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Black On Black Violence - A New Form Of Slavery
11/1/2012 12:24:56 PM

   For some reason last week seemed like an especially violent time. Everywhere I turned there was violence. By week’s end I found myself lamenting again the violent state, and consequences, of my community.

   It started Saturday morning  Oct. 20 as I waited in line for some groceries (again). Some women in front of me were talking about an Eastside Charleston homicide.

   This was early, about 9 a.m.  I was at the store to get breakfast. One woman was talking about some young man who had been shot down on a bicycle. He’d been shot earlier, but his body still laid in the street on the bicycle hours later.

   “Ya’ll probably know him,” the woman replied to questions about circumstances.

   It turned out I did know the guy. He lived in my neighborhood. I’ve seen him for years. He’s one of those guys you see all the time, but whose name you never know.

   Word of his murder resonated through the community. Everybody knew him, some not so fondly. For some reason his murder sticks in my craw. Reports are that the guy was brutally shot multiple times, at least once in the head. An arrest has been made in the incident.

   I read a lot of newspapers. It’s part of the job. I also get police reports about crimes on a regular basis from Charleston Police info guy, Charles Francis. All that’s in addition to the stuff I hear on the streets. I’m aware of a lot of crime.

   My brothers and sisters, don’t allow yourselves to be consoled by the thought that in our racist society Black folks often are portrayed as the only group of folks committing crimes. Yeah, other people commit crimes too, some just as brutal. But there’s a lot of crime among Black folks. So much, it’s crazy.

   A murder/robbery in the Russelldale/ Liberty Hill community last week is an example of just how crazy things are. In that incident two young guys are accused of robbing and killing one guy and critically wounding another guy. Three people have been arrested. But what gets me is all those guys knew each other. Word is the guys involved in the Eastside murder also knew each other.

   When I was growing up there was a code, a sort of honor among thieves. The crooks in the neighborhood never committed crimes in their own neighborhoods.

   I know, that’s crazy too, but there wasn’t wholesale murder being committed. Things are different now. Guys who are friends, grew up together and run together will rob and kill each other.

   And like a plague, the madness is spreading. Once sleepy rural communities like Summerville, the Walterboro area of Colleton County and the Charleston sea islands of James, Johns and Yonges islands have become as violent as the urban communities.

   The violence and brutality is mind boggling. And so is the fact that these crimes are being committed by such young perpetrators. Kids 18 to 30 years old or so are committing most of this stuff.

   Over the weekend I watched a show produced by comedian D.L. Hugely, Endangered List, about the crime that so adversely affects America’s young Black men.

   One segment of the show I found particularly intriguing. It noted that Black on Black violence leads to one of two outcomes - death or prison. And the younger the convict, the longer he stays in the system.

   It’s definitely good for the prison industry, said one commentator. Investors are buying stocks in companies like The Corrections Corporation of America which operates several prisons across the nation. Keeping jails full keeps their investors’ pockets full.

   Back in the 1990s two classmates and I had a conversation about young Black boys. My classmate, retired Charleston Police Major Ronald Hamilton, made the statement that unless you catch young guys before they get to puberty, all you’re doing after that is damage control. That’s where we are now with these young Black men.

   Thank God for guys like Alex Williams and Rodney Lewis who  mentor young Black boys. Those guys and the many many more who take the time out of their busy days to mentor other folks’ kids are making a difference we’ll realize in the future.

   They understand that’s it’s not enough to just make sure your kid is okay.

   As radio host Michael Baisden says, you have to make sure the kid down the street is okay as well because it’s the kid down the street who one day may take your kid’s life.

   For several decades the Black community has neglected its responsibility to nurture Black boys. It ain’t up to the schools and it ain’t up to the government. It’s up to us.

   The Black community has to stop playing games with this Black on Black violence thing. Our political, business, social and religious networks must take a serious approach to Black on Black crime and deal with it for what it is, an economic industry based on Black lives. Black on Black violence is a new form of slavery.




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