent behaviors of those people who commit violent acts against women, children, and other innocent people, but we must take a close look at the causes of violence if we wish to properly address those issues.  How is it that the violent actions of the police goes unpunished, but the nations prisons are full of people considered to be a danger to society?  The racist police officers who kill innocent people out on American streets are far more dangerous than most of the people being incarcerated due to economically based acts, but the cops rarely even get charged with a crime in the majority of these cases, and disproportionately their victims are African American or some other people of color.  Ergo, until the violence of the state is properly addressed, it is foolish to think that citizens of this country are going to take serious any cries of the government to stop the violence of taking place out on the streets of America; until issues of poverty are properly addressed, it would be absurd to think about asking oppressed and impoverished people to sit back and accept their wretched conditions.  

We live in a country that promotes an economic system predicated on unequal distribution of resources and power, but seem not to see this as being the source of many of the problems that exist in America How is it that we think that powerless victims are going to coexist with one another without some sort of pandemonium taking place?  The highest levels of the federal government is being overrun by white supremacists, however, the media and government officials who claim not to be of a racist bent act as if nothing wrong is taking place.  Can you imagine the types of international crimes this group of tyrannical, racist, capitalists are going to commit in the name of “Making America Great Again?”  The leader of this pack of wolves has already shown that he is an open misogynist but no one in government seems to care about this narcissistic madman holding the highest public office in the country, and serving as a representative of the new, white supremacist empire.  However, you will hear this group of miscreants openly call for more police out on the streets, and giving the police more power to oppress the people with, which in turn will only increase the prison population in the Untied States, thus simultaneously reducing spending on education, job creation, and other vital services, but this is ignored.  

The mega criminals have the power to set the rules, change the rules when necessary, or just ignore the rules, but those of us without power are suppose to follow the game plan of the mega criminals, and believe that we have some chance of winning in this game of theirs!  This very same group of mega criminals, when it was thought that they might not be able to win the election, made all sorts of proclamations about rioting in the streets upon losing, but once things turned around for them, and they were able to galvanize their white supremacist base, and bamboozled some other folks into thinking that they are going to make positive changes in the country everything changed.  Now it is not right for the people to question the legitimacy of their victory, or their ultimate intentions.  With all of the above, and much more taking place in the country, how does any sane person think that violence can be reduced or stopped without some drastic structural changes taking place first?

I have spent almost 29 years in prison as of this moment, and these issues are very personal to me. I think daily about ways to stop some of the violence-taking place out on the streets and inside of the prisons around the country, but I am a realist, thus I know that until we address the issues of structural changes first, we cannot expect much to change on the streets.  We must find ways to come together as people in this country and collectively address the issues of this country.  I see Rev. William Barber in North Carolina using Fusion Politics as a means to bring people together from various backgrounds to make political changes.  Black Lives Matter is challenging local and national government officials to make some needed changes, but we need much more.  All of these efforts are great and I personally commend everyone working to make the sort of changes needed to Make America Inclusive and Allow All to Share in America’s Wealth, but we sill need to do more to end mass incarceration, and to stop the violence in this country.  We must build movements that will allow serious minded and committed people from all walks of life to engage in the process of creating positive transformations in this country.  

We cannot end mass incarceration or violence without first challenging the people who selfishly rob the people of this nations wealth.  We cannot stop violence or end mass incarceration as long as we are willing to ignore foreign policies that destroy sovereignty and the wealth of other nations throughout the globe to fill the pockets of American tyrants.  We cannot even think about stopping the violence in this nation until we have a true healing process take place for all the crimes committed against Native Americans, African Americans and other survivors of the ills of this nation.  You must first be willing to honestly look at the history of this nation before we can build a cohesive future for all the people of this nation.  If we cannot be openly honest about what America has done to the people of this world, and continues to do, how can we heal, and then rebuild?