For many Mississippians, the city of Jackson — our state capital — provokes images of rampant crime, illegal drugs and inept elected officials who are too busy pointing fingers at one another to solve the overwhelming problems plaguing the city.
And that’s a shame because Jackson is the center of so many wonderful things in Mississippi — government, business, culture. From corporate headquarters to museums of history, art and science, along with great music, food and shopping, good things and good people call Jackson home, which is important for any state capital.
However, the shooting last week of a Nissan engineer in a Jackson hotel parking lot underscores the danger lurking for residents, tourists and travelers. It also raises interesting points about how crime, real and imagined, can hinder the economic prosperity of a city.
While much of the metro area grows and prospers, vast areas within the city limits are mired in poverty, violence and hopelessness. The future of these areas is not bright, and the city’s over-reaching annexation plan, recently received with great criticism from surrounding municipalities and Hinds County residents, is not a viable solution either.
So, what can be done? And does the rest of Mississippi have a vested interest in seeing a brighter future for Jackson?
Tough questions. Both require soul searching and long-term outlooks.
In the short term, however, leaders in the city — in the private sector, as well as government — must work together to convince the rest of the state and the rest of the world for that matter that Jackson is a good and safe place to do business.