The extreme reaction concerning the deaths of black men at the hands of the police (deaths sometimes unavoidable, sometimes not) understandable in that the police are agents of the state, that they are authorized to use deadly force, and that they seem to be targeting black men disproportionately.
But what needs explanation is the lack of reaction to the vastly greater number of black men killed by other black men. The Washington Times has a good discussion of the question.
Former Baltimore cop Peter Moskos understands the anger over Freddie Gray’s death, but he wishes there were a little more outrage over the deaths of men like Kareen George, Andre Hunt and Tierell Wilder.
The three men are among the 74 black people murdered this year — as of Sunday — in Baltimore, as listed on The Baltimore Sun’s homicide page. Their murders — and the vast majority of the city’s 83 overall homicides this year — have generated no protests, rioting or mass uproar, unlike the death of Gray, 25, who died last month of spinal injuries while in police custody.
So who killed those 74 people? In all likelihood, other black people. A 2010 Bureau of Justice Statistics report shows that most murders are intraracial: From 1980 to 2008, 93 percent of black homicide victims were killed by other blacks, while 84 percent of the white victims were killed by other whites.
What frustrates Mr. Moskos and others is that the lopsided focus on police-caused deaths has obscured a far deadlier threat to the black community, namely black-on-black homicide.
“I try to shout about this,” says Mr. Moskos, author of the 2009 book “Cop in the Hood,” “but no one seems to listen or care.”
Mr. Moskos cites a stunning statistic from his book: In Baltimore’s Eastern district, more than 10 percent of black men are murdered before the age of 35, according to his analysis of crime and census data from 2003 to 2006.
Several decades ago I was a juror on the murder trial in Baltimore.
The facts were not much in dispute. A party was going on on the front porch of a row house n West Baltimore, a short distance from Bon Secours hospital. A teenager walked by. His nickname was PeeWee; the men on the porch insulted him to the point he started crying.
He went home and got his big brother, who had been drinking. The brother went up on the porch and told the instigator to stop picking on his little brother. As the brother turned his back to leave, the instigator plunged a knife into his back. The victim had enough strength to get to the nearby emergency room of Bon Secours, where he died. The police were called, and followed the trail of blood back to the front porch, where the party was still going on. They arrested the accused.
The public defender in his opening statement said he would bring evidence that there had been a knife fight and that his client had acted in self-defense. He didn’t, and all he could do was read the criminal record of the victim: many minor, and a few major offenses, but no serious violence. In his closing statement all he could do was plead for mercy.
The Prosecutor pointed out that premeditation could occur in a moment and asked for a conviction for first degree murder.
The jury consisted of ten black women and two white men: my younger self, and a man who was as old as I am now. The two white men voted for first degree murder; the black women wanted to acquit the accused, on the grounds that “He didn’t mean to hurt him.”
I was outraged at both the crime and the attitude of the black jurors. The victim was not a model citizen, but being stabbed in the back is the classic manner of despicable murder, and stabbing him for defending his little brother made it worse. The scene in the jury room was like the movie Twelve Angry Men: pounding on the table, shouting. I said I would stay in the jury room till hell froze over, but I was not going to vote for acquittal. We were a hung jury. We had to go back to the court several times for the judge to give us instructions. Finally we compromised on second degree murder, that is, without premeditation.
But the attitude of the black jurors troubled me. I was the one outraged at the murder of a black man; they were the ones who seem to accept it as a minor matter, certainly nothing to send anyone to jail over.
What is going on?
Is it a matter of shame? ¿Blacks don’t want to think about the shame that blacks are killing other blacks? – Just as many Catholics don’t want to admit that Catholic priests are molesting children and seducing women.
Police, black and white, may become hardened and callous by dealing with criminals all the time, but the police are putting their lives on the line to defend blacks from other blacks. I have heard that black policemen are especially furious at the disgraceful behavior of black low-lifes.
Policing in Baltimore can probably improve. Even suspected criminals should be treated with respect – after all, arrest does not equal conviction. But that will not lower the death toll, and making the police hesitant to enforce the law seems to be raising it in Baltimore.
The city has seen 40 shootings since April 28, the day after the city’s most intense day of rioting, including 10 on Thursday alone. There also have been 15 homicides in that span, bringing the year’s total to 82 — 20 more than at the same time last year.