The timing couldn't be better for the countrywide recognition of National Crime Victims' Rights Week (April 13-19). The program was established in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan to support victims of violent crimes. Contact your Chamber of Commerce to see how your community is commemorating this event.
Like with most social ills, however, the key to curbing crime is not more government spending and involvement. When will we learn "they" are not the answer? We are!
In today's world, each American must be vigilant against crime. We must have a zero tolerance for our volatility to violence. We must crack down and quit condoning cruel behavior. We also must be willing to reach out to those lost souls who feel marginalized and disenfranchised by the world around them, including those New Jersey students who included me on their hit list. My hope is that, should there be substance to these charges, we will not distance ourselves from these young men, but embrace them and give them the help they need to get on the right path.
Investing in youth is what we have been doing for more than a decade with my KICK START program (www.kick-start.org), which began in Houston by teaching martial arts to 150 at-risk children as part of the physical education curriculum. Since that time, our program, which instills discipline and respect and raises self-esteem, has grown to serve more than 6,000 youngsters year round at 37 schools in Dallas and Houston. To date, KICK START has graduated more than 50,000 students, with many going on to college and becoming successful in their own right.
I conclude by challenging all of us to be like my good friend Darrell Scott after his 17-year-old daughter, Rachel, became the first of 13 people killed at the Columbine High School shooting April 20, 1999, by two fellow students. Instead of sinking into a deep hopeless despair, Darrell formed "Rachel's Challenge," which focuses on helping students recognize their purposes in life. I would encourage you to check out their Web site at www.rachelschallenge.com. Darrell believes as strongly as I do in those great words from Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Darrel wrote a poem that perfectly describes the problems we face and provides the answer for those courageous enough to believe:
"Your laws ignore our deepest needs
Your words are empty air
You've stripped our heritage,
You've outlawed simple prayer
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question, 'Why?'
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed,
And you fail to understand
That God is what we need!"