The Ferguson Twitter Brigade has always asserted that “Black” lives instead of “All” lives matter is a necessary distinction in today’s society due to a cultural devaluation of persons of color. Opponents of “Black Lives Matter” (BLM from here on out) have been quick to bring up the somewhat improper but oft cited “Black on Black” crime.
“Black on Black crime” is not an adequate counter to the BLM philosophy because in terms of proportionality statistics, suspect race vs. victim race, Black murderers kill Black victims at a similar rate to white murderers in reference to White victims. The contrast is in the sheer number of those victims which the suspect-to-victim comparison statistic conceals. Unfortunately, references to racial makeup of homicide suspects is typically used to derive implications about entire races, and it should go without saying that MURDERERS OF ANY RACE ARE NOT A REPRESENTATIVE SAMPLE OF THAT RACE.
Victims on the other hand constitute a greater cross section of the population indicative of all walks of life and circumstances. According to FBI data from 2013, there were:
- 6261 Black homicide victims (51.1%)
- 5537 White homicide victims (45.2%)
- 308 Other (2.5%)
- 137 Unknown (1.2%)
- 12,253 Total
Note: Statistical errors exclude Hispanic victims into either Black or White categories. The FBI has separate data for Hispanic victims where a further breakdown is available in submitted UCR (Uniform Crime Report) data.
This data is particularly troubling given that Whites constitute 77.7% of the population and Blacks respectively only constitute 13.2% of the population and yet make up nearly 50% of homicide victims. However, what continues to be head scratching is the willful insistence by the BLM movement, most egregiously in the St. Louis area, to continually fixate on not only black deaths primarily at the hands of white police, but deaths resulting from dangerous encounters with violent suspects by police.
A refrain of “but other victims are protested too” can already be heard from somewhere in the distance. However, no one can honestly argue that any such protest or prayer vigil, such as the “We Must Stop Killing Each Other” campaign, is in any way comparable to the months of unrest, corresponding violence and vitriol associated with the death of Michael Brown (Ferguson), the death of VonDeritt Myers (St. Louis City), or the death of Antonio Martin (Berkeley).
In a slightly off-topic, yet related story, a few nights ago, a man got into an argument in Berkeley repeating the notion that “We must stop killing each other.” This infuriated an irony-immune gunman who started shooting and chased the first individual all the way to the Bel-Ridge Police Station where he finally put a bullet in an upper level window of the building before speeding off. Our local Pulitzer Prize winning news paper was apparently AWOL on this one.
Anyway, one could argue that in the immediate aftermath of the confusion surrounding the Michael Brown shooting and the utter failure to properly release/clarify information, that the social climate of the moment gave rise to a hyper vigilance when it came to community allegations of police misconduct. However, months of record breaking homicide totals throughout the city and county without a proportional response from the BLM movement would seem to contradict such an assertion. In this region the focus of BLM protests is on violent suspects who are shot by police, either in the furtherance of a crime or through tragic suicidal decision making.
The final nail in the coffin to the notion that BLM is truly focused on reconstituting community value in Black Lives, is the recent cases of same day incidents:
On 8/9/2015, the one year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, Tyrone Harris (an individual already with a pending gun case) got into a gun battle with other protesters and then shot up an unmarked, but red & blue light running, police car who responded to stop him. Meanwhile, two teenagers were shot in the chest on Canfield by unknown gunmen while standing next to the Michael Brown memorial. There is no evidence that they were doing anything wrong, while Tyrone Harris becomes a hashtag, a sign of divine infallibility to this movement.
Today, on 08/19/2015, the one year anniversary of Kajime Powell’s death, St. Louis City Police executed a search warrant in an area near where a Tuskegee Airman was recently robbed twice in a single incident. This Officer Involved Shooting is still very recent, but rumors indicate that one gunman was shot and killed by police, while a second was shot and injured. Already crowds have begun gathering with the usual vitriol and lacking the usual care/consideration for facts. Meanwhile, in Ferguson, a NINE-YEAR-OLD LITTLE GIRL, named Jamyla Bolden, was shot to death. Her mother was also shot, but was only struck in the leg and is expected to survive. Jamyla and her mother evidently don’t warrant protests because their lives have been devalued below that of an armed gunman.
Similarly, during the Post-Grand Jury Riots, on 11/24/2014, DeAndre Joshua was shot in the head and set on fire in his car on Canfield. However, Michael Brown’s name continues to be a call to “Fight Back” and most people in BLM couldn’t even tell you who DeAndre was. Those who can are far too busy focusing on others. While present for the sporadic unrest since the Grand Jury, I have NEVER heard DeAndre‘s name mentioned by BLM protesters. He has no chant. He has no voice.
The reason why BLM lacks credibility is not because Michael Brown, Kajime Powell, VonDeritt Myers, or Antonio Martin deserved to die. What someone deserves has no bearing on whether or not they constitute a threat to another human being at the time of their death. BLM lacks credibility because #MikeBrown, #KajimePowell, #VonderittMyers, and #AntonioMartin are household names to a subset of groups claiming to want to restore value in the lives of our Black brothers and sisters but DeAndre Joshua and Jamyla Bolden aren’t valued above the other patron saints since they didn’t threaten the lives of police officers.