The Press-Dispatch

August 14, 2019

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C-8 Wednesday, August 14, 2019 The Press-Dispatch OPINION Submit Letters to the Editor: Letters must be signed and received by noon on Mondays. Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg Points to Ponder by Rev. Ford Bond What evil lurks in the hearts of men? My Point of View by Dr. H. K. Fenol, Jr., M.D. Great joys of grandchildren Minority View by Walter E. Williams Was Trump right about Baltimore? Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Here's what President Donald Trump tweeted about Baltimore's congressman and his city: "Rep. Elijah Cummings has been a bru- tal bully, shouting and scream- ing at the great men and women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when ac- tually his Baltimore district is far worse and more dangerous. His district is considered the worst in the USA." "As proven last week during a congressional tour, the border is clean, efficient and well run, just very crowded," Trump added. Cumming's "district is a disgust- ing, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place." President Donald Trump's claims suggesting that Rep. Eli- jah Cummings' Baltimore-ar- ea district is "consid- ered the worst run and most dangerous" has been called racist. But whether Trump's claims have any mer- it is an empirical mat- ter settled by appeal- ing to facts. Let's look at a few. In 2018, Baltimore was rated one of the "Rattiest Cities" in the nation by pest control company Orkin. Ac- cording to Patch Media, although there has been progress in the last few years, Baltimore ranks ninth in rat infestation, down from its sixth position two years ago on Orkin's list. What about safety? In 2017, St. Louis had the nation's highest mur- der rate, at 66.1 homi- cides per 100,000 resi- dents. Baltimore came in second, with 55.8 murders per 100,000 people. The unpleas- ant fact is that pre- dominantly black and Democratic-run cit- ies have the worst re- cords of public safety. The Trace, an indepen- dent nonprofit news organization, using 2017 data from the FBI's Uni- form Crime Reporting program, listed the 20 major U.S. cities with the highest homicide rates. A fter St. Louis and Baltimore, De- troit was third, with 39.8 murders Pursuit of the Cure by Star Parker After the shootings: Look to culture, not politics The nation must now endure another gut-wrenching tragedy, with 31 having been senselessly gunned downed in Texas and Ohio over a weekend. This following a week where three were gunned down in Cal- ifornia. My appeal is to consider these tragedies a crisis of culture and not to turn them into politics, which is already happening. I'm thinking about the words of Robert F. Kennedy when he spoke to a crowd in Indianapolis in April 1968, after hearing the news that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been murdered. "In this difficult day, in this dif- ficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in," said Kennedy. He himself would be assassinated shortly thereafter. Kennedy appealed to Ameri- cans to move away from "polar- ization" and "hatred" and toward "love and wisdom and compas- sion." It is a great temptation to simpli- fy what is complex, and this tends to mean translating everything in- to politics, looking for some par- ticular individual to blame and looking for some simple policy an- swer that will allegedly solve the problem. But these tragedies are not sim- ple and not partisan. They have occurred too often in our nation and have occurred un- der Democratic as well as Repub- lican regimes. There is a sickness in the soul of our nation, and that sickness plays its way through and winds up expressed in deadly, patholog- ical acts of lonely, lost, confused individuals — disproportionately, young males. We must try to grasp the nature of this pathology and consider how it may be addressed. If we look, we can see other tell- ing symptoms. The Centers for Disease Con- trol and Prevention reports that the rate of suicide in the nation is the highest since 1942. From 1999 to 2017, the suicide rate increased 33 percent, and in 2016, suicide was the second leading cause of death in the age range of 10 to 34. The rate of suicide among young men is more than three times higher than that of young women. On the other side of the spec- trum, while young Americans are taking their own lives at an increasing rate, fewer are bring- ing new life into the world. The CDC reports that in 2018, for the fourth year in a row, the nation's fertility rate — the num- ber of births per 1,000 women ag- es 15 to 44 — dropped and hit a historic low. And this has occurred coinci- dentally with a drop in the rate of marriage. The percentage of American adults who are mar- ried is one-third less than where is stood half a century ago. Nicholas Eberstadt of the Amer- ican