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Madison Needs Task Force On Personal Responsibility

March 28, 2015

The Saturday morning edition of the Wisconsin State Journal reported above the fold that Madison city leaders are gathering behind the idea of a task force to examine police practices and training, especially the use of force.    We all recognize that the shooting on Williamson street of a black, unarmed teen was tragic.  No one lacks the compassion to the see the sadness over the death of a young man just as his adult life was starting.  For me it seemed even more harsh as the promise of spring starts to show in our city.  The death was horrible.

But I think there is more to consider about these type of events than just the final dramatic moments of a person’s life that then make for headlines in the press.    Over the weeks we all have heard strident voices in our city talking about police practices, incarceration rates,  graduation rates and other related items.    All those topics are mighty important and there is no doubt that if more attention were paid to them and addressed our entire city would benefit.    After all, who can argue that a diploma and a job are not two important foundations for young people starting their lives.

But as I have listened to the bluster and chants and disruptions and even a veiled threat from a public speaker to the Madison City Council I have been very aware of something that is lacking in the discourse.  There has been a lack of speaking to the role that personal responsibility plays not only in the lives of individuals but how that then impacts the city as a whole.  That responsibility is just not for the youth of this city, but also for the adults.

I understand what I am about to say will be tuned out by some and rejected by others.  Some will say I am just too removed from today’s youth and their concerns ‘to understand’.    To all that I say the foundations for family and personal responsibilities do not change though the decades do.

Solid parenting–the teamwork of two adults–every step along the way is vital.  That might mean not starting a family until economic circumstances allow for it.  Once a child is brought into a family there is nothing more important than making sure education is front and center.  Reading to the child and making sure books abound at home and the distractions of television and social media are turned off for homework is a must.

Parents need to instill values to kids about how respecting oneself and others is the only way to make it through life successfully.   Teachers are required the same level of respect as parents.    And like it or not at the time when a police officer gives an order it has to be followed.  That is part of the law and order process that makes society function.  Not everything in life will go smoothly, but when things get bumpy we do not lash out, but instead stay calm and work through it.

I could go on but I suspect my readers can sense the old-fashioned values of which I speak and know to be still the ones that should govern our lives.

This city is heading towards now needing to use tax dollars to fund a new task force on police practices.  Perhaps there is room for improvement, but I sense there is more a desire to show the city has heard the loudest voices and wish to look pro-active in time for the decision that the district attorney will make regarding the shooting.    Perhaps that move can stem any outbursts that might not be as tame as the marches we have so far witnessed.

I truly think most will agree with me that what we really need is to implement the guidelines of personal responsibility that our grandparents employed.  It worked for our parents, and I bet for those reading this blog.

But that seems not to be politically correct to say in Madison these days.

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