Monday, July 23, 2012

The Real Mass Murderers Among Us

Safe to say, Afro-Americans have suffered more discrimination in our society than any other population segment. Yet, other than Colin Ferguson, the Long Island Railroad shooter who killed six commuters and wounded 19 others in 1993, I’m hard-pressed to recall any other instance over the last several decades when an Afro-American vented his frustrations and executed a mass shooting and murder as perpetrated last week by James Holmes, another white man, in Aurora, Colo., or in Columbine, Colo., or at Virginia Tech, or in Tucson, Ariz., or just last week ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where, thankfully, none of the 17 people shot in a bar died (okay, technically, the Virginia Tech shooter was Asian, but hardly a member of a discriminated race).

Through their gangs, blacks have the unfortunate habit of shooting and often killing their own, both gang members and innocents, often children unlucky to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Those are serial events, not the singular violence shooters like Holmes trigger. You’d think if anyone could be justified in taking it out on society it would be an Afro-American, or maybe an Hispanic-American. Thankfully, they don’t.

I don’t mean to belittle the tragedy in Aurora, but the real tragedy of America is that gang-related murders evoke little more than hand-wringing and not enough resolve to alter the conditions that are killing hope in minority neighborhoods. In Chicago, for example, 272 have been killed this year through June 30, mostly from gang-related incidents. That’s up 36% from a year ago. 

Since the mass assault in the movie theater in Aurora we’ve been trying to analyze the alleged shooter, determine his motive, flesh out his psyche, somehow try to figure out what would drive an individual to do such an extreme act against society. Perhaps it would be more worthwhile to figure out why whole groups of men have abandoned social mores. Let’s figure out how to stop their discriminate and indiscriminate shooting rampages.

We’ll never stop random acts of mass murder, no more than we can eradicate random acts of terrorism. But we must work to stop what has become “institutionalized” murder by gangs, even if it’s against other gang members. We don’t tolerate Mafia wars. We shouldn’t tolerate minority wars. We cannot allow neighborhoods of our cities to degenerate into semblances of drug-cartel controlled Mexico where the value of a life has lost its true meaning.