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Face facts: Deadly violence isn’t a ‘conspiracy’

Updated: August 12, 2013 11:37AM



‘As for my people, children are their oppressors . . .” Isaiah 3:12

Conspiracy? If this homicidal scourge that stains our streets red with the blood of my people is a conspiracy, then we, African Americans, must be at least co-conspirators.

For the eyes of these urban assassins are brown. The finger most often wrapped around the trigger, some shade of brown. And the eyewitness accounts? Usually, they point to a young black male gunman seen fleeing the murder scene.

Bullets. Bodies. Blood and tears.

Some cry conspiracy. I have heard it, blowing like the wind. Musings that the Klan or rogue police or others may be fueling this toll — dressed like us, acting as us, under the cloak of night, involved in some larger scheme to annihilate us. And yet, chief in this murderous plot, I see mainly us. This much is as clear as the crack of gunfire.

Black. Male. Young. Sons, grandsons, little boys, sprouting up as a new generation with no regard for authority, for God, for human life — angrier, fiercer, more brutal than the last. Not all, but enough to oppress us all.

Conspiracy?

If it is, then we must consider ourselves to be co-conspirators — at least until all fathers choose to be fathers. Until mothers stop enabling their wayward sons. Until we teach our children, raise our children, save our children, find the resolve to stop this madness. Become better parents.

Until we re-create community, repair the broken village, nurture a new generation for whom murder is not as American as baseball and apple pie.

We will be co-conspirators until “the church” comes out of hiding. Until it gives more than it takes, and turns from its prosperity and genie-in-the-bottle theology and seeks to save the lost. Practices love instead of just preaching it.

We will be complicit until the music of the air — created by so-called artists we celebrate — no longer breathes misogyny, materialism and murder. Until our children know their ABCs better than the latest vulgar rap song. For as long as our preachers and politicians protect the status quo. Not all, but enough to oppress a people.

I can hear it now: “But what about jobs? Programs? Federal dollars?”

What if they never come?

“Brother Fountain, now, why you putting our business in the streets?

It’s already in the streets. Post-weekend headline: “12 dead, 74 wounded.”

We must stop making excuses. For I, too, believe, “No one can save us from us but us.”

Conspiracy? The man charged with shooting 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins? Black. Fifteen-year-old Hadiya Pendleton’s alleged killers? Black. The man charged in Frances Colon’s murder? Black.

“Conspiracy” may be sexier than reality. It may be easier to believe a lie than to deal with truth. The truth that no child is born a killer. The truth that “we” are raising murderous Cains from the cradle who arise to slay their brothers — and also their sisters. Truth is, unless we cure this scourge, the so-called “schools-to-prison pipeline” may become a womb-to-prison pipeline. Truths supported by cold facts:

The fact, according to Chicago Police data, is that in 2011, the most frequent ages of murder offenders at the time of clearance of a homicide case were 17 and 18.

Fact is, from 1991 to 2011, the largest percentage of murder offenders were ages 17 to 25 — accounting alone for 6,807 murders over that 21-year period. Another 1,096 murders were committed by youths 14 to 16, and 72 by youths 10 to 13.

Killers — mostly male. Mostly young. Mostly black. And mostly our children — our homegrown oppressors.

Conspiracy? Whatever it is, it’s got to stop.



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