Myrtle Beach, SC, Orlando, FL December 2, 2015
Owatonna, MN-In the wake of the recent epidemic of high profile killings of black young men by white police officers, Black Lives Matters has risen to the top of the soapbox as one of the most influential citizen groups to advocate for solving the problem of white on black violence. They organize protests that get the public’s attention in the media, especially when a peaceful protest devolves into a riot. But is Black Lives Matters railing at the wrong injustice? I think so.
Most inner-city violence is endemic and caused by institutionalized poverty. After several generations were born to this life and were never able to rise above the oppression and inherent racism, those in poverty tried to find another way out by dealing illegal drugs. Illegal activities are inherently dangerous by definition, so when gangs took over the drug dealing, profits soared and sales territory was bitterly fought over, often in a deadly manner. Gang-on-gang violence kills many more minority men than police violence against minority men does, but mainstream media seems to either ignore or downplay that crisis.
But what might happen if illegal drugs were legalized? Based on our national experiment with prohibition in the 1920s, when the motive of lucrative profits from illegal products decreased and aligned with the profitability of legal businesses, violence virtually disappeared. It’s logical to assume a similar outcome would result from legalizing today’s illegal drugs.
Legalization also brings standardized distribution, so turf wars would be fought with advertising and marketing rather than violence. Taxes from newly legalized drugs could be targeted to neighborhoods most affected and harmed by inner-city violence.
Finally, if inner-city residents are mostly engaged in legal activities, police don’t enter those neighborhoods in a suspicious frame of mind. They may not have the gut feeling that every person they see may try to kill them just because they are the law and an automatic adversary.
Legalizing drugs is the first-step solution to solving a myriad of other problems related to racial injustice. Groups like Black Lives Matter might have more effect on reducing violence against young minority men if they focus on the root cause instead of the symptom.
Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Groups such as “Black Lives Matter” need to concentrate on reducing inner-city violence rather than protesting and rioting. In order to resolve crimes occurring in their cities, towns and neighborhoods, these groups should take a hard look at what is actually causing the crime waves that result in the destruction of their communities.
Perhaps allegations against the police and other authorities, who are involved in abuse and interracial violence, are proven to be so under certain situations and circumstances, but crime statistics indicate that a great percentage of blacks and other minorities are not being singled out by the police. The simple fact is that blacks are more readily involved in police interactions, as opposed to whites, because blacks proportionately commit more violent crimes than whites do. The sheer numbers themselves indicate that police will come in direct contact with blacks committing crimes. A majority of violent crimes occur in the areas where groups such as Black Lives Matter live and work, and they are perpetrated by black Americans on other black Americans. Statistics further indicate that the same criminal elements commit crimes against whites at higher rates as opposed to white on black crime.
With these kinds of statistics in mind, answers to problems have to stem from the community itself, with the realization that nothing will be accomplished by placing total blame on the police, whites or others for their actions. Many concerned blacks are aware and ask, “Where is the outrage over black-on-black crime and the unraveling of our communities?” Many want answers and solutions as to how to put an end to the violence in their communities. In order to do that, groups such as “Black Lives Matter” must change course as to what the answers are to the problems facing their communities. Continual rioting, protesting, and destroying property will not solve the inherent challenges in their cities and towns. Rather than reacting violently, common sense suggests that proactive solutions need to be studied and ideas implemented to stop violence and property damage.
Some probable answers to reducing inter-city violence include the establishment of socio-economic task forces that specifically address why rampant criminal activity exists in a community, and how to deal with it in a rational manner. Before the initiation of any programs, the black community must take a hard look at the causes of interracial conflicts and the real reasons behind crimes committed in their communities. There must be acceptance of the overall statistical facts. Debate on the subject must be community initiated with the aid of family, legal, and police-relations experts to counsel, assist, and implement plans that work. Secondly, those plans must address the participation of community members in a number of different areas that include policing of their own communities; coexisting and interacting appropriately with law enforcement along with police reciprocation; recognizing and understanding police interactions and enforcement of the laws through meetings with police and other authorities; establishing early release programs for lesser criminal offenses; instilling basic home and family structure to those in need; discouraging dependencies on welfare programs and offering temporary to permanent work opportunities with strict limitations on welfare program use; infusing regular education programs with learning blocks that encourage and promote graduation and job preparation; advancing vocational, technical, and on-the-job training; facilitating job and career placement; rebuilding deserted and damaged business properties; scheduling monthly community meetings to discuss and resolve local issue; providing counseling for those affected by violence and promoting basic and appropriate interaction skills between community officials and community members.
Protestors must face the realization that black-on-black crime is what primarily destroys their communities, and they must further grasp that law enforcement officials are the ones who have to intervene with those crimes. Refusal to deal with these facts has caused continual friction and has allowed groups such as Black Lives Matter to be maneuvered by black politicians, other movement figureheads and the predatory media. Violence will only continue to escalate without community intervention. When protest groups decide to rejoin the community at large and protect their own rather than their own agendas, Black Lives Will Matter.
Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-Avoiding a problem in its entirety does no good to the individuals involved. In a similar sense, regularly protesting and rioting does not prevent crime and violence within inner-city communities, but promote distrust, mayhem and discrimination. The Black Lives Matter group needs to take the bull by the horn, so to speak, instead of going on an all out rampage. While their main intent is to provide freedom and justice for all black souls, they should also strive to save black lives from their own race, since black on black crime is at an all time peak. Frankly, as a colored individual, we kill each other more than any other race.
With that said, promoting peace or reducing violence within inner-city communities is not a mere dream, but something that can be attained. I do believe that love should be of focal concern among people. With love, we won’t think badly or scheme against our fellow men, whether black or white. Instead of promoting riots and protests, the Black Lives Matter group should be teaching people within inner-cities to love and cherish each other; then they will be able to save more lives and get the true justice they seek.
Gastonia, NC Correspondent-Just as with the Occupy movement before it, and countless others over the years, the longer a group like Black Lives Matter exists, the more radical and lawless it will become. Those with an honest message to deliver generally do so and leave the group or move on into more constructive forms of advocating for social change. The ones left behind are the hardcore malcontents and inveterate complainers whose raison d’etre is protest, and who will refuse to be mollified no matter what is offered. They have axes to grind, and no amount of concessions or dialogue is going to stop them.
The violence in inner-city communities is, as it has been for the last half-century, increasingly appalling. For every one young man shot down by police, there are dozens if not hundreds killed by their fellow youths. The problem is not police brutality, over-enforcement, racial profiling or any of the other straw men thrown up by those wishing to foist blame off on anyone handy. The problem is a lack of parenting, responsibility and opportunity for kids who grow up in these areas.
When a kid grows up without a father or mother who hold a steady job, behave morally toward others and set a good example in their personal conduct, he’s missing out on the biggest element of creating successful young adults. When you add to that a culture that tells underprivileged kids that crime and criminal behavior are their only way out, and that it’s almost expected of them and that they won’t be punished severely, you’ve got a potent brew of discontent and failure.
Add in an unhealthy dose of music, film and other cultural icons who tell young inner-city kids that it’s cool to be a “gangsta” and that for young women, their best chance at success is to use their bodies rather than their minds, and it’s no wonder our cities are rotting from the inside.
We need a culture shift, and we need these “social change” organizations to start looking at the societies from which they spring and fomenting change there.