Enterprise Institute has writ- ten about the huge exit of prime- age males — 25 to 54 — from the workforce. In 1965, according to Eberstadt, 96.6 percent of prime- age males were working. Now its 88.5 percent, meaning millions of prime-age males have abandoned the workforce. All this has occurred as Chris- tianity, once a pillar of American society, has been pushed to the margins. Per Gallup, in 1974, 65 percent of Americans expressed "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the church or organized reli- gion. By 2019, this was down to 36 percent. Faith builds a sense of belong- ing to something true and great- er than oneself. It provides mean- ing and an anchor in times of dif- ficulty and uncertainty. Lucid Moments By Bart Stinson Why are we so fearful? I was walking a few blocks from my home last month when I saw a tall Black teenager standing im- mobile in the middle of the street. He was wearing a "do-rag" on his head and, although his shoulders slouched, his chin jutted forward and his eyes focused far down the block, my end of the block. I couldn't see what he was hold- ing at waist-level, but I surmised by the bend of his elbows that he was holding it with both hands. There are few driveways on that block, so there are always cars parked at the curb. I decided to mind my own busi- ness and walk briskly up the side- walk, looking neither to my left nor my right, and to remain as in- visible as I seemed so far. I read- ied myself to crouch behind a car should gunplay ensue. Then his little sister came bounding off their porch shriek- ing for her turn steering their ra- dio-controlled toy car down the street. As he surrendered the con- trols, their mother came onto the porch, locking the door behind her and ordering them into the car for what appeared to be a grocery run. He wasn't a gunman. My gosh, he was almost a baby. Why are we Americans so fearful of one anoth- er nowadays? My episode reminded me of an essay by (Black) Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page several years ago. His little boy of about four years was by all accounts a cute child, and melted the hearts of even the most brusque and pre- occupied white colleagues when- ever Page brought him to the of- fice. But Page knew that the day was not distant, perhaps less than a de- cade away, when his son's appear- ance in a parking lot or elevator would occasion anxiety and suspi- cion instead of warm parental in- stincts. It happens to every cute Black toddler if he lives to adoles- cence. It's not always irrational to fear Black adolescents, of course. They do commit crimes at rates dispro- portionate to their population. Even Jesse Jackson reported feel- ing relief one evening when an ap- proaching group of young men turned out to be white. But most Black youngsters com- mit no crime of any kind, violent or otherwise. And so it's important to distinguish between the criminal and the benign. There are few in- justices more hurtful than being treated like a criminal, if you're not. But sometimes law-abiding ad- olescents of all races make it hard for you to assume the best about them, when they dress like crimi- nals, talk like criminals and carry themselves like criminals. It's as if they get pleasure from making you guess wrong about them. This is not the first generation to glamorize and adopt criminals. The earliest popular American criminal, perhaps, was psychopath "Billy the Kid." Bonnie and Clyde, Indiana's own John Dillinger and the "Teflon Don" John Gotti each had their day in the public's favor. Bugsy Siegel has been portrayed very sympathetically. Hollywood was light-hearted about Frank Sinatra's alleged Ma- fia connection. Why? How much human misery flowed out of Mafia heroin, how many addicted young women fell into prostitution for the Mafia, how many children ended up in foster care because Sinatra's friends destroyed marriages and families with heroin? I knew a white student who went through a criminal imitation phase when he first went away to Vin- cennes University almost 50 years ago. This well-raised church kid began loitering in public places in an outlandish long coat, slouching like a pimp. At least I think that's how pimps slouch. All I know for sure is it's how Curtis Mayfield slouched in his 1972 pimp movie "Super- fly." Mayfield's college-kid imita- tor saw the movie and drove up to Terre Haute for the concert. There was a season of pimp chic there- after. What made the kid think that was OK? Certainly not his parents (I knew them, too). It was the pow- The first weekend in August, America was horrified with the shooting at a Wal-Mart in El Pa- so, Texas, that to date has killed 22 people. Then Sunday morning we awoke to a shooting outside of a nightclub in Dayton, Ohio that left nine people dead. Each is tragic, senseless and evil. The media as a whole [T V, cable and newspapers] have