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stcmike
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October 15, 2020 11:31 am  

@jaldeborgh

I used to live in San Francisco in the late 80s, in the North Beach section of town. I worked on Sacremento street across from the Embarcadero Center. Even at that time the homeless people were very aggressive. At that time no on would venture South of Market (SOMA) or in the Tenderloin. Even at that time SF was barely affordable for an average person and now because of the in flux of people working in the high tech industry its definitely unaffordable for an average middle class family. I know there has been a recent trend of some people moving out of many cities but I personally think this trend won't last, but who knows only time will tell. I will say there is a certain vibe when you work in major cities like SF, NYC, DC etc that just can't be replicated from working at home or suburban office parks. I was fortunate that during my working career I was able to spend a considerable amount of time working in large cities. I've seen the bad and good. I predict just as SF rebounded after the earthquake, nyc rebounded after 9/11, DC rebounded after the terrible crime wave it experience and even Cleveland rebounded after being Cleveland. People will return to the urban centers.  My hope is that the Virgin Islands also rebounds from its temporary crisis.


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stjohnjulie
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October 16, 2020 4:22 am  

I’ve always felt that curbing crime begins in early education.  There is a lot of focus placed on test scores for the basic classes, math, language arts, science, and social studies and almost no focus on social and emotional wellbeing.  And as kids get older they need to learn about financial health and vocational studies tailored to our industries or for the industries we aspire to have.   We are turning out kids who have no idea how to get a job that they can work their way up in and have no idea what conflict resolution is.   Our curriculum simply sets kids up to fail unless they are college bound and they fail there too. I think our BOE and DOE need to take a serious look at their methods and make serious changes.  


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speee1dy
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October 16, 2020 8:32 am  
Posted by: @stcmike

This is not to meant to be another post bout how bad crime is in the USVI, or how the figures can be misleading because it is heavily concentrated around housing projects (as if the location should give a person a sense of security). The bottom line is we all know crime in the VI is out of hand and there doesn't seem to be anything the average citizen can do except live in gated communities, get large dogs, don't leave your residence after 5pm and get a gun. In other words we are living like prisoners in paradise. I think its time the police force start an aggressive stop and frisk program. I realize this policy is controversial in particular in the states where racial harassment has occurred from how the police used the program, but that shouldn't be a problem here. 

What are your thoughts?  

 

i dont think the average person has to worry about crime. the majority of murders dont happen to non gang members.  every now and then you get one that isnt gang related. lots of petty crimes though. but nothing to keep you hidden away at home with your gun aimed at the door. 


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jaldeborgh
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October 16, 2020 2:52 pm  
Posted by: @stjohnjulie

I think our BOE and DOE need to take a serious look at their methods and make serious changes.

I agree strongly with your comments/observations, our education system needs to better prepare our young people for the real world and todays job market.  Without this the cycle of poverty will never end.  It's a hard and highly competitive world out there and we do our young people a disservice if we do not prepare them to both adapt quickly and survive in a competitive environment.  The notion that everyone is somehow a victim, while maybe an interesting academic exercise, it does nothing to prepare anyone to be a self-reliant and contributing member of the community.  There is a place for activism in our society but it's not in the classroom, where there is too little time already to prepare our young people for the real world.


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rewired
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October 16, 2020 7:09 pm  
Posted by: @stjohnjulie

I’ve always felt that curbing crime begins in early education.  There is a lot of focus placed on test scores for the basic classes, math, language arts, science, and social studies and almost no focus on social and emotional wellbeing.  And as kids get older they need to learn about financial health and vocational studies tailored to our industries or for the industries we aspire to have.   We are turning out kids who have no idea how to get a job that they can work their way up in and have no idea what conflict resolution is.   Our curriculum simply sets kids up to fail unless they are college bound and they fail there too. I think our BOE and DOE need to take a serious look at their methods and make serious changes.  

@stjohnjulie

@jaldeborgh

I agree with what both of you have said, but one major challenge is that change would take nearly a generation to show a noticeable effect... after DOE and BOE come up with an appropriate approach.

I know it might not happen, but I'd like to see the government actively encourage more small business/industry and support apprenticeship opportunities and programs. This could potentially help have an impact on teens and young adults while  BOE and DOE 'step up' to their responsibilities.

