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Posted at 6:03 PM ET, 03/10/2010

War abroad and violence at home

By editors

By Eve Tetaz

I am a retired 79-year-old teacher who was released from D.C. jail on Feb. 16, after serving a 25-day sentence for nonviolently protesting U.S. involvement in the war in Afghanistan [“At 78, war protester is hardly retiring,” Metro, Jan. 26]. The stories I heard while incarcerated confirm my belief that when society fails to address the needs of the poor and underserved in our city, many of them respond by engaging in criminal acts. I’m in no way excusing their lawlessness, but I am convinced that adequate education, decent jobs and support systems that help them to realize their inestimable value as members of the human family would better serve us to counteract our alarming incarceration and recidivism rates.

In funding illegal and immoral wars, the United States is fostering a form of terrorism that incites rather than quells violence. We see the returning soldier broken in body and spirit, view photos of the innocent victims of a drone bombing and are made aware of the destruction of the enemy’s infrastructure. At the same time, we ask that no American child be left behind, but who is going to nurture the orphans and the children of soldiers who have been traumatized by war? And should we not be concerned that violence exists in the streets of Washington, where children are killing other children? In the light of these crimes against the entire human family, I am left with this question: Who can claim victory?

For these reasons, I will continue to speak truth to power even at the risk of jail.

By editors  | March 10, 2010; 6:03 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, crime  
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Keep up your fight Eve...lots of Americans also believe our out of control spending on the military, weapons of destruction, foreign wars and empire is immoral.
We have too many needs at home.

Posted by: Civilius | March 10, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Tetaz,

Why would anyone care about what a loony jailbird like you thinks?

For the vast majority of poor, uneducated people the world over manage to refrain from violent criminal activity. So the problem isn't poverty or lack of education, but rather the family and moral breakdowns within certain American minority cultures that have been spurred by the rise of the welfare state. Thus boosting welfare further is not the answer.

Posted by: mckdarrenDC | March 11, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

You wouldn't know the truth if it bit you on the ass.

Posted by: fcs25 | March 11, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"For the vast majority of poor, uneducated people the world over manage to refrain from violent criminal activity"

That's simply not true. Check any low income neighborhood, ghetto, or whatever else you want to call it, across the globe and you will find increased rates of violent crime. The idea that poor people (or poor people of a certain race) in the U.S are inherently of a lesser moral posture than other poor people around the word is ludicrous and bigoted.

No one is advocating a welfare state, but our money certainly would have been better spent investing in our schools, infrastructure, medicine and science rather than trying to avenge Saddam's assassination attempt on George Bush's daddy.

And even if you drank the Kool-Aid and believe the whole "liberating the Iraqi People" argument, last time I checked Iraqi's didn't pay U.S. taxes, so why should their needs get priority over those of our own citizens.

Posted by: BurtReynolds1 | March 11, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Do you understand the meaning of the word "majority," BurtReynolds1? It means greater than 50 percent. Thus my previous statement, "the vast majority of poor, uneducated people the world over manage to refrain from violent criminal activity," is absolutely true.

Sure, poor neighborhoods are more violent and crime ridden than wealthy ones. But the violence and crime in those 'hoods is perpetrated by a relatively small minority of fatherless thugs within those 'hoods. That is an unassailable statistical fact, and to argue otherwise is to identify yourself as an ignoramus. (And that's before anyone even considers your simplistic isolationist thinking on foreign policy.)

We've spendt trillions on poor folks in the U.S. since LBJ's Great Society and War on Poverty. But out-of-wedlock birthrates among blacks and Latinos -- the root of all their dysfunction -- is higher than ever.

So let's stop coddling this don't-snitch-hip-hop ghetto filth once and for all. Either these woefully shiftless dopes assimilate and take advantage of the myriad opportunties this great country already affords them, or they ought to locked up until they can no longer breed. Personally I'd prefer summary executions, but I'm willing to compromise a little on this point.

Posted by: mckdarrenDC | March 12, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Eve: Maintain your persistent voice for peace and social justice. Being "led" by a violent, militaristic government most definately will reflect on the the most vulnerable sectors of society. This is not blaming the poor, but placing the the blame where it belongs; on those who continue to protect the very rich and "oppress widows and orphans." Thank you.

Posted by: stardav | March 13, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Regarding your noble concern for violent crime,you'll be delighted to hear it has been in decline for over a decade

However, our incarceration rates have been steadily climbing. You can thank your friends Nixon and Reagan and their "ware on drugs" for that one. We've spent how many billions of dollars on it and achieved what exactly?

And what do you suggest we do with these "fatherless" children (last time I checked, none of them signed up to be fatherless). Do we spend money to incarcerate them and perpetuate their burden on society, or can we educate and nurture them in the hopes of making them assets to our society.

One way or another we're gonna spend money on poor people, get over it. I agree with you, welfare does nothing to foster upward mobility of individuals, it's simply a tax rich people pay to keep poor people out of their hair (I'd rather pay the tax than have to carry a gun on a date in DC). The question is, HOW do we spend the money on them. Clearly the current method of just locking them up isn't working economically (except for the prison industry) or socially. It maybe a CRAZY idea, but I think the money may be better spent in schools, infrastructure, medicine etc.. than in jails.

But I guess that would require a less fascist mentality than you are willing to afford.

Posted by: BurtReynolds1 | March 15, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

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