Pubdate: Sat, 24 Oct 2009
Source: Hartford Courant (CT)
Copyright: 2009 The Hartford Courant
Author: Margaret Thornton


For decade after decade, citizens have mourned, sobbed, wrung their
hands and called for an end to violence in their neighborhoods.
Politicians' rhetoric has changed very little as they ask for more
funds or more cops to "solve" the problem. Instead of repeating the
same destructive cycle for further generations, we need to do what
Courant columnist Helen Ubinas has asked us to do: "Tell The Truth
About Violence" [Oct. 18].

It is absurd to believe that this is a matter for law enforcement.
Hartford spends an estimated $41 million on law enforcement and
corrections, and 70 percent of the crime and violence is related to
the illegal drug trade. We need to create a new urban paradigm of peace.

The key to ending the violence lies in ending the drug war with
comprehensive programs to prepare the families that have depended on
that income to instead find new direction and hope. The funds are
there; they just need to be reallocated.

This revolutionary concept is a frightening prospect for many people,
but it is the only answer for our cities and, ultimately, our country.
If we are serious about revitalizing cities and making them into safe
places that nurture youngsters and support and encourage damaged
families, it must be done.

Poor political policies began the violence. Only new political
policies can begin to end it now.

Margaret Thornton, Glastonbury

The writer is co-founder and executive director of Efficacy, an
organization that works to reform the country's drug policies.
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