de- voted much time effort decrying violence and irrational acts by the perpetrators. Much ink has been spent on explaining the psychology of the shooters and what makes people want to kill. The media labels these killings as an act of domestic terrorism, hate, evil, and senseless. Howev- er, I am not searching for a root cause in their childhood, family, or social media foot- print, I know the im- pulse to kill others arose because of sin. Christians do not have to look far to understand the mo- tive for death-it re- sides in each of us and we can find its beginning in the opening pages of the Old Testament: Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Cain killed his brother. It was premeditated, in legalese, he killed with malice and forethought. God had warned Cain "Why are you angry, and why do you look so resent- ful? If you do the right thing, won't you be ac- cepted? But if you don't do the right thing, sin will be waiting at the door ready to strike! It will entice you, but you must rule over it." Notice the warning - "But if you don't do the right thing, sin will be waiting at the door ready to strike." Cain was warned, but he gave in- to his impulse and desire. Christians should know the real issue here –it is sin. Humans are Rose and I have been very busy doing a lot of baby sitting for our grandchildren before they head to school. For many grandparents like us, there is a lot of joy and a lot of challenges in taking care of the babies and the toddlers. They require constant supervision, they want to eat all the time it seems, they want to do something all the time, and they sleep late and wake up late. Well, since it is vacation time, we let them sleep as late as they want to, because when school starts, they will be on a strict and regimented schedule. Some of the great joys we experience with the grandkids are going to the lo- cal library, and then to the Kiefer splash park. One of the thrills they expe- rience is going to the stores and looking at toys, and you know what's next, they will insist on get- ting their 1000th toy. There's something about their fascina- tion with having some- thing new which they will enjoy for a few hours, then they get tired of it. I have used several techniques to deny their request to buy not needed stuff. Several that I tried have worked, some do not. Example, if they want something bad, I tell them I will get it if they put in a certain amount of money to be added to the purchase. Boy that really stops their desire quick. An- other technique I do is to ask how much the toy costs and if it's over a cer- tain limit, they can't have it. My kids still remind me that they remem- ber if I tell them if the toy costs over a dollar, they got turned down. Last, I heard they are now using this strate- gy with their own kids. I'm not sure if it works for them. And I often remind my grandkids to look at their boxes of toy room first and if they cannot remember finding a similar toy, I might be persuaded to get what they insist Heritage Viewpoint By Stephen Moore Fed is right to inject economy with more dollars Suddenly, nearly everyone wants the Federal Reserve Board to cut interest rates. I've been ar- guing for this for nine months, so it's nice to see the economic in- telligentsia is finally persuaded. The Fed has become a restraint on growth since last August thanks to ill-advised interest rate increases (and promises to raise rates more in 2019), which slowly squeezed out of the economy dol- lar liquidity and tanked the stock market. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is finally signaling a rate cut by 0.25 of a percentage point next week. This almost certainly will be ac- companied by a reduction in the interest rate the Fed pays banks on reserves. That policy has re- duced bank lending and shrunk the money pool as well. The stock market has reacted bullishly in anticipa- tion of this decision to inject the econo- my with more dol- lars. The Fed's prima- ry job should be price stability with minimal inflation, but for many months now, inflation has fallen below its standard target. What is bewildering is that so much of the analysis for why the Fed should cut rates is upside- down. The New York Times edi- torial board and others argue that a slowing economy demands eas- ier money. But that's outmoded Keynesian illogic based on the be- lief that money causes growth. It doesn't. In the 1970s, the Fed tried to juice growth with inflation- ary money injections; we got less growth and more inflation. But excessively tight money can choke growth, too. The reality of the Trump economy is a lot different than the easy-money crowd thinks. Yes, it's true that the trade war and glob- al economic sluggishness has slowed domestic growth here at home. The U.S. growth rate surged to more than 3.5 percent

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