While Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were continuing to stir up racial animosity in Sanford Florida, one of the worst mass shootings in Florida history was taking place in Miami. Last Friday, 14 people were shot and two men were killed during a funeral for 21-year-old Morvin Andre. A 5-year-old girl was wounded in the exchange as well. Why no outrage or calls for massive demonstrations? Because the shooters were allegedly black gang members attending the funeral. In other words, there’s nothing that can be politically exploited here by those willing to ignore the harsh reality that, in the overwhelming majority of cases, black Americans are being victimized by other black Americans.
Thus, it was more than a little ironic that one day after former Black Panther Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) was demonstrating “solidarity” with Trayvon Martin by donning a hoodie during a speech in the U.S. House of Representatives last Wednesday, 13 people were shot and two were killed in a single night of violence. The worst shooting of the night left one man dead and five others wounded. They ranged in age from 16-24, and they were victims of two men wearing hoodies, who opened fire inside a convenience store.
That shooting took place in Bobby Rush’s district. As of this writing, he has had nothing to say about that incident, of any of the others that took place in his own city. He did however do an ABC interview–wearing a hoodie and sunglasses–where he explained the reason for his mini-protest at the House. “It seems like the lives of black men in this nation are not given the same value as the life of others, and there’s something wrong with that,” said Rush.
Rush is absolutely right, but like so many others with an agenda, he manages to remain willfully oblivious to reality. Those who place less value on the lives of black men are overwhelmingly other black men: the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics found that between the years 2001 and 2005, nine-out-of-ten black murder victims were killed by other blacks. Seventy-five percent of those victims were killed with a gun. The DOJ also determined that homicide is the leading cause of death for black males between the ages of 15 and 34.
Unfortunately, Delric Miller IV will never even reach the low-end age of that disturbing age demographic. Delric was killed in February when a gunman brandishing an AK-47 pumped 37 bullets into his home on the west side of Detroit Michigan. “Again, adult behavior has brought another child in Detroit to an end,” said Police Chief Ralph Godbee at a press conference. “It’s actually amazing that more people in that house were not killed. There’s no question about it. This is gang-related,” he added.
Delric was nine months old.
Both this shooting and the one in Miami reveal another unpleasant and rarely-talked about reality behind much of the violence that afflicts black America. Much of the killing is senseless. According to police, the Miami funeral turned into a shooting gallery because someone at the wake touched Morvin Andre’s body in a way deemed disrespectful by other gang members in attendance. This “disrespect” triggered an argument that triggered the shooting. Delric Miller’s death was purportedly the result of his mother, Diamond Salter, getting into an argument with another women over limited seating at a baby shower. “The shower was overbooked, and there was an argument because there weren’t enough seats,” Cynthia Wilkins, Delric’s grandmother told the Detroit News. Ms. Salter was followed home by a group of men and women, one of whom is believed to have perpetrated the shooting at 4:30 a.m. the next day.
Two other killings make even less sense. Twelve-year-old Kade’jah Davis was killed in Detroit when a gunman fired shots into her home — allegedly as a result of a dispute over a cell phone. In the same city, 17-year-old Je’Rean Blake was killed when a man on a moped allegedly didn’t like the look on Blake’s face. The man returned with a gun and sprayed bullets into a crowd, killing Blake in the process.
Such is the “value of life” as it is measured far too many times within black American communities. In Philadelphia, according to statistics from the Philadelphia PD, 75 percent of 324 victims killed last year were black men, 80 percent of whom were killed by black males. In the first three months of this year, Chicago, the city with the highest murder rate in the nation, has been victimized by 114 homicides, a 35 percent increase compared to the same period last year. In New York City, 83 percent of all gun assailants were black during the first six months of 2008. Overall, the homicide rate for black men between the ages of 18 and 24 is well over ten times that of whites. And lest anyone think that such killing is equally divided among the races, completed law-enforcement investigations in 2009 reveal that 352 blacks were killed by known whites–a category that includes Latinos–while 4,094 blacks were killed by other blacks, according to FBI data.
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