Young people need to see that they can succeed if they are willing to work hard and the opportunities for them to learn trades and skills that don't necessarily require a college degree need to be developed.

 

 


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stjohnjulie
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October 17, 2020 3:41 am  

I do realize that a change in our curriculum is the ‘long game’ approach.  But since I have seen this cycle go on for decades I still believe it is the biggest and fastest change we can make.  My oldest son is 19.  And my husband is from one of the oldest families here so I see a lot of youths around my house.  It’s sucks to see how Ill prepared they are to ‘adult’.  And breaks my heart to see any of them heading down that dangerous path of crime.   My younger son is in 5th grade and has always been in public school.   We have some fantastic teachers but we also have some terrible ones.  And he has 30 kids in his class which was taught by an unlicensed Ill prepared paraprofessional last year.  These are the sort of things that set them up to fail.  Big changes start with our youth. 


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rewired
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October 17, 2020 9:05 am  

@stjohnjulie

I agree that the long game's the way to achieve societal change (and pray that the changes are those you described instead of what's going on in the states).

My suggestion was more to provide opportunities for youth your older son's age and those who will follow him out of our schools.

Are there any short or intermediate term things you can think of that would help?

I'd hate to see another generation of youth left to their own devices if there are things we can do as a community...


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STTsailor
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October 17, 2020 10:46 am  

Delving deep into social reasons of crime in VI we have plenty of young males growing up fatherless and many times motherless too in VI with grandparents tasked in upbringing. The most confusing day on the islands is fathers day as you all know.

The lack of role model when growing up leads to social misplacement and also lack of skills like being handyman, car mechanic, hunting, fishing, relationships with the opposite sex, functioning within The family unit. Most of this skills are picked up by mimicking fathers. 

When Congo or Sudan needed devoted soldiers it took young boys after killing off their family. They grew up militarized to be the most devoted, fearless and bloody deciples of some most filthy regimes. Gang recruitment and training is based on same principles by giving a comfort of belonging to often confused young males. Also, crime, get rich quick, violence, abuse of females is glorified in rap culture and even some liberal mainstream media. 

School is not a substitute for a family unit. It can fill to some extent but the real core of values is formed early in life before primary school age. 

So in a long version one has to start social change that will produce the results in 30 to 40 years. 


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Gator's Mom
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October 17, 2020 12:33 pm  

Correlation should not not imply causation when looking at the quality of K-12 schooling and crime.

 


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stjohnjulie
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October 17, 2020 5:16 pm  

My older son is what I would call (and pretty much everyone would call) privileged. But he also knows that as a young adult he has to work if he wants money to do things he wants to do.  He has a mom and a dad that are in his life.  Who are both self accomplished.  And a whole community of people that look out for him.  Sadly.  A lot of that just isn’t the case for  lot of the young men here.  And I still hold strong that I’d we don’t teach them from young then we have a big chance of losing them to the wrong things.  A lot of these kids never graduate.   Or come close.   There are some excellent groups like My Brothers Workshop that are making a difference.  But they can’t reach the kids that have been lost in the system for far too long.  Our education system is turning out kids who think they are crap because they don’t have the test scores.  Electricians don’t need to know social studies.   The kind of math you need to know to be a plumber or a carpenter or a welder is different than what they test for in 4th grade.   We need to be progressive.  

for the young men that are young men now , change will be hard.  One thing that I think would be great is to see some organized sports.   With leaders as coaches.  Being a part of a team is not only rewarding it also teaches what it takes to make it.   I think there are so many youths who don’t realize that being on the team of a great leader is as equally satisfying as being a leader.  


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jaldeborgh
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October 17, 2020 10:30 pm  
Posted by: @rewired

I'd like to see the government actively encourage more small business/industry and support apprenticeship opportunities and programs.

This is a wonderful idea.  Getting our young people into the real world, part time, in a role where they receive some mentoring would only have upside in anyone who was confused about their own future.

As I move into retirement in a few months I’ll be actively looking for how to get actively involved in the community.  If anyone has suggestions on programs where I might be able to mentor young people I’d appreciate the ideas/suggestions.  My biggest constraint is I’ll only be on the island about 6 months a year, December to May +/-.


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jaldeborgh
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October 17, 2020 11:02 pm  
Posted by: @stjohnjulie

Our education system is turning out kids who think they are crap because they don’t have the test scores.

