Mark Figley: American cities are in shambles

By Mark Figley - Guest Columnist

Visit any major U.S. city today and it can safely be described as unsafe. Such cities also likely have a Democrat mayor and power structure to match. But it wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time, these cities were thriving and had crime rates much lower than today. In addition, their schools were strong and neighborhood services were provided efficiently for growing populations.

Today, our cities are shells of what they once were. Their once-positive attributes are long since gone; replaced by negative ones we’ve grown weary of hearing about. Now, U.S. cities are ravaged by urban decay and crime. What is the impact on their black citizenry?

For one, 7,000 blacks are murdered in the U.S. every year; a rate six times higher than the combined rate for whites and Hispanics. These murders occur primarily in black, urban neighborhoods. And as police respond to the commission of crimes, the odds increase that suspects will be confronted by armed officers. Yet according to FBI statistics, while police kill approximately 400 people annually; only a third of these are black. The remainder of black victims are killed at the hands of fellow blacks. This happens in places like Chicago, where despite some of the toughest gun control laws on the books, a murder occurs every 12-1/2 hours and 2017 homicides are outpacing 2016’s total of 762; a number that was the highest total in 19 years.

Although it has become common to blame police for seemingly every death of a black shooting victim, author Heather McDonald tells another story in her recent book, “The War On Cops.” According to McDonald, “Blacks were charged with 62% of all robberies, 57% of all murders, and 45% of all assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties in 2009, while constituting only 15% of the population in those counties. From 2005-2014, 40% of cop-killers were black. Given the racially lopsided nature of gun violence, a 26% rate of black victimization by police is not evidence of bias.”

The sad truth is that blacks have more to fear from blacks, especially in America’s cities, than from the police. If gun violence in the U.S. is to ever be overcome and our major cities made safer, law-abiding blacks must step forward to address the primary culprits in minority shooting deaths across the nation. This begins with speaking out against those who spread a message of divisiveness and hate.

According to conservative Professor Walter E. Williams, the same can be said for socio-economic conditions affecting the black community. In 1960, 22 percent of black children were raised by single mothers. By 2010, this figure had jumped to over 70 percent. Today, 30 percent of blacks live below the poverty level, with the rate jumping to 37 percent for those headed by single black mothers. Children raised in homes without fathers are more likely to remain in poverty, drop out of school, turn to gangs and crime and go to prison. Not the more than $22 trillion spent on poverty programs since the 1960s, eight years of Barack Obama, or even the existence of Donald Trump can change these facts.

The time is long overdue to disavow those whose agenda is to enrich themselves by stirring our racial pot. Listening to political candidates outside the Democrat Party who address issues and offer real solutions to problems affecting black voters is a sensible first step toward strengthening the black family, confronting black-on-black crime and returning black neighborhoods to what they were in the 1950s and early ‘60s. These goals can be further achieved by working proactively with investors and police in building trust.

Throughout America’s history, the need has always existed for peaceful protest and the exercise of free speech to ensure the ideals spelled out in our Constitution. Yet the goals and end-all of such action should be transparent and not characterized by radical intolerance and violence.

We can all be pushed toward mayhem, but when it becomes common to ignore facts and direct violence toward police and rational individuals who support sensible solutions, society has spiraled out of control and the common values we once held dear no longer have meaning. Slavery and discrimination, although evil, are not to blame for the entirety of black America’s plight. When agendas become politicized and intimidation is used to silence those who seek to refute false and dangerous narratives, society is diminished for all of us. Martin Luther King may have put it best when he said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

By Mark Figley

Guest Columnist

Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. Reach him a

Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. Reach him a

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