Young Black Male ViolenceSamuel Banks (letter to the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 13, 1993

Young Black Male Violence

Samuel Banks (letter to the editor, Sept. 28) alluded to the tragic violence pervasive in black communities throughout Baltimore and the United States.

He concluded by offering several areas he believed vital to reverse this sad state of affairs.

I concluded that solutions extend even deeper than some of the areas stated by Mr. Banks. For example, the church.

Although I firmly believe the church does have a vital role to play, I no longer believe that it is the pillar of the black community that it was for uncountable years, and is no longer the sole source of strength we will need for the battle ahead.

We can ill afford to continue blaming our past history in this country for what our young males are perpetrating on society today.

The time has come when we must ask ourselves, is this the way we thank, show gratitude and honor our forefathers? By torturing, terrorizing, maiming and killing our own and other people?

I don't think so.

I am tired of reading about young blacks killing each other, breaking into homes killing occupants, killing grandmothers, babies, senior citizens, police officers and any others who have the misfortune of crossing their path of wrath.

We cannot go on on this way. We must come to grips with the fact that we must ultimately give up on a generation of young black males.

It is too late to save them. We must completely sever the umbilicus, disown, disavow and disconnect from that generation regardless of how painful it might be.

We must develop the strength to abandon this "lost generation" and not concern ourselves with what happens to them.

Cruel? Maybe, but can we afford to let that generation continue to determine by its actions what our future in this country might be? Think about it.

Garland L. Crosby

Baltimore

'I Just Want to Be Safe'

I am writing in response to Carl T. Rowan's column entitled "Stamp Out Freedom, Stamp Out Crime" (Oct. 5).

To Carl Rowan and to everybody like him who believes that putting the National Guard on city streets is a "frightful step": You just don't get it, do you?

There are plenty of us out here who would welcome armed guardsmen on every city street. We would welcome curfews and gun control and other of these so-called "frightful steps."

We want to feel safe. We want to stop being afraid of being gunned down as bystanders to other people's wars.

We hate criminals, these people who see something they want and take it, who see somebody they hate and kill him -- no matter who else could walk into the paths of their bullets.

We hate these drug dealers taking over our streets and daring us to do something about it. We hate these people who decide how and when we die, these people who make us into victims of fear and violence and rape and robbery.

We can't afford high-tech burglar alarms and human bodyguards. We can't afford to live out our lives behind fences topped with barbed wire. Sure, we can make a difference in small ways, with our own children, through volunteerism. But we need protection while we're doing it.

It's this problem with social responsibility. Mr. Rowan and all the other guys who cherish their selfish idea of freedom so much they'll sacrifice the rest of us to keep it.

Gun sellers are making a killing in Florida right now. People are scared. But the gun sellers are also arming criminals. These gun merchants feel no sense of responsibility to the rest of us. They're making money hand over fist and forswearing any responsibility for what happens with the guns once they leave the stores.

The criminals don't care, either, for what happens to the rest of us. To them, we're sitting ducks.

They take no responsibility whatsoever for what they have done to their victims, whether the victim that day is an 80-year-old grandmother or a two-year-old child or a young mother or a teen-ager or me.

The dealers and these other criminals call it survival and they move on, never feeling remorse for what they've done to anybody else.

But simply because they have guns, they can take anything they want from me -- including my life. They can take my children, my husband. They can make me grieve for the rest of my life.

Because they have guns and because they have no sense of responsibility to anybody else, I don't have much of a chance against them.

I want protection. I want prevention. I want some way to even the odds.

If it takes putting armed guardsmen on every corner or cops on every street, so be it. If it takes paying higher taxes, so be it. If it takes overturning part of the Bill of Rights and abridging my right to own a gun, then so be it.

I would never need a gun if it weren't for the criminals, the drug dealers, the parasites who think nothing of infringing upon my freedom in order to satiate themselves. They're the ones who really want the guns.

So to Mr. Rowan and to all the other guys who pontificate from their lofty civil libertarian pedestals: I haven't abandoned common sense. I just want to be safe.

Pamela J. Yeckley

Baltimore

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