General Sessions Court Judge Gerald Webb told members of the Pachyderm Club on Monday that, like others, he has no real answers to solving the local crime problem in light of two recent mass shootings.
“We have a great city and it can be greater,” said the judge, who is opposed by prosecutor Larry Ables in his race for a new term. “But we can’t be greater until we get a real hold and a real grasp of what’s going on in this city.
The reality is a lot of people don’t want to talk about what we are dealing with in this city.”
Judge Webb said the reality is that the majority of people he sees in court and that are involved in harsh crimes in Hamilton County are young black males.
“Sometimes these kids can be saved and sometimes they can’t. A lot of them don’t have options in life,” said Judge Webb. “We have 12-, 13-, and 14-year-olds getting in cars for drive-by shootings. That’s what’s happening today.”
In regards to Silverdale, Judge Webb said he believes it should be reserved only for the “worst of the worst.” He said it’s about prioritizing who goes into Silverdale because there’s limited space but unlimited people coming in.
“Some of these people could win the lottery today and be breaking into your homes tomorrow, that's just who they are,” said Judge Webb. “You could pump a billion dollars into programs and you might put a dent into what we have going on now. We are talking about erosion of family, of morals, a slow steady erosion.”
Judge Webb said he often gets asked how to fix Chattanooga’s crime problem but he says he honestly does not know - simply because these are “societal” issues that cannot be solved by government, money, or programs.
“There needs to be an awakening that happens across this country with our kids and young people,” said Judge Webb.