STRAY BULLETS is fronted by Jon Cauztik of HAVE NOTS fame and if you’re familiar with either band you’ll know his lyrics are often politically charged and his songs as thought provoking as they are catchy. Below is a personal note from Mr. Cauztik about the message and inspiration behind “Peace Signs” below.
“Summertime in the city…bike rides, backyard barbecues, drinking beers on the stoop…and street violence practically doubles. Academic theorists have posited a variety of reasons for the spike in crime, from the fact that there are more outdoor social gatherings in the summer months to the idea that most of those perpetrating these acts aren’t in school during this time and have no other way to occupy themselves besides blowing each other to pieces. Governmental efforts have historically been nothing more than an increased police presence in “problem areas”, but this is akin to trying to cure AIDS with a bandaid (or, as we’ve been seeing through the increased use of military hardware and tactics by local police as of late, maybe trying to cure AIDS with cancer would be a more fitting description).
So, what’s the solution? Strong arm measures, while sometimes serving to get the numbers down, don’t address the root of the problem. Maybe prevention, rather than suppression, should be examined as an alternative. Maybe the neighborhood pride, bravado, and need to belong that lead kids to turn towards ultimately destructive things like street gangs, and subsequently street violence, could be expressed and utilized in a more constructive way. “All the kids want something to do”, as the old song goes, so let’s give it to them. Let’s empower the youth instead of sweeping them under the rug. Let’s tell our local politicians to put that increased police budget towards accessible summer programs. Let’s organize and mobilize BEFORE another kid gets shot, instead of having to hold a vigil afterwards.
Here in Boston, some of the more notable groups that are trying to promote a positive change are the Center For Teen Empowerment in Dorchester and Roxbury (www.teenempowerment.org), the Hyde Square Task Force in Jamaica Plain (www.hydesquare.org), and Zumix in East Boston (www.zumix.org) and they all need support to continue their work. A quick web search will give you a list of similar organizations in your area. You want your city back? Take it, but with a megaphone instead of a MAC-10, and a paintbrush instead of a pistol.
Be the change you want to see. Namaste, motherfuckers.”