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We must all face the problems of our state

I found the column written by David Magee in Sunday’s Oxford Eagle interesting, timely and relevant.  We should be “connected,” whether we live in Jackson, Oxford, Biloxi, Corinth or Shuqualak! However, the major irony is that many Mississippians and Americans do not believe or understand we are connected.  So, too frequently, we refuse the see the “other” as part of the universal family. We are separated by “tribes,” bound together only by location.

Comparing the gun violence in Jackson to the “Old Wild West” is a good analogy, except this is the 21th century.   Magee mentioned, and he is right, much of the gun violence in Jackson is related to drugs or gangs fighting over territory (quoting from Lee Vance), or some minor slight having to do with honor and respect. The underground economy grows when people are denied participation in the legal economy.

In the Old Wild West, European Americans against other European Americans, and frequently against Native Americans committed the violence and African Americans, mostly over territory, some slight or lack of respect.

The difference is that a majority of Americans did not see these Wild West people as the “other” and move aggressively to solve the problem and embrace them as “legitimate” Americans, with the same rights and privileges as the other Americans, including the eastern elites.

Through education, jobs, equality of opportunity, free land, entrepreneurship and training, they were eventfully embraced as the American middle class.

To be oblivious to the problems (class, race ) in Jackson, as so many in the rest of the state are, is not a viable option for any of us. The solution to this major issue is not necessarily more police, prisons, military style occupation, guns, feel good, short term solutions, but a sincere and profound recognition that we are one family, and when one part of our state or nation is in pain, the rest of us should look for fundamental and lasting cures, less we all become ill!

We have examples from the “Wild West.”

Roy DeBerry Jr.

Oxford