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Charleston: Black Killing Ground
6/25/2014 5:13:37 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch

This past week, Denzel Curnell, 19 years old, was shot and killed in Bridgeview Apartments. The details are still very sketchy as to whether he was shot or he committed suicide. As the community anxiously awaits the outcome of the investigation, 19 year old Denzel is added to a long list of black males killed in our community. Although, there were reports of witnesses to the Denzel killing, why is the community getting conflicting information? The verdict is still out on how Denzel was killed but that did not stop young people from staging a protest downtown on Sunday.

The week before 18 year old Brandon Bennett was killed by a 17 year old intruder while in his home on Congress Street. The intruder climbed through the window and stabbed Brandon to death.

While writing this article, another youth was shot on his way to the store to get snacks. Was this young man a target or a random act of violence? The tragedies continue to mount. When is enough, enough?

All of the above shootings took place within one week. Is Charleston becoming the new Chicago?

Where are the teens getting these weapons? No one is safe on the streets of Charleston, no one. It could have been anyone of us on our way to the store and bam, bam we are shot down. Unfortunately, the recent rash of violence has been committed by Blacks against Blacks.

Most violent offenses occur in black neighborhoods. Things have really changed since my days in public housing. The difference between when I grew up and now is we had no nonsense parents who raised their children up on principles. Children do pretty much what they want to do today. Teenagers hang out in the streets all time of night selling drugs and failed transactions often lead to retaliations and murders. Parents no longer impose curfews or set perimeters for their children. You need to know where your children are.

The cry to stop the violence has been repeated many times over but seldom is there any follow up. We are losing too many of our children to street violence. Several recent initiatives by local officials point to the need for more community and pastoral involvement. There is not enough involvement from the home and schools have lost its mission of educating all children equally. Politics guide many of the educational decisions that favor the haves and disenfranchise the have nots. And, disenfranchisement is the path to a chaotic society.

We have created a bunch of shiftless children by making excuses for them. I know you don’t want to hear this but it is the truth. We have not passed along to our children what the elders passed down to us. Instead, we are so busy trying to give our children the things that we did not have that we are not giving them what we had. We had manners, determination, pride, good work ethics and an eagerness to learn.

Whenever children step out of line, the time to reel them in is right then. Mothers are very intuitive. They know Johnny is selling drugs and packing a pistol but turn their heads the other way. The bad apples of this generation just do not get it. Young people tend to make poor choices and don’t seem to have a fear of dying. I don’t know what it is but my choice is living; let me live!

Children have too much leisure time on their hands. There are too many high tech gadgets and games that negatively impact their minds. If children aren’t texting, they are sexting. Get your lazy potheads out of bed and get them into something constructive before it is too late.

To say that crime is out of control in the Black community is an understatement. It is time to stop making excuses for why our children are committing senseless crimes. Many of them do not have a sense of self-worth. Most crimes committed by blacks against blacks can be traced back to drugs and a lack of education.

Easy access to weapons has added to the increase of violence. Where are the weapons coming from that end up in our communities? Y’all might not be squawking but somebody needs to start talking about where the weapons pipeline is in our communities. And, let’s not just look at the source of the weapons but also to changing the mindsets of our youths. Education opens up a world of limitless possibilities.

We have got to go back to the old school and Golden Rule of raising children. Yes, I do realize that this is a new generation and we can’t live in the past but we can learn from it.

It is time the Charleston community rises up against black on black crime. And for those of y’all in high places who are supplying our children with guns, your hands are bloody and you are just as guilty as the ones who pull the trigger. As long as our children have easy access to weapons and drugs, we will continue to see Black on Black crimes.

This is a cry to all pastors, community leaders and parents to work together to save our children. Let us act together to stem the flow of Black blood in our neighborhoods. No one else can help us but us. Let’s save our children!

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