This is actually one of the better threads i have seen on this board in awhile. I agree in general with points such as better education, reform our system that locks people up for non violent crimes and decimates families, encourage investment for businesses in low income area, etc.. The number one area i would focus on long term is education, and that is a rabbit hole once you start bringing up specifics. One thing that hasn't been discussed though is the race issue we have in this country in certain areas. So i will share a story.
I moved to midwest after college after growing up in the southwest. This was many moons ago and i ended up moving back to the land of the sun. I had never lived in a city that was roughly half white and half black though. That's point number one. I had also never lived in a state whose entire economy had been tied to one industry. Entire cities had been built around the auto industry. When those manufacturing jobs and plants left, downtowns were devastated. People flocked to the suburbs and the poor, in the case of the city i moved to, blacks were left to inner city. It goes deeper than that though. There was almost an unwritten rule of you stay in your lane and we'll stay in ours. A river divided the have and have nots where i lived. You had entire high schools separated by a few miles that were either almost all white or almost all black. Now, you are sitting in Wyoming or Utah or NM and saying so what. What does this have to do with solving the problem.
When generations of people grow up living next to each other, but not living with each other at all then it is tough to one day say just play nice together. That is the racial element. Many people from the suburbs tend to look down on those that have been left behind. There is a belief they are lazy or don't want a better life. I never got over going to a high school basketball game where one side of the gym was all white with white players and the other side all black with black players. How does that even happen? From the outside, it just seemed so wrong to see races divided like that. But to people who grew up in those areas, that life is just normal on both sides. There is a mentality in those cities that exists that has to change to allow people to think of a world where a city isn't divided by race.
How do you break the cycle is the discussion and there are a lot of good ideas in this thread. Reinventing those inner cities where there is so much violence and lack of opportunity is a tremendous challenge. Just a topic like school vouchers is fraught with challenges and unintended consequences, despite the best intentions. As is reform in our judicial system. As is welfare reform. It will take tremendous leadership at the federal, state, and city level to make progress. But this is a LONG term problem that will take decades to fix. I am encouraged by the tens of thousands that came out and peacefully protested recently. It's going to take a change in mindset by the masses, working in collaboration with government, to make real positive change. And for those that grew up on southwest - places like Albq, El Paso, Las Cruces, Tucson, Phoenix, and probably up through states like Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, it's tough to explain the racial divide you see in some of these states and huge cities unless you've lived in those areas. The racial challenges are enormous in parts of our country. For a lot of those commenting, they will never see it first hand.
Good ideas and discussion on this thread for sure.