While John-Hall reports that black males killing black males are a national issue, she uses her home city of Philadelphia as a case study:
Those gunshots that had you dropping to the floor on New Year’s Eve? You know, the ones that traditionally ring in the new year?
They’ve become nothing more than an S.O.S., warning us that yes, domestic terrorism is alive and well in a city where brothers kill brothers – Philadelphia.
Talk about black-on-black crime: According to stats from the Philadelphia Police Department, 75 percent of 324 victims killed last year were African American men, while 80 percent of those doing the killing were – you guessed it – black males.
John-Hall mentions Michelle Burton, a Black mother who lost her 24-year-old son to gun violence. The killers have not been caught (even though the murder was caught on video according to the article) because no one is stepping forward to give police information on what happened.
“My son got killed a few feet away from here,” Burton told me. “They have it on videotape, but no one will speak up, no one will tell. . . . It’s not fair. I just want justice.”
But John-Hall suggests that the “justice” Burton wants is not up to the police to serve alone.
This article touches upon several key issues worth discussing. For one, is it true that the culture of “no snitching” is so ingratiated in the psyche of black men that city and federal government efforts to fight it are rendered useless? Think about it. How can police investigate crime if no one gives detectives information needed to solve these cases?
What is very disturbing is that a 2011 U.S. Department Of Justice study reports that Blacks are six times more likely to be victims of violent crime than whites. The same study reports that Blacks are eight times more likely than whites to be perpetrators of violent crime than their white counterparts.
Does this study suggest that Blacks are the only people committing crime? Not at all. The same study states that 84 percent of Whites are killed by Whites while 93 percent of Blacks are killed by Blacks.
What I took from John-Hall’s article was that Blacks, especially at the community level, must take ownership of their neighborhoods’ safety and security. It is us, not the police, government or any other entity that, that must ultimately police ourselves.
Let’s have a discussion about this in the comments section and on Facebook. But do read the rest of the John-Hall’s article at the Philadelphia Inquirer before joining the conversation.