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Jonesboro: An American Example?

Jonesboro, Arkansas, the home of John Grisham, is a growing college town of about 70,000 people in Northeast Arkansas, about an hour’s drive north from Memphis.  Jonesboro boasts of its “Southern lifestyle” which is reflected in its old-fashioned conservative ideals (Craighead County doesn’t sell alcohol, for example).  Within a few weeks of moving to Jonesboro, I was informed of an area of the city which had a ‘martial law’ type of law enforcement.  That weekend I drove over to the Cedar Heights area to check it out for myself.   As I turned on Hope Avenue, I immediately noticed 24 identical white signs lining each side of the street, no more than 15 yards apart.

Each one says…

“This property is declared a public nuisance.  The Circuit Court of Craighead County has custody of this property and all persons upon the property are subject to search by Jonesboro Police Department:  Convicted felons are banned from this property.”

Translation:  You have virtually no rights in this area and if you’re a convicted felon (who has served their punishment) you will be put in jail for simply driving through here.  It also bars convicted felons from living on the street.  I came home and did a quick Google search, which turned up only this short news release, deeming it as Jonesboro “cleaning up crime.”  It’s obvious from simply glancing around that the street has a high minority rate, most of which are African Americans, which is not a good thing considering the predominately white police force has a history of racism, as well as a new Chief of Police who seems to be running from racist troubles himself.

After a little research on nuisance abatement (I know nothing about law), it almost seemed like a loophole created for itself.  From what I understand it is a way of regulating property for things like sanitary issues (among others); while the seizing of other types of powers seemed to stem from the assumption  of a “policial license” that has become rampant these days.  It seems our own Bill of Rights was abated while we were watching football.

The news article claims crime has dwindled on the street.  Excuse me, but no shit.  This is just another example of our current leaders using their “deal with problems head on” approach to problem solving as opposed to the “finding good solutions others have found” technique that involves a slightly higher amount of scholarly study, and a significantly less amount of pointless pandering.

Perhaps what I find most disheartening  is how it falls in line with every other permanent fugue in society these days.  Political correctness has given way to misdeeds being uncovered like the Wizard of Oz, while the guardians and protectors of these elite few say to us commoners:  “Yes, that is in fact what it looks like.  Now, please move along, as the important people are doing important things.  Sorry, the Wizard promised me steak if I made you leave.”

I also find it frightening, as Todd Purdum recently put it…

Increasingly there exist two societies in America:  a military class, strongly religious, politically conservative, drawn disproportionately from the South and from smaller towns and areas of limited economic opportunity, including the inner cities; and an untouched civilian class consisting of everyone else, who wouldn’t know a regiment from a firmament or an M 16 from a 7-11.

The former society is alive and well in the area, while people of the latter society seem to be few and far between.  In the end, the means are consistent with the end, as this facet of Southern life (aka tradition) will most assuredly be around for quite some time.  It is a self-perpetuating problem that is infested to the core, with children being the moistest wood.  These easily influenced little ones accept those same ideals and then compete for ribbons in Mr. Purdum’s ‘military class’, without a question, without even the faintest idea of their own vileness.

It is safe to say that Jonesboro prides itself on being a safe, family-oriented community; which it is.  It’s a beautiful place with plenty of truly great people and things to do, but it would be a true community if it were a place of all colors.  It could be an example.  It has a quality university, ample access to state parks, and lies close to several other major cities; but it continues to willingly be filed under the “stereotypical” Southern town heading, which is all that outsiders will ever see.  A constant facade disguised in its own self-elevated reputation which is decidedly hell-bent on preserving the status quo.  Now that’s representative of America, right?


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