So, I think we’re all agreed that Chattanooga is sort of overrun with people who misuse guns. We are overrun with gang violence. We’re overrun with educational issues, not enough funds for educations in the arts, etc. Everybody has some sort of “action” plan, but I’m not really sure how much real action there is behind any of these.
I’m a big fan of New Orleans as a city. They have a similar problem, though. Anybody who’s been there or keeps up with things there knows that there are two huge things in New Orleans, music and crime. When this came across twitter today, I thought it was a great plan for them. They have a huge musical heritage and a huge musical community. “Too bad it wouldn’t work here.” was my next thought. It was immediately followed by, “But why shouldn’t it?”
A friend of mine said that he was repairing and buying instruments on his own for a while, but that he had no community support, so he stopped. That makes me a little sick and extraordinarily sad. Chattanooga has just started a large arts event and puts artwork on all the corners downtown to show how “artsy” and progressive we are as a city. We take pride in our art museum and our symphony. We have murals and sculpture gardens, we have a community theatre. You know what else we have? We have nine shootings in thirteen days, and that was the total from a few days ago. I haven’t even seen the news to see if we’ve had more.
If we are willing to support the arts, and willing to plaster our streets with outside artists work, then we should be willing to support a local art scene that could possibly help save lives. We should be able to realize that more police presence only goes so far. It’s not enough to stand by and say, “Well…what are you going to do?” This is your city. This is your community. I’d be willing to do a lot of work for a program like this, but I certainly have no money, I don’t know instruments, I can’t teach anybody to play (except some very beginner piano lessons and some very beginner voice lessons). I can’t supply a place. I can supply organizational skills, I can supply enthusiasm, I can supply moral support…other people have other skills and resources. Am I being ridiculously naive and exceedingly hopeful? Yep, but sometimes that’s what you need for progress.