Have we all lost our minds or what??? I cannot stress to you how disturbing it has been to watch the news, log onto Yahoo, or pick up a newspaper! I know that violence has been an issue all throughout time, and it will more than likely continue to be an issue. However….the violence today is just simply not the same. Our young people are dying left and right, particularly young African American males! Let’s keep it real people, when you take a look at the stats one cannot deny the large number of African American males losing their lives to death and prison! And please forgive me, these past few weeks have just been a roller coaster of emotions for me; something is just not right in America!
Let’s take a few minutes and view some of the most recent stats; and I am sure, regardless of where you get them all of the stats currently out there are similar.
The Kelly Book 2014, written and submitted to Congress by Congresswoman Kelly out of Illinois talks about gun violence in American; the information that is provided in this submission should just blow us all away!
*Gun murders in America significantly outnumber those in other developed nations!
*If New Orleans were a country they would be the 2nd deadliest nation in the world; their gun rate is 62.1 per every 100,000 citizens!
*Detroit’s murder rate mirrors El Salvador!
*Chicago mirrors Guyana!
*And…Washington, DC (yes the nation’s capital) has a higher gun homicide rate than Brazil (known for its high crime rates from narcotics trafficking and gang activity)!
*American children are at greater risk of being killed by a gun than children in any other
The Kelly Book also stresses that the African American communities are at an even greater risk than all other communities. The Book calls the impact on these communities ‘particularly devastating’. African Americans make up only 13% of the United States population, but they account for 55% of ALL gun MURDER victims! On the other hand, in White communities the vast majority of deaths by a gun result from suicide.
The Book states that although urban violence and suicides are quite different, they are similar in that there is an easy access to guns. In addition, there is insufficient attention to socioeconomic disparities and mental health conditions which can often create environments that cause disputes or problems that lead to deadly situations. I believe this to be part of the problem; there is simply so much more to be considered.
Finally, I would like to address another ‘particularly devastating’ impact guns are having in African American communities. I cannot end this piece without making mention of the devastating impact police officers are having in African American communities. Again, let’s keep it real…we cannot deny that this has become a nationwide epidemic! We know of at least five shootings that took place just this month. Don’t get me wrong, for those who had been said to have committed a crime, I am not saying that they were innocent and I definitely do not condone criminal behavior; however, I am saying that it seems in each case that the outcome could have been different…allowing these young men to ‘breath’ another day.
In all of the deaths due to the excessive use of guns, there are mothers (and fathers) who have lost their sons; children who have lost their fathers (and mothers); and a future full of ‘what ifs’….what if he/she would have lived to see another day…what would they have contributed to the future of others, to this world??? We will never know!
Bottom line….cops or civilians, young or old, Black, White, Purple or Green this is a major issue! As a mother of a teenage, African American male I am horrified each and every time my child steps out of my site. I tell him I love him constantly; I never say good-bye but see you later; and I often have to stop myself as I pick up the phone wanting to check in on him every five minutes. This is no way for our children to have to live, at least it shouldn’t be here in the United States of America…”land of the free”.
No, I don’t know what the answers are; I have no clue how to intervene, how to change this country’s craze for shooting and killing as if life has no value or meaning. But what I do know is that something must be done. I am a firm believer that if something is broken, with hard work, concentration, a desire and dedication it can be fixed. I am also a believer that all of us professionals should stay in our own lanes…this aint my lane. So my question is, WHOSE LANE IS IT AND WHY AINT YOU FIXIN IT!?!?!
It takes a village….
Mrs. Tomaro M. Pilgrim, MS