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Curtist Sliwa is an activist and the founder of the Guardian Angels, a volunteer anti-crime organization. Founded in 1979 in New York, the group now leads unarmed safety patrols and[…]

“You wouldn’t be able to get married in my society until you were 30,” says Sliwa.

Question: What is the biggest problem we're currently facing?

Curtis Sliwa:  I’d say the biggest problem facing New York and any part of the United States and the world is the dysfunction of the family.  Every time there is a dysfunctional family it bleeds into the schools, into the streets, into everything that we have to do with other human beings, so if a person is dysfunctional in the home what do you think, all of the sudden on the job they’re functional? Or all of the sudden the snap to it when they go to school?  When all of the sudden they’re hanging out in the mall they’re not trying to prey on you like they’re trying to prey on even their brothers or sisters or the so-called uncle who serves as a wanna be father from time to time. 

No, of course, the dysfunction is what paralyses society.  It means people learn less.  They can’t function properly.  They can’t speak.  They can’t communicate.  They have anger management problems.  They develop necessities and desires to have drugs and alcohol to self-medicate, and they put on a one way trip to Palookaville. And we’re trying to cosmetically make excuses for it, but in reality we turn our teachers into social workers.  They barely have enough time to teach you reading, writing, arithmetic and the most important R, respect and we turn our cops into social workers because we’re not doing the social work at home where it needs to be done from the jump street.  

Question: What is a potential fix for that problem?

Curtis Sliwa: Training people to be parents.  We train you how to drive a car.  We train you how to shoot.  We say hey, don’t get a gun unless you practice.  You practice in everything you do, practice playing the piano, practice singing, practice doing karaoke drunk as a skunk as you are.  You realize "Boy I really stunk out the joint; I’m not a very good karaoke singer.  I got to practice." so you practice, practice you know Americans dancing with felons, whatever.  Everyone is practicing.  They’re practicing everything in their life that is not important.

But the most important thing parenting whether you wanted the kid or it was an act of an accident or you had that urge to merge and all of the sudden the condom went powie and now all of the sudden you have this treasure that has been delivered and instead of nourishing that treasure you want to bury it somewhere out of sight, out of mind. So I think really teaching parenting skills because when babies are having babies, I mean, it’s over.  So under the Curtis Sliwa draconian measures—boy would I make a good minister of defending virtue against all the vices—you wouldn’t be able to get married in my society until you were 30.  I would put you in a gulag.  If you dare got married before 30 I’d think the furniture was upstairs and rearranged in the wrong rooms. And if you decided to have kids, I’m going to test you first.  I’m going to say with a second.  I want to test your parenting skills.  I’m going to give you a kid from an orphanage—Or what would we call it?  A place in which children are unwanted—and you’re going to have to take care of that kid first and try to raise that kid and then I would say at that particular time you have qualified to have your child.  Now that is a bit draconian wouldn’t you say?

But you know something.  You won’t have all of the unwanted kids that are populating this world.  I mean you know we go to bed at night and we live a pretty damn good life, but think of all those kids out there beat, raped, abused, sent to work at the age of six, no life whatsoever.  We know it’s going on and we don’t do jack diddlysquat to stop it and all we see is machines out there, human beings on two legs procreating, fornicating and copulating as if they’re baboons in the middle of a forest.  I thought we were human beings.  I thought the strongest muscle that we have is between both our ears.  That is what we should exercise, not everything that is below our navel and that is all we seem to do, fornicate, copulate, morning, noon and night.  “Oh, I have a baby.”  “Hey Maury, Maury Povich, give me a DNA test.”  “Hey, this is a disgrazia.” 

Question: What’s the most difficult situation you’ve ever had to deal with on the streets?

Curtis Sliwa:  Domestic situations.  It always is the mama drama, the daddy baby drama, the mamma baby drama.  You’re out there in the street.  Some muscle-head is pounding some female into submission and so you figure like oh, this is my time to shine.  Now I’m going to be like the knight, right, who runs to the rescue of the damsel in distress except the moment you jump on the back of this predator, this violator, and you take him down for the count and he is forced to submit until the police arrive, then all of the sudden the victim starts accusing you of violating her rights, his rights.  The neighborhood gets all fired up. 

They come out in support of this violator and now you got to suck it up.  You know you got to take the verbal abuse, the physical intimidation and oftentimes the family, the extended family will attack you as if somehow you have reached in to the epicenter of their family and ripped the heart and soul out of the family.  This person who has become a primetime predator is now put up on a pedestal.  So those are really the most difficult situations that I have ever faced and I know that Guardian Angels around the world have ever faced because no matter how much good you do you’re still wrong and when the police arrive they look at you and they say, “Involved in what is that? Mamma baby drama, daddy baby drama, mamma drama, okay, how are you going to work your way out of this, pal?”

Recorded July 8, 2010

Interviewed by Max Miller