After over a decade of writing the H.I.T., I have decided that this will be its last column. I have really enjoyed writing this column and we have conducted some really great and thought-provoking investigations over the years, but it’s time to change it up.
I will continue to write for the Spokesman, but I will start a new column in October that focuses on public policy and politics. These two areas, I feel, are not being adequately addressed in our community.
The spirit of the H.I.T. will live on in the new column and in many regards it will be carried on by other columnist here at the Spokesman. I will use this last H.I.T. column to feature a few lives that were taken away from us too soon.
Kevin Brewer was shot and killed on August 3, 2000 while he was watching a fight that was taking place at a North Minneapolis park. He was 11 years old. There were 100 other people who were watching the fight, but none of them have come forward with any information regarding who murdered Kevin.
Quantell Braxton was killed on August 20, 2011 while he was walking over to a friend’s house. He was murdered on the 1700 block of Newton Avenue in North Minneapolis. He was 14 years old. So far no one has come forward with information that has led to the capture of Quantell’s killer.
Terrell Mayes was shot and killed on December 26, 2011 after being struck by a stray bullet that went through the side of his house in North Minneapolis. Terrell was three years old and so far no one has come forward in his case.
I mention these three young lives lost because with all the talk and protest about “you fill in the blank lives matter,” I don’t want us to forget about these young lives. Children murdered in the fashion that these three young people were don’t get organized protests that shut down city streets. They don’t get protests that disrupt the drug trafficking that takes place in the neighborhoods in which they were murdered. They don’t get protests calling for the prosecution of their killers. In fact they often get pushed to the statistical wayside of urban violence only to be remembered by their family members, those close to them, and the investigators who are charged with trying to solve their murders.
I chose these three young people because their tragic and senseless deaths really troubled me and caused me to question somethings. I mean, how can we comprehend a three year old getting shot through a wall in his house as he was running for cover? How do you explain an 11 year old shot in front of 100 people and no one says anything? How do you explain a teenager getting killed while simply walking to a friend’s house?
Growing up in North Minneapolis I experienced similar events, but by the grace of God I am here today. When I was 10 years old I was almost shot while playing basketball at Bethune when two rival gangs got into it on the courts and just started shooting at each other with reckless disregard for anyone. When I was 17 years old, I, along with my friend, were shot at by gang members while walking down the alley behind the old tire shop on Broadway and Irving. The gang members had just shot someone in the alley and we happened to be walking through the alley on our way back from Tom Thumb. I say again that it’s by the grace of God that I am still here.
All lives are important, all lives. Quantell’s, Kevin’s, and Terrell’s families all grieved and still grieve their deaths. Their deaths are no less important then a person who happens to lose their life at the hands of a government agent acting under the color of law.
Unfortunately, in the eyes of some “blank lives matter” members, their lives are less important as demonstrated by their actions. The most recent statistics state that between 2009-13, 92 percent of Blacks were killed by other Blacks and 81.5 percent of Whites were killed by other Whites. “Lives matter” members focus on the approximately 132 Blacks that lose their lives in confrontations with agents of the government every year.
“Blank lives matter” movement members have gotten a lot of attention by focusing on the 132, but regrettably the approximately 6,200 Blacks who are killed by other Blacks every year don’t get the same attention. They may not get the same level of attention as the 132, but they do get buried in the same dirt and their families grieve just as much.
If you have information on any of these senseless murders call Crime Stoppers 800-222-8477.
Booker T Hodges welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.