Violence at Home and Abroad

The violent crime rate is up at home and abroad. Locally, Mott Community College and the University of Michigan Flint have suffered an increase in crime. In 2012 there were a total of 16 violent crimes between the two campuses compared with six from 2011. The number of crime reports put Mott Community College up with universities almost three times its size. On the other side of the world, there have been civil wars in the Middle East, genocide in Africa and most recently a war crime of chemical weapon use in Syria.

Violence Abroad:

In the tragedy of the Syrian civil war there are two sides to the story. The death toll of over 100,000 and the count of about 2 million refuges fleeing the nation are undisputed facts. The rest depends on who you ask.

The civil war in Syria began to protest President Bashar al-Assad who has been in power since 2000. In 2012, the scattered anti-government groups in Syria joined together to form the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary forces. The group was formally recognized as the sole governing body for Syria by the United States and other countries.

The Free Syrian army was formed soon after protests began and has been the main armed resistant to Assad. The Free Syrian army is made up mostly of defectors from Assad’s army.
There are numerous Jihhadist groups involved in the Syrian civil war including The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and another group led by Jabhat al-Nursa which has formally tied itself to Al-Queda. These groups have faced resistance from the elite Shiite military group that  has vowed  to ensure that  extremists do not have control of the border near Lebanon.  All rebel groups have been fighting among each other; a sign of weakness in the opposition.

A United Nations backed chemical weapons inspection team confirmed that chemical weapons were used on a large scale after allegations arose on August 21. The weapons used harmed mainly civilians living in suburbs. This use of chemical weapons is illegal under international law.

According the President Barack Obama, the Syrian government used the chemical weapons on the rebels. He has authorized the U.S. to send weapons to the Syrian rebels and has appealed to the American people and the United Nations to support direct military action in Syria.

The Russian President Vladimir V. Putin on the other hand, believes the exact opposite as Obama. In a letter published in the New York Times, Putin insists that Syria is not undergoing a fight for democracy but armed conflict based on religious motivation. Putin states that there is reason to believe that the chemical weapons were in fact used by the rebels as a ploy to gain international assistance. Putin believes the problem would be better solved by peaceful negotiations concerning Syria relinquishing their chemical weapons.

The debate over how to deal with the conflict has taken place at home in Congress and abroad in the United Nations Security Council. In both governing bodies no solution has been reached.

Violence At Home:

According to the FBI, the number of violent crimes rose by 1.2 percent in 2012. Violent crimes are classified as murder, non-negilent manslaughter,  aggravated assault, rape and robbery. This increase in crime across the country can be blamed on some of America’s most dangerous cities where the crime rate increased by more than 1.2 percent.

To most people who live in Michigan, it was not surprising to hear that the top two most dangerous cities in the United States were in our own backyards: Detroit and Flint. The suspected reasoning for the sudden rise in violence is the economic depression both cities have been suffering from.

Before 2010, Detroit had always been in the top three most dangerous cities in the United States, coming in at number three in 2008 and number one in 2009. Around this time, Detroit was dealing with an increase in drug related problems.

Flint did not even make it into the top five in 2008, ranking at number six, and was not even in the top 15 in 2009. Starting in 2010, Flint began making an appearance in the top five most dangerous cities as number four, along with Detroit, which was number three. While the violent crime rates in Flint were slightly higher than that of Detroit, the nature of Detroit’s crimes were what made it more dangerous.

Now, Flint has been number one for three years running, with Detroit at number two. Both cities have had double the crime since 2011 and it has been making a steady rise. According to CNN, Detroit in July of 2013, ended up filing for bankruptcy, the largest municipal bankruptcy filed in U.S. history. According to Business Insider, with Flint, the decrease in jobs has put more than 38 percent of the population below the poverty level. Also, drug use has increased in people between the ages of 18 to 29, and drugs are known for being an accelerant of crime.

Recently, Genesee County sheriff Robert Pickell issued a $3 million proposal to Governor Rick Synder. In the proposal, Pickell says that Flint has become a “safe haven for criminals” and a place where “law abiding citizens” are unsafe. Snyder has pushed a program that calls for additional state troopers. Synder’s program is not fully supported by Sheriff Pickell as he states that state troopers do not have a good understanding of the City of Flint.