Why Leadings?

Not to lead, but to be led            -- by the Holy Spirit.

See Leader, Servant, or Slave? in the section below, "Walking the Walk".

Jack in Denali National Park, 2012.

God's Wrath

Why was Sodom destroyed? Ezekiel tells us in chapter 16, verse 49: "This was the sin of your sister, Sodom: Pride, full-ness of bread, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

That's also why Jerusalem was destroyed.

And now, with greed as our national virtue, what hope is there for the United States of America? We are afflicted by imperialistic pride, obesity, and entertainment addiction, and we are all called to do our part to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

"Strengthen the hand" is the King James wording. Modern translations say "help the poor and needy." And there's a world of difference between the two. Helping the poor = as little as throwing some cash in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. That's charity. It's doing for, not doing with.

My Grandmother was right about charity. On a below-zero day, she went out on the back porch with a skillet to throw hot grease on the back-yard snow. She shivered as she re-entered the kitchen and said, "Wooooh, colder than charity."

Strengthening the hand is much different. We get personally involved with another person who needs help, and we work with her or him to get the needed help. That's risky. You're vulnerable. It takes prayer, time and patience. You need knowledge and wisdom from the LORD. There are great rewards, however. You get a brother or sister.

Strengthening the hand is great work for our churches -- which we ignore far more often than we perform. Why? Because we're afflicted with the Ameri-can curse of individualism. Christians are to be a tribe -- a tribe that takes care of each other. In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls us "the Israel of God" -- the new 13th tribe.

Jesus said, "The poor you shall always have with you." He didn't mean that as a curse -- the notion that the poor are an inevi-table nuisance and expense, to be hidden in the slums. Rather, He was saying, "You shall always be among the poor."

When you strengthen hands, you fulfill Deuteronomy 15:4-5: "However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God . . ." It's a glorious responsibility and promise.

And how do prosperous Americans fulfill that promise? Generally, by making sure they have no contact with people who are poor -- and we have been that way from our beginnings in the 17th century. Early villages in Massachusetts solved the problem by out-lawing poor people. Today, we deal with the same problem by confining the poor in urban reservations, our slums.

As the Supreme Court Bailiff says at the beginning of each session, "God save the United States of America..." 

Tuesday
Oct072014

QUALITY POLICING FOR FERGUSON

In the confrontations at Ferguson, Missouri, I haven't seen a proposal for a sensible long-term solution to the problem of the relations between the community and the police. What is the sensible solution? The community needs and deserves a well-trained police force that is of, by, and for the community. How is that possible?

Missouri is being regularly condemned in the national media, so Governor Jay Nixon and his administration, along with the Ferguson city officials, are motivated to achieve positive results. The City of Ferguson should recruit representative community residents to restaff the community police force. Ferguson is 67% African-American, 30% European-American, and 3% other. Women are 55% of the residents. The Ferguson police force should be developed to reflect that diversity, and they could receive the best training available—from the Missouri State Highway Patrol Law Enforcement Academy in Jefferson City.

From experience, I know the response from the governor, the State Highway Patrol superintendent, the Ferguson mayor and police chief, "You don't understand. African-Americans from Ferguson who have the education, drive, and maturity to qualify for the Missouri Police Academy either have good careers already, or they have left Ferguson. Your solution is idealistic, but it's not possible."

It is both possible and practical, and I can demonstrate it with two examples I have experienced personally.

In 1968, I was manager of Equal Employment Opportunity Programs at the General Electric Jet Engine plant in Evendale, Ohio, a northern suburb of Cincinnati. We had over 15,000 employees. At that time our major customer was the United States Air Force. Lyndon Johnson was president, and the Federal Government was playing hardball on affirmative action. At the

Evendale GE plant, our EEO enforcement agency was the Air Force, which had a lot of leverage. If we were not in compliance, the Air Force could delay payments.

In many areas our performance in hiring and promotions of African-Americans exceeded Government guidelines. However, in two critical areas, our employees were all European-Americans: Machining and drafting.

With jet engines, many tolerances are plus or minus a ten-thousandth of an inch. Peoples' lives depend on jet engines working perfectly, and the planes are multi-million dollar machines. At the jet engine plant, extremely skilled people are required for drafting and machining.

Here was the context in which we worked in 1968:

+ Across I-75 from the plant was Lincoln Heights—the Nation's second largest African-American municipality.

+ The Air Force directed us to hire African-American machinists and drafters. Their regional labor pool was small and mostly unavailable.

+ In 1968, at the height of the Great Society, an African-American high school student anywhere in the Nation with an A or A/B average could have his or her pick of universities, often with full scholarship, so those students were also unavailable.

+ At GE-Evendale, we had excellent apprentice programs for machinists and drafters, but in the Greater Cincinnati area of one-and-a-half million, we lacked a well-educated pool of African-American youth from whom we could recruit.

What was our solution? We developed them. We had to. We recruited bright high school underachievers. We tested them to be sure of their aptitudes, and we set up a paid summer pre-apprentice program which gave them hope and motivated them to succeed.

The pre-apprentices were divided in two groups. One group did math in the mornings and drafting in the afternoon. The other group had the reverse schedule. In September, the pre-apprentices were ready, and they began their regular apprentice education with calculus at the Ohio College of Applied Science.

We got the job done at General Electric in Evendale, Ohio. Missouri and Ferguson can do the same by setting up a program to give selected Ferguson residents the best police training that Missouri can offer. What would happen with the present Ferguson Police Force? Some would be retained—the most effective European-American and African-American members. Police jobs for others could be found in the Greater St. Louis area.

What kind of benefits can result? Resident policing makes a difference. Here's an example: In 1967, I moved into Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati's number-one poverty community. On the Fourth of July evening, I walked across the street with ten-year Michael McCoy, an African-American friend. Conversing in front of my apartment were three people—Danny, also ten, and his mother. They were Appalachian. With them was an African-American man in his '50s.

As we approached, William pulled a lighter and a firecracker out of his pocket. He lit the firecracker and threw it at Danny's feet. As it exploded, Danny jumped and yelled, "Michael, you damned fool, he's a detective."

Immediately I wondered how the detective would react. Would he arrest Michael and put him in Juvenile Detention? Would he ignore the firecracker? He did neither.

Instead, he held out his hand. "Michael, give me the rest of them." Michael pulled eight fire­crackers out of his pocket. As the detective took the eight, he said, "Pull out your pockets."

Michael did. He had none left. The detective said, "You paid a nickel apiece for them. That's a forty cent fine. And now Michael, do you know it's against the law in Ohio to have firecrackers."

"Yessir," said Michael.

"Alright, this time you get off with a forty cent fine. But if I catch you with them again, I'll run you in. . . .Do you know why firecrackers are against the law?"

"Nosir," said Michael, who understood the rules of the game.

"Supposing that firecracker had a piece of grit on it. It could shoot right up in the eye of any of us and blind us. Firecrackers are dangerous. Got it?"

"Yessir."

That was the best police work I ever saw. A white policeman might have done the same, but if he were nervous about being in Over-the-Rhine, he might have overreacted, scuffled with Michael, and then jailed him on misdemeanor charges for disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, and assaulting an officer. I don't make up that scenario. Policemen often did that with Over-the-Rhine residents, both white and black.

And Michael was a good kid. He grew up to be a good man. He became the first African-American first-class licensed TV engineer in the state of South Carolina.

To Ferguson and Missouri: "Go and do thou likewise."

Reply: We can't do that. Other communities could riot to get State Highway Patrol training.

Before long, however, that shouldn’t be necessary. For training, send them to Ferguson.

____________

Purpose of this blog is to compile several books for my grandchildren to read in 25 years.

Copyright  ©  2014 by Jack Towe

____________

I welcome your reactions.  Please click below on "Post a Comment."

Tuesday
Oct072014

QUALITY POLICING FOR FERGUSON

In the confrontations at Ferguson, Missouri, I haven't seen a proposal for a sensible long-term solution to the problem of the relations between the community and the police. What is the sensible solution?  The community needs and deserves a well-trained police force that is of, by, and for the community. How is that possible?

Missouri is being regularly condemned in the national media, so Governor Jay Nixon and his administration, along with the Ferguson city officials, are motivated to achieve positive results. The City of Ferguson should recruit representative community residents to restaff the community police force. Ferguson is 67% African-American, 30% European-American, and 3% other. Women are 55% of the residents. The Ferguson police force should be developed to reflect that diversity, and they could receive the best training available—from the Missouri State Highway Patrol Law Enforcement Academy in Jefferson City.

From experience, I know the response from the governor, the State Highway Patrol super-intendent, the Ferguson mayor and police chief, "You don't understand. African-Americans from Ferguson who have the education, drive, and maturity to qualify for the Missouri Police Academy either have good careers already, or they have left Ferguson. Your solution is idealistic, but it's not possible."

It is both possible and practical, and I can demonstrate it with two examples I have experienced personally.

In 1968, I was manager of Equal Employment Opportunity Programs at the General Electric Jet Engine plant in Evendale, Ohio, a northern suburb of Cincinnati. We had over 15,000 employees. At that time our major customer was the United States Air Force. Lyndon Johnson was president, and the Federal Government was playing hardball on affirmative action. At the

Evendale GE plant, our EEO enforcement agency was the Air Force, which had a lot of leverage. If we were not in compliance, the Air Force could delay payments.

In many areas our performance in hiring and promotions of African-Americans exceeded Government guidelines. However, in two critical areas, our employees were all European-Americans:  Machining and drafting.

With jet engines, many tolerances are plus or minus a ten-thousandth of an inch. Peoples' lives depend on jet engines working perfectly, and the planes are multi-million dollar machines. At the jet engine plant, extremely skilled people are required for drafting and machining.

Here was the context in which we worked in 1968:

+ Across I-75 from the plant was Lincoln Heights—the Nation's second largest African-American municipality.

+ The Air Force directed us to hire African-American machinists and drafters. Their regional labor pool was small and mostly unavailable.

+ In 1968, at the height of the Great Society, an African-American high school student anywhere in the Nation with an A or A/B average could have his or her pick of universities, often with full scholarship, so those students were also unavailable.

+ At GE-Evendale, we had excellent apprentice programs for machinists and drafters, but in the Greater Cincinnati area of one-and-a-half million, we lacked a well-educated pool of African-American youth from whom we could recruit.

What was our solution? We developed them. We had to. We recruited bright high school underachievers. We tested them to be sure of their aptitudes, and we set up a paid summer pre-apprentice program which gave them hope and motivated them to succeed.

The pre-apprentices were divided in two groups. One group did math in the mornings and drafting in the afternoon. The other group had the reverse schedule. In September, the pre-apprentices were ready, and they began their regular apprentice education with calculus at the Ohio College of Applied Science.

We got the job done at General Electric in Evendale, Ohio. Missouri and Ferguson can do the same by setting up a program to give selected Ferguson residents the best police training that Missouri can offer. What would happen with the present Ferguson Police Force? Some would be retained—the most effective European-American and African-American members. Police jobs for others could be found in the Greater St. Louis area.

What kind of benefits can result? Resident policing makes a difference. Here's an example: In 1967, I moved into Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati's number-one poverty community. On the Fourth of July, I walked across the street with ten-year Michael McCoy, an African-American friend. Conversing in front of my apartment were three people—Danny, also ten, and his mother. They were Appalachian. With them was an African-American man in his '50s.

As we approached, William pulled a lighter and a firecracker out of his pocket. He lit the firecracker and threw it at Danny's feet. As it exploded, Danny jumped and yelled, "Michael, you damned fool, he's a detective."

Immediately I wondered how the detective would react. Would he arrest Michael and put him in Juvenile Detention? Would he ignore the firecracker? He did neither.

Instead, he held out his hand. "Michael, give me the rest of them." Michael pulled eight fire­crackers out of his pocket. As the detective took the eight, he said, "Pull out your pockets."

Michael did. He had none left. The detective said, "You paid a nickel apiece for them. That's a forty cent fine. And now Michael, do you know it's against the law in Ohio to have firecrackers."

"Yessir," said Michael.

"Alright, this time you get off with a forty cent fine. But if I catch you with them again, I'll run you in. . . .Do you know why firecrackers are against the law?"

"Nosir," said Michael, who understood the rules of the game.

"Supposing that firecracker had a piece of grit on it. It could shoot right up in the eye of any of us and blind us. Firecrackers are dangerous. Got it?"

"Yessir."

That was the best police work I ever saw. A white policeman might have done the same, but if he were nervous about being in Over-the-Rhine, he might have overreacted, scuffled with Michael, and then jailed him on misdemeanor charges for disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, and assaulting an officer. I don't make up that scenario. Policemen often did that with Over-the-Rhine residents, both white and black.

And Michael was a good kid. He grew up to be a good man. He became the first African-American first-class licensed TV engineer in the state of South Carolina.

To Ferguson and Missouri: "Go and do thou likewise."

Reply: We can't do that. Other communities could riot to get State Highway Patrol training. Before long, however, that shouldn’t be necessary. For training, send them to Ferguson.