By Barney Blakeney
A home invasion occurred and two teenagers were shot in the leg in North Charleston this week. Last weekend two murders in the city were reported. Already in the first quarter of 2017 there have been 11 homicides in North Charleston hinting at another record year in the number of murders in the city. There only have been 16 homicides in Charleston County so far this year and none in the City of Charleston.
Last year North Charleston ranked as the nation’s leading city for murders per capita 1,000 populations. This time last year there had been only nine murders in North Charleston. Still by June the city was ranked as having one of the nation’s highest murder rates with 15 murders by the end of June. That statistic likely also may be surpassed.
Forty-five minutes into the New Year, the first murder of 2017 in North Charleston was committed. By May 30 there had been 14 homicides in North Charleston. The city finished the year with 32 homicides, the most in two decades.
Black communities suffer disproportionately from the commission of homicides. The perpetrators also are Black. All but two of the city’s 2017 homicide victims are Black prompting one police official to ask, “Where are Black leaders? If these murders were being committed by the Klu Klux Klan or by the police, can you imagine the outrage? But we’re killing ourselves and nobody’s saying anything.”
Black male role models are absent in the lives of young Black boys, the police official said. As a participant in a regular elementary school lunch activity, he said white females are present, Black females are present and white males are present. But only two other Black males in addition to him ever are present.
At a welcome back to school event after Charleston County School students returned to a local elementary school Monday, only three Black males participated. Two of them were employees at the school. One of the Black male participants noted the school is located within only a few blocks of several Black churches. “I guarantee there are at least five churches surrounding that school. The deacons and men of those churches should’ve been there,” he said.
In a previous interview Black Lives Matter Charleston spokesman Muhiyyidin D’baha in part said, “We are hurting. Who do we hold accountable? Who is responsible? Not in the sense that we point fingers in blame – but where are those who can respond to the pain, confusion, desperation, and conflicts our youth are finding themselves in? Why haven’t adequate resources been set aside to demonstrate the value of our Youths lives? It’s our nephews and nieces who are being killed, our brothers and sisters we are losing.”