human behavior

Recommended reading: saving America’s cities

Posted in American Culture & Politics, Recommended Reading by humanb on May 8, 2010

Bob Herbert’s piece Bloody Urban Landscapes should fill every reader with despair. It threatens to eviscerate conservative claims of positive US exceptionalism and begs us to reconsider our decidedly loose – and getting looser – interpretation of the 2nd amendment given the apocalyptic landscapes of violence evolving in our inner cities. Meanwhile, in safer parts, people are fighting for everyone’s “right” to carry concealed weapons in churches, for goodness sake. The article is a must-read.

Then read Resolved: Inmates Make Tough Debaters (picture above). It’s a fascinating piece about a prison debate team that successfully goes head-to-head against university students on the outside from law, criminal justice and liberal arts programs. I’ve previously wrote about an excellent companion piece that discusses prisoners in Connecticut receiving an Ivy-league education.

Most inmates aren’t benefiting from educational initiatives in prison, but it seems that such initiatives and an incarceration model of rehabilitation over punishment may become a necessity.  You may not find it fair that convicted murderers get an Ivy league education, but there is nothing fair, or decent, or sane, or exceptional, about the world in which we force urban American children to live. “Think of the children!” is trite, but true.


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