This is so true and harmful.  I’m a late bloomer, I was a horrible high school student with disastrous test scores, caused me to work for a year between high school and college, I was something of a mess.  I was then only accepted into college on what was termed a “conditional acceptance program”, which involved taking 2 courses during a summer term and getting a minimum C, to be allowed to start in September as a regular student.  While I gained regular admittance I was only a mediocre college student, but did complete my BSBA, with a double major, in 25 months, largely because I both hated school but was willing to go year round and work my tail-off taking overload courses.  I also saw I was trending in the right direction.  I then worked for three years before before returning to school to get an MBA, which I completed with honors in 12 months and had the wonderful experience participating in an international internship program.  The biggest lesson I took from my academic life was that hard work and a willingness to take risks will, in the long run, allow you to reach your goals.  My takeaway is simply that judging any young person by their test scores at age 17 or 18 is potentially a big mistake.  You have to look deep inside the person and find their potential, find their inner flame and fan the heck out of it.  In my life I’ve always sought out and found mentors who have help me make sense of life and given me direction, that combined with hard work and focus have served me well.  I truly believe there is good in all of us.

This post was modified 6 days ago 3 times by jaldeborgh

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rewired
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October 18, 2020 12:44 am  
Posted by: @jaldeborgh

You have to look deep inside the person and find their potential, find their inner flame and fan the heck out of it.  In my life I’ve always sought out and found mentors who have help me make sense of life and given me direction, that combined with hard work and focus have served me well.  I truly believe there is good in all of us.

Although our paths were different, mine was no less circuitous and this has been my experience as well. I did everything from washing dishes and digging ditches to construction and rebuilding equipment before I tripped into a winding career path.

I spent much of my adult life working in law enforcement, community corrections and the Courts. The last half of my career was spent working on improving community corrections outcomes and access to the Courts through research and technology.

I was lucky to find mentors who helped me when I needed it and did my best to 'pay it forward' by mentoring others as I got older. I'm 'rewired' now (instead of retired) and would be happy to continue paying it forward here. 

God knows that without mentors, coaches and the occasional divine intervention in my life, there were plenty of times I could have wound up on the 'other side' of the law enforcement and community corrections career when I was younger...


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stjohnjulie
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October 18, 2020 5:25 am  

I think it’s great you both want to mentor.  We need more people who have the desire and tone to do so.   My Brother's Workshop can probably point you in the right direction of not match you to some young people.  You don’t need to be here full time to do it either.  I also think reaching out to the public elementary, middle, and high schools would be awesome.  Getting an ‘in’ with one of the teachers will lead you to the kids who could use it the most more quickly.  Some schools are more receptive to this kind of help than others.  But just be persistent and don’t give up if you get a cold reception.   


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stcmike
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October 18, 2020 11:36 am  

I think most people would agree that a stable home life, better education system a more vibrant economy that would give both young and not so young people a chance to enter and enjoy a nice middle class lifestyle. But unfortunately all these suggestions would take years to implement and the fact is we have a problem here and now. We no longer can wait for these valid ideals to take hold. I go back to my original suggestion to help stop violent crime. Stop and Frisk. You could start this today. I wonder how many guns would be taken off the street if you just started stop and frisk. Try it for 3 months to see the impact, both positive and negative. What is the downside of doing a 3 month pilot test on the effectiveness of such a program. How many lives would be saved by getting some of these guns off the street?

I also reject the idea of Father's Day being the most confusing day of the year. I first heard that joke 40 years ago when someone was applying it to Harlem. I thought it was a racist joke then and I think its a racist joke when applying it to the VI.  Do you know anyone who doesn't know who their father is?

 


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stjohnjulie
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October 18, 2020 12:48 pm  

How about a healthy guy buy back?   I know the suggestions I made take years.  But since I haven’t seen any real improvement in the two decades I’ve been here I would like to think the suggestions I made are jell of a lot better than continuing to do nothing.  I try to be a safe place for these youths to come.  They come to my home.  I hug them.  I feed them.  I talk to them when they have problems.  I tell them when they are being stupid encourage them when they are doing well.   And it’s not enough.  Most of them did poorly in school for various reasons.  A lot of them have learning disabilities.   It’s hearbreaking to watch.  The one murder victim on St John was this year was family, a neighbor, and someone who was frequently at my home.  He was no angel.   But I was really hoping that he was going to turn himself around and not end up shot to death as a young man.  


