Don’t Shoot

Stopping the drug dealing and killing on
the streets of America’s inner cities
by David M. Kennedy © 2011

This is a story of one man’s determination to stop drug dealing and killing on the streets of America’s inner cities, how he enrolled others in that possibility, and how they invented a strategy and then refined it over and over until it works in cities large and small, east and west, and everywhere in between.

It is a story of expanding the definition of the problem until it is large enough to lead to a lasting solution and, at the same time, struggling to keep the definition narrow enough that the necessary resources are available and the timeframe to implement is short enough to capture and hold people’s interest until results become self sustaining.

It is a story about an apparently complex problem and a strategy so simple, so inexpensive, so easy to implement, and so well structured that it seemed to be too good to be true. Grizzled cops, calloused social workers, resigned community leaders, and others critical to success had to be convinced over and over that the strategy works and would work in their city.

It is a story of persistence, failures, disappointments and successes. Of murders that didn’t happen, drugs that weren’t sold, arrests that weren’t made. Of young black men without guns, without police records, who now have opportunities to be part of communities that no longer live in fear.

This is not about being “soft on crime.” A limited number of really bad guys go to jail.

  • If stories of children killed in drive-by shootings bring pain to your heart and you are almost certain nothing can be done, read this book.
  • If it looks like inner-city drug dealing, shootings and the cycle of black men moving from the streets to prisons and back again and again is just the way it is, read this.
  • If you see a need for change—anywhere—but the changes that are being made don’t lead to solutions, read this
  • If you are inspired by people who see an opportunity to make life better, commit their lives to that opportunity and win, read this
  • If you are dealing with what appears to be a complex problem with multiple moving parts and need new ways of defining the problem and then finding a solution, read this.
  • If you’re a manager of change, either formally as in Change Management or informally because you are committed to a change and are struggling with defining the real problem, the objectives, the organization you will need, and the measures of success, read this.

Be inspired. I am.

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