On the highway to self-imposed genocide
Are we heading for a self-imposed crown for again becoming “Murderopolis,” as Minneapolis was called in 1992-93, when we averaged nearly 70 homicides per year? It was two homicides per year in the 1950s, five in the 1960s, 11 in the 1970s. Then, nearly 30 per year in the first decade of 21st century, approaching 40 per year for this decade.
Gangs (and other mutual interest and community groups) are trying to work out a truce, as tit for tat killings eventually leaves no one left to kill. Unlike the Jets and Sharks in West Side Story, the murder “dance” is all too real. People die. We must support the gangs while they work out their truce. We all need to step up.
We are not a killing people, but we must face the elephant in the room that is making us a crying, grieving people. As Andrew Young has said, “the real problem is the fact that 93 percent of Blacks are killed by other Blacks.” Not facing and admitting that, and advocating violence, is like saying Black lives really don’t matter.
Each DOA (dead on arrival) — whether at the scene, at the hospital, or sometime later — creates a new pool of suffering grievers, regardless of age, gender or orientation of the African American victim. Will we take steps to end or speed up our becoming a little Chicago (320 DOAs so far this year)? Regardless, every death brings pain, grief, and sadness over a lost loved one, and fear. Most shootings remain unsolved, becoming “cold cases,” another significant term within Black America.
As part of the chief’s community response support team, we see people of different families suffering through pain brought by the death of a loved one. As I write this column, I have just returned from a shooting on the 1400 block of Morgan Avenue North, one block from the 4th Precinct, where a 38-year-old African American lost his life because of a misunderstanding. Another, a 19-year-old African American female lost her life on Penn Avenue North. Her cousin was killed four days later in a blaze of gunfire in a parking lot along the 1100 block of West Broadway behind a nonprofit called Emerge.
South Minneapolis is also a shooting gallery. Earlier this month, an African American lost his life in an ambush along the 2400 block of Oakland Ave. South, dying last week. We are on a road which does not discriminate about time, place or the amount of gunfire that is needed. Our dark figure of self-imposed genocide will kill whether with one bullet or 20 bullets in a body.
Homicides force good men like Bishop Howell and other respected clergy to have to preside over more than deaths, as they also preside over this self-imposed genocide of young and old African Americans.
People are numb. Despite even innocent grandmothers being shot and killed, few people are stepping forward to express their concerns as a community that cares and that still has compassion for those who are the targets of killers. There seems to be a growing of indifference, an indifference that is recognized by those who kill.
We are a smaller version of Chicago, destroying our community, tearing apart everything we have fought for and dreamed about for making our community a safer place for all of our citizens. We have addressed this on numerous occasions, far too numerous, and we will continue to address it as we must confront it. Let’s not let a highway to genocide excuse the slow extinction of our race of people.
How sad, my friends, how sad