The anti-gang super hero Gangbuster beseeches President Obama to confront rampant gang violence riddling the Northern Illinois area.
"Extinguishing violence helps to diminish fear...AND prejudice. Attack the source, and the prospect of more Trayvons...and Roberts...and Coreys...will evaporate."
Gangbuster meets Deputy Karl Martin of the Palm Beach Sheriff's Department.Palm Beach County Sheriff's Deputy Karl Martin shakes hands with Gangbuster at a sheriff's display.
My "Gangbuster Comic book" was published and released in Rockford, Illinois generating headlines across the country back in 1986. Created in direct response to alarming gang activity around model kit and glue maker Testor Corporation's main building, this 8-page effort was so well received kids were snagging stacks of free copies and selling them in the streets for 75 cents a book! Letters (all positive) poured in, and authorities admitted the following summer was one of the quietest in a long time.
To this day Gangbuster is circulated by police departments around the country, primarily as a bridge-builder.
While Gangbuster has maintained relevancy through various updates, two weaknesses emerged:
• Agencies had no money (I like to eat!), and...
• I could not take an active role as I would normally do in campaigns like this.
President Obama as GangbusterPresident Obama in the Gangbuster suit would certainly connect with troubled youth, wouldn't you say?
An old white geezer simply does not connect as effectively with this book's intended audience as an African-American whippersnapper would — and often times — did, not that gang activity is solely an African-American issue.
Gangs come in all colors, and white as well as Latina versions were also envisioned. All bases were covered as I even planned to have Gangbuster confront the KKK at one point, since that's a gang too! So, as of late, are some of the current Congressmen.
Having successfully interacted amicably with thousands of African-Americans in some tough environs over the years (not as any social worker, but as a caricature artist), I don't buy the "anger steeped in history" bit.
More importantly, I believe the President is missing a major opportunity. What better role model for troubled, confused and misdirected youth than America's first African-American President?
I feel a connection to the President, since we both earned our political badges in the same state. Sadly, my former hometown of Rockford, Illinois is now suffering a crime rate of over twice the national average. Overflow from Chicago, they say.
My work is no stranger to the Oval Office, having had one framed piece hang there back in the early 90s, and other U.S. Presidents and wannabes have held up my work for photo ops! Given my long-held reputation for thinking "outside the box," here's (another) unique Kulpa idea:
Dick Kulpa in a Gangbuster super suitWhen white geezer gangs start turf-warring over bootleg viagra sales, I'LL don the suit!
President Obama, you are invited to don the Gangbuster suit! I do believe you will generate immense positive impact and set in motion a counter-culture of creativity and progress for kids way beyond the horrendous gang activity option threatening their futures. Plus, I'd even donate the entire Gangbuster program, lock, stock and barrel to a credible and capable charitable or government agency combatting youth gang violence, and I've already given the local sheriff's department carte blanche usage of Gangbuster.
In Rockford, Illinois, several former friends of mine have already succumbed to gang-related violence, and as shootings increase here in Florida, I cannot be expected to "not be wary" and to "not stand my ground" under those conditions. HOWEVER, extinguishing violence helps to diminish fear...AND prejudice. Attack the source, and the prospect of more Trayvons...and Roberts...and Coreys...will evaporate.
Respectfully, Dick Kulpa
Ex-Officio Member, Winnebago County Board, Loves Park City Council and Northern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission (NILEC)