There is a valid assertion that by providing government assistance that assures survivability and is available for virtually an unlimited period we cause the receiving group to not only become dependent on such support, but to train them to ignore all other potential efforts to be self-sufficient.
But given that such dependence now exists, to discuss whether or not it should have been done is a useless exercise.
To be "given" support over an extended period of time with no requirement or expectation of moving from that support to self-support creates a sense of shame (usually deeply buried) and compensatory attitudes to bolster a sense of self-worth. For kids without fathers present in their daily lives, they substitute gangs and gang membership. To support their self-worth, they develop their own sense of right and wrong that supports their own actions, regardless of what those actions are, as "right." And they totally ignore efforts from "others" to change that view, because to change would necessitate that they acknowledge that their previous actions were not "good" or "right." Oh, there are some that see the bigger picture, but not many.
It is this unwillingness to change, and the underlying anger that supports it, that creates the real problem for those kids, their neighborhoods, and ultimately for America as a nation. What can or should be done?
I freely admit that I don't know.
But there are some ideas that might be worthy of at least talking about.
Supposing an organized effort was made to take every single child that did not have a father present and employed out of the neighborhood and put them in a proven, approved foster home that had access to a good school district with support to encourage achievement?
What if the rules on schooling provided not only for school choice, but for schools to be able to bar disruptive kids from the campus, thus allowing students who wanted to learn the teacher time to enable that desire?
What if disruptive kids were required to be put in a military type, government organization where they were supervised and required to work each day for a menial wage until they came to recognize the advantages of learning?
How about city officials discussing with gangs the possibility of them becoming screening groups for calling in regular Police forces, making them officially responsible for the safety of their community? That would give them status but also make them responsible...a good pairing for learning to live a useful life.
Are these answers? Probably not...but it is time we all recognized the very real and difficult problems that our citizens who live in the inner cities have and work to provide good and beneficial options for those there who want improvement.
Unfortunately I don't see our government, at any level, having any real interest in solving the situation. They just want it to be quiet: quiet summers, quiet desperation, quiet unhappiness. And that is just an abdication of their respective oath's of office. Until we demand and see that that attitude changes, we will have to look to private organizations to move forward. And I hope that all of them, both civic and religious groups, step up...and soon. Each of us, as citizens of a great nation, should have available to us a path to success. That path isn't free, and it isn't easy, but it should exist so that every citizen with purpose and motivation can travel forward...and upward.