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rewired
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October 18, 2020 6:19 pm  

@stjohnjulie

I think a gun buy back would be worth a try - it might get a few of the illegal guns out of circulation (any is a step in the right direction).

What do you think it would take to get the idea to the politicians running for office? Even though it might not make a big dent in the illegal guns on the street, it WOULD give any politicians that get behind it a chance to show they're DOING something about the guns instead of just talking about it...


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rewired
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October 18, 2020 8:34 pm  

Looking a little more closely at the research, the effectiveness of gun buyback programs is questionable at best...

This article from early this year summarizes some of the other research in the area on effectiveness.

https://journalistsresource.org/studies/gun-violence/gun-buybacks-what-the-research-says/#:~:text=Recent%20research%20frames%20gun%20buybacks,effort%20to%20reduce%20gun%20violence.


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STTsailor
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October 19, 2020 4:31 am  

Men Armed With Handguns Enter Emerald Beach Resort Attempting to Gain Entry to Guest Room

this is no longer gang on gang crime. If armed perpetrators start hitting hotels despite of security and electronic monitoring we have a larger problem on our hands. I recall another nearby hotel was involved in a gunfight about a year ago.  


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CruzanIron
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October 19, 2020 8:35 am  
Posted by: @STTsailor

Men Armed With Handguns Enter Emerald Beach Resort Attempting to Gain Entry to Guest Room

 

this is no longer gang on gang crime. If armed perpetrators start hitting hotels despite of security and electronic monitoring we have a larger problem on our hands. I recall another nearby hotel was involved in a gunfight about a year ago.  

Who in the hotel were they after? It sounded targeted to me, not random. I don' t think there is enough information (as usual) to say it was not gang or similarly related. 


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janeinstx
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STTsailor
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Gator's Mom
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October 19, 2020 9:23 am  

There's trouble on the streets tonight
I can feel it in my bones, I had a premonition
That he should not go alone

I knew the gun was loaded
But I didn't think he'd kill
Everything exploded, and the blood began to spill

So baby, here's your ticket
Put the suitcase in your hand, here's a little money now
Do it just the way we planned
You be cool for twenty hours, and I'll pay you twenty grand

I'm sorry it went down like this
And someone had to lose, it's the nature of the business
It's the smuggler's blues, smuggler's blues

The sailors and pilots, the soldiers and the law
The pay-offs and the rip-offs and the things nobody saw
No matter if it's heroin, cocaine, or hash
You've got to carry weapons, 'cause you always carry cash

There's lots of shady characters, lots of dirty deals
Ev'ry name's an alias, in case somebody squeals
It's the lure of easy money, it's got a very strong appeal

Perhaps you'd understand it better
Standin' in my shoes, it's the ultimate enticement
It's the smuggler's blues, smuggler's blues

You see it in the headlines, you hear it ev'ry day
They say they're gonna stop it but it doesn't go away
They move it through Miami, sell it in L.A.
They hide it up in Telluride, I mean it's here to stay

You ask any D.E.A. man, he'll say there's nothin' we can do
From the office of the President
Right down to me and you, me and you

It's a losing proposition but one you can't refuse
It's the politics of contraband
It's the smuggler's blues, smuggler's blues

Glenn Frye - Smuggler's Blues

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STTsailor
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October 19, 2020 1:32 pm  

Haha. 
Nice try bringing back this 1980s vanilla bad boy vid. Things have escalated a notch or two since then.


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Gator's Mom
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October 19, 2020 3:07 pm  
Posted by: @STTsailor

Haha. 
Nice try bringing back this 1980s vanilla bad boy vid. Things have escalated a notch or two since then.

Sad but true. But I forgot what a poet Glenn Frey was. You just can't say it any better than this.

It's the lure of easy money, it's got a very strong appeal.

You would think that after throwing B B B B Billions of dollars at the war on trafficking - drugs, guns, money, people and the like - we might have some conclusion that doesn't include dead kids.

But remove the 1980s imagery and here we still are at least in the Caribbean - only bigger, badder and without Don Johnson's cool.

And for God's sake, it's not a teacher's fault VI kids aspire to be criminals. 

This post was modified 4 days ago 2 times by Gator's Mom

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