In order to solve a problem, you must first unpack it. What is really going on? What are the causes, as opposed to the signs and symptoms? Too often, perhaps, we leap to conclusions without sufficiently exploring the depths of a problem’s causes. And sometimes there are multiple causes, and we weigh some more heavily than others, which in turn affects how we devise solutions.
This may all seem very vague and abstract until you consider, for example, the homicide rate in Los Angeles County. Which, for a whole variety of reasons (emotional, psychological, financial…), is a huge problem.
In GHETTOSIDE, subtitled A True Story of Murder in America, Jill Leovy presents both a case study of what happened when a Los Angeles detective’s son was killed and an exploration of the myriad challenges for citizens and law enforcers in that environment. One cause of the high murder rate is that citizens believe they cannot trust the legal system to protect them, so they take the law into their own hands.
Leovy does not suggest easy answers. But the questions she raises are profound and worth considering.