The Other Gun Deaths: Black-On-Black Gun Deaths in the Inner City
The “other” gun deaths we never hear about: young black males and homicide.
A few days ago, Chicago had its 500th homicide. Its’ a sad testament to a world chained to poverty, lack of opportunities, joblessness and other societal factors.
Black men have the highest death rate to gun violence in this country. While the overall murder rate is declining, deaths due to gun violence among black males is on the rise. There is no national outcry, but there should be.
The Department of Justice figures from 1980 to 2008, showed that blacks were more likely to be victims as well as offenders. The same study shows that the highest rates were for victims were those in the age group 18-24 and 25-34. The study also showed that during those years, 93% of black victims were killed by black perpetrators. In all homicides from 1980-2008 for black and white, a gun was the weapon of choice.
Two of every 5 deaths for young black men are caused by homicide. In contrast, that rate is twice of Hispanic male deaths and 15 times the rate of white male homicides.
There is anger and rage boiling in inner cities. Factors such as higher incidences of inter-generational poverty, social disorder, gang strongholds, single-parent or no parent households, lack of jobs, alcoholism, drug abuse or child neglect are part of the entire scenario which breeds violence.
A blogger in the comments section of an article I read – who is black – put it this way:
“I refuse to buy the argument about poverty and lawlessness, even among African-Americans. Times were `1000xs worse during the Great Depression, yet there was not the rampant violence and low regard of life in the black community of that time.
Blame the lack of morals, family values that reflect babies having babies, where a woman becomes a mother at 15, a grand mother at 30, a great grandmother at 45 and a great great grandmother at 60.
Blame a lack of value on education. Where “parents” are more likely to be able to tell you the names of the cast of Real Housewives of Atlanta than the name of their children’s teachers. And where the line for cable at Comcast stretches out the door but the neighborhood library is like a ghost town.
Blame the no-snitching “code of honor” that harbors criminals and gives police the silent treatment.
Blame a lack of pride and self respect for areas of town that will not pick up a piece of litter or allow for unkempt lawns.
I do not subscribe to the theory that being poor = being a criminal.”
She describes perfectly the societal values which play a big part. The outrage needed to end this should begin in the family, in the community.
There are so many factors that make a communities a tinderbox of high incidences of black-on-black violence. A societal factor, the glorification of the “gangsta” lifestyle is one. In the absence of a family unit this is the only acceptance, the only “love” that many young black males may get. More often it’s a short step to violence egged on by peer pressure to fit in.
What is lacking in these communities is respect. Where there is no respect, there is no conscious no reasoning of right or wrong of how one’s actions can affect others. Where there is no respect there is only thoughts of oneself motivated by greed – I want, I need, I must have.
I don’t know how to fix this. Personally I think it goes back to respect.
A gun is not the answer. It makes a coward into a brave man, but take that gun away and see how brave a man remains. It makes a wise man into a fool with false bravado. A gun does not give you a life; it will take your life away. It changes two lives in an instant, the shooter’s and the victim. The bravado is gone, grief and regret rush in. There is no going back – ever.
Respect yourself, your family, your friends and the community. Nobody can take that away from you.
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