March

A number of letter writers have pointed out the preponderance of black-on-black violence.

And they are right. It’s a tragic fact of life – and death in the black community.

Ninety-three percent of black homicides are committed by other black people.

But it is a myth that the black community isn’t concerned about the problem or hasn’t rallied against it.

Just last week, members of the black fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha marched through a gang-ravaged section of Chicago, in  snow and freezing rain, to protest street violence. 

In addition, a new satirical movie by black filmmaker Spike Lee, titled “Chi-Raq,’” tackles the issue head on and has not pleased some political leaders in Chicago.

The film focuses on the epidemic of black-on-black violence in that city, most of it gang-related, and will be released Friday.

But should this problem with youth killing youth make what appears to be a cold-blooded shooting of a black youth by a white police officer any less outrageous?

And should mean that black people have no right to complain when it happens?

Of course not.

For one thing, violent crimes tend to occur within races.

Thus, a white person is six times as likely to be murdered by another white person as by a black person.

More significantly, there is a critical difference in a gang killing and a cop killing.

One involves a lawless group that uses intimidation to claim “turf” and to instill fear.

The other involves officers who are sworn and specially trained  to uphold the law and protect citizens. And who, are, in fact, paid by citizens to perform those duties. Is it unreasonable to expect them not to shoot and kill recklessly?

Black men aged 15 to 19 are 21 times more likely to be shot by police than their white peers.

So, when an officer shoots a youth who was walking away 16 times in the span of less than 20 seconds, yes, people have a right to be outraged.

Or as Jamelle Bouie noted on Slate: “Regardless of cause or concern, a community doesn’t forfeit fair treatment because it has crime.”