It was November 2nd, 2015.
On this cold Monday afternoon, 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee was playing with a few other children in South-side Chicago’s Dawes park. Dwright Boone-Doty, then 21, approached Lee, and begin to earn his trust by playing basketball with him. After picking up Lee’s basketball, he lured Tyshawn to a nearby alley, following orders from another man, Corey Morgan, then 26, As 22-year-old Kevin Edwards doubled as lookout and getaway driver. At that moment, State Attorney Margaret Hillman says Doty opened fire at close range execution style, hitting Tyshawn several times, killing him almost instantly. Later in a recorded jailhouse conversation, Doty bragged about it, remarking how funny he thought it was. According to prosecutors, this murder was in retaliation of the alleged shooting by Tyshawn’s Father, Pierre Stokes, that killed Morgan’s brother and wounded his mother. While this is abhorrent, unfathomable and heart-wrenching, that is not the greater tragedy. That this is not unique to Chicago, where the average Black on Black death count nearly eclipses that of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined is not the greater tragedy. What makes this and stories like this the greater tragedies is that these stories happen in Black communities all over America every day, every month of every year. Names like Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks get the media and nationwide spotlight, while names like Chicago’s Hadiya Pendleton, Atlanta’s Secoriea Turner and Dallas’s Brandoniya Bennet go without mention simply because of the skin color and occupation of their assailants. That is the Black communities’ biggest secret, but unfortunatley not its greatest shame.
When the FBI’s crime statistics for 2019 came out reporting the over 7,500 Black homicides, mostly at Black hands, you could literally hear the collective pins drop in Black communities everywhere. As if on cue, The Washington Post’s 2019 crime statistics report revealed that less than 10 confirmed police involved shooting deaths of Blacks occurred-in all of 2019. The media atmosphere was eerily silent, as though Black America was trying to ignore the two 3,000-pound cats that were suddenly let out of their respective bags. While the Black crime epidemic is known by many but ignored by most, these tragedies have been going on for many, many decades. However, that is not in question. What is in question is why this is allowed to continue, virtually unchecked. While the bait and switch is clearly being attempted by erroneously reporting that police involved shootings are at epidemic status, statistics and history both tell a quite different story. Contrary to the popular narratives, this is far from an attack on the Black population; these wounds to the Black community by and large are self-inflicted.
This quote from renowned American psychotherapist and writer Steven Levenkron may bring clarity to this perspective: “The nerves of the skin send pain signals to the brain to warn us of the danger from an impending injury. In the case of self-inflicted wounding, this pain acts as the body’s own defense mechanism to stop one from proceeding in the effort at physical injury. If a person proceeds despite the pain, that means that he or she is motivated by something stronger than the pain, something that makes him or her capable of ignoring or enduring it.” As an expert in the area of Anorexia and self-inflicted injury, he directs us to the essence of the problem to better understand the gravity of it, in order to negate misleading emotional attachments. The subject at hand ignores any discomfort caused or endured, simply to ensure the furtherance of its agenda. For further illumination, this fact-based article from Bretbart.com must be considered:
“1). Black People (mostly men) commit a grossly disproportionate amount of crime.
In 2012, White males were 38% of the population and committed 4,582 murders. That same year, Black males were just 6.6 percent of the population but committed a staggering 5,531 murders. In other words: Black men–at just a fifth of the size–committed almost 1,000 more murders than their White counterparts. 2). Despite making up just 13% of the population, Blacks committed half of homicides in the United States for nearly 30 years. DOJ statistics show that between 1980 and 2008, Black people committed 52% of the homicides. In 2013, Black criminals committed 38% of the murders; Whites accounted for just 31%. There are five times fewer Black people than White people in America and, yet they consistently carry out a larger share of the crimes? Given this rate, it is no wonder that there are not more assistances where cops kill Black criminals.
3). It would take cops 40 years to kill as many Black men as have died at the hands of other Black men in 2012 alone.
University of Toledo criminologist Dr. Richard R. Johnson examined the latest crime data from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports and Centers for Disease Control and found that an average of 4,472 Black men were killed by other Black men annually between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2012.”
Although many in the Black community currently feign shock and awe concerning this overwhelming malady, this was for a short time both an important and disconcerting issue-even in the Rap community. 1991’s release of Boogie Down Productions, “Self-Destruction” seemed to echo that the Black community by and large was genuinely concerned about the epidemic of Black-on-Black crime. Performed by a collaboration of the nation’s hottest Hip Hop and Rap artists at the time calling themselves, “The Stop The Violence Movement,”, the lyrics appeared to send a message to the world that Blacks had had enough: “Let’s get together or we’ll be fallin apart,
I heard a brother shot another. It broke my heart.
I don’t understand the difficulty, people,
Love your brother, treat him as an equal.
They call us animals-mmm mmm; I don’t agree with them.
I’ll prove them wrong, but right is what you’re proving them.
Take heed before I lead to what I’m sayin-
Or we’ll all be on our knees, prayin’.” Sadly, this did not last. The impact of drugs, money, and power coupled with the race-baiting rhetoric of those like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson spoke to the need of Black Americans to revert back to victimology status. It was during this time that crime rose significantly in these communities. The 1992 Rodney King riots taking place mostly in L.A. did more to cement these findings. On the time-honored, much over-used premise of police brutality, Los Angelians once again burned Black-owned businesses, and took out their frustrations with the politicians they themselves elected by attacking innocent White people, like the unsuspecting truck driver, Reginald Denny. Rather than eliminate those pushing dissension and deleterious programs, those seeking names for themselves were allowed to spread their messages, even rise to positions of power in local municipalities. In addition, the promotion of Planned Parenthood clinics on most street corners, along with the support of corrupt politicians more obsessed with power than people, allowed the populace to be eradicated as fast as it was created. Statistically speaking, half of pregnant Black Women in any given year were guaranteed not to carry their babies to term. These were not the results of outside influences but rather a schism within the body. Like a self-administered cancer, the destructive pathogen was purposefully spread throughout the communities. In this article from Psychology Today, we once again can see how self-destruction works, from the point of view of what happens when an individual desires to hurt themselves. Clearly, there are glaring similarities in the actions of these persons, and that of predominately Black communities: “Individuals who self-injure may feel that doing so helps release pent-up feelings of anxiety, anger, or sadness. But evidence finds that over time, those raw emotions—along with additional feelings of guilt and shame—will continue to be present, and may even worsen. In addition, self-harm can be dangerous in itself, even if the individual has no wish to cause themselves significant or long-lasting damage. The roots of self-harming behavior are often found in early childhood trauma, including physical, verbal, or sexual abuse. It may also be an indication of other serious mental health issues that are independent of trauma, such as depression, anxiety, or borderline personality disorder. In some cases, self-harm that arises suddenly may be an attempt to regain control after a particularly disturbing experience, such as being assaulted or surviving another traumatic event.” Though these descriptions are difficult to ignore, the facts are much worse. The blame of the self-destructive actions within the Black community are cast on everyone-with the exception of those at whose feet the responsibility lies-the Black community and its inhabitants. Until the communities in which these issues are prevalent begin to recognize the challenges within, they must withhold casting blame without. In the words of author and radio host, Larry Elder, “You cannot have an honest discussion about police brutality, without an honest discussion of Black-on-Black-crime.” Much like those whose conditions prompt them to self-mutilate, they are the only ones that ultimately hold the keys to a cure. They alone bear the responsibility of acknowledging the fact that the issues and problems currently faced will never cease, until the self-fulfilling prophecy is no longer perpetuated.
-Lawrence Johnson, Sr.