Do Black Lives Really Matter?
"It's not a police issue, it's a society issue," Johnson told reporters outside police headquarters after a long weekend that saw 65 people shot, 13 of them fatally.
The long Labor Day weekend is normally a fun and joyous last hurrah to summer. But in Chicago, it was just a continuation of a long and deadly year. The weekend saw 65 people shot and 13 of them were killed. Tragic in any city in our nation, but doubly tragic in Chicago. Chicago has now had 500 homicides in 2016, and it is only early September. That breaks down to 63 homicides a month. That means every day in Chicago, there are two people killed. More appalling, Chicago's homicide count is more than New York City and Los Angeles combined. The numbers are staggering. The question is, do black lives really matter?
The vast majority of the homicides in Chicago are black on black crime. Nearly 75% of the victims are black and 71% of the perpetrators are black. Of those homicides, the vast majority are young black men, ranging in age from 17-35. It is a sad and tragic tale of young black men killing other young black men. It begs the question, are some black lives more important than others? The Black Lives Matter campaign seems to focus more on blacks killed by whites and those killed by cops. Are those black lives more important than an eighteen year old black kid on the south side of Chicago who was killed by a nineteen year old black kid? And if they are, why? Black lives are being lost at an alarming rate in Chicago. Young black lives at that. And where are the black leaders? Where is President Obama? Where is Jesse Jackson? Where is Al Sharpton? The sad and disgusting truth is, these black lives in Chicago don't fit their template. If it isn't tinged in racist overtones, it isn't newsworthy and worth their time to protest and vent in front of tens of cameras and reporters.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was spot on. It is a society issue. It is about the disintegration of the black family and fatherless homes. It is about young black men without hope in the projects, and a government housing project that lumps them in certain areas of a city. For years, Cabrini Green was the Chicago Housing Authority symbol of despair and squalor. It was a crime riddled and gang infested high-rise that was finally demolished in 2011. For too long now, too many black leaders have ignored the real problems in the black community. It is much easier to cry racism and continue to focus on a systemic racial collaboration to keep the black community in a state of misery, than to lift up black people and encourage them to take personal responsibility and be real men of character. The black leaders have lost the message that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr so eloquently articulated years ago. They need to focus the black community on the content of character, and not the color of the skin. I will be waiting eagerly for a real introspective and honest response to the situation in Chicago from President Obama, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the NAACP, Black Lives Matter folks, and any other black leaders. In the meantime, as I wait patiently, I will sit on my front porch and listen to the crickets chirping.
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