Sadly, news of Black on Black shootings and murders continue to dominate headlines, while this epidemic continues to plague our nation. Although the city of Chicago has been the focal point of most mainstream media attention, sadly the city of Houston has become an increasingly new hotbed for this type of violence, and citizens are truly concerned.
KILLING OUR YOUNG
This past Saturday night, another senseless act of Black on Black violence has rocked the streets of Houston, Texas, and it has led to the loss of two young African-American lives.
According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), nearly 100 people were at a home in the 7300 block of Enchanted Creek Drive near FM 529 located in the Cypress area around 11pm on Saturday night when a shooter opened fire in the crowd of partygoers.
According to the HCSO, all of the people in attendance were teenagers and young adults who had responded to a social media invitation to come celebrate the 18th birthday of Mariah Boulden, who lives at the home. Officials said Boulden’s mother was there as well.
The shooting happened just before 11pm, when Arielle Shepherd, 16, and Queric Richardson, 17, were fatally murdered after being one of the many people shot in the melee. Richardson died at the scene and Shepherd died at a hospital. Richardson’s 16-year-old brother, Kenneth Guidry, was also shot while trying to save him, but was not fatally wounded.
In addition to the two fatalities, 18 other people suffered gunshot wounds from the mass shooting and a 19th victim suffered a broken leg. According to HCSO officials, partygoers started running for their lives when the shots began to ring out and several even jumped out of second story windows to escape.
HCSO officials stated that most of the guests at the party were high school students from the Cypress area and Katy ISD has confirmed that both teen victims attended Morton Ranch High School in Katy.
VIOLENCE FOR NO REASON
Two men were arrested on Monday morning, in connection to the shooting, according to officials.
Willie Young, 21, was initially charged with deadly conduct, and Randy Stewart, 18, was charged with aggravated assault. Although charges could be upgraded against Randy Stewart. in probable cause court early Tuesday, charges against Willie Young were dropped and he was released.
Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said the shooting started after someone fired a pistol in the air during a birthday celebration.
“Anytime you promote a birthday party on social media, you have no control over who to expect at your door,” Garcia said. “What it does is indicate, that you’re saying to the social media world, ‘I don’t know who you are, but you’re invited.’ That’s not a good practice.”
In the ensuing commotion, someone else began firing into the crowd, forcing party-goers to flee the home in a panicked rush to escape into the narrow street.
“It is just a horrible combination of immaturity, access to a firearm and the inability to control oneself,” Garcia said.
Boulden, who invited people for the party, said she was outside when all of the commotion began and that she tried to take precautions and never expected this to happen at her birthday party.
“My brother and them were patting people down. They (the suspects) didn’t want to get patted down and they walked off. And then I guess they came back and went through the gate,” Boulden said. “They weren’t supposed to be here, whoever they were.”
Boulden said she heard the shooting and ran toward the house, but the door was locked, so her cousin grabbed her and they ran down the street to call 9-1-1. HCSO officials said investigators arrived within five minutes of receiving the call, and the sense of chaos remained.
Sheriff Garcia said that alcohol and drugs are currently being ruled out as a primary factor in the shootings, but indicated that the suspects may be gang-affiliated. No weapons were recovered from the scene.
ANOTHER TRAGIC MURDER
The house party incident comes on the heels of another fatal shooting that took place outside a food store in Houston’s Third Ward, whereby a man got involved in an altercation with several others and ended up getting shot in the head, according to Houston police.
The shooting occurred on Dowling Street near Southmore Boulevard around 8:30 p.m. on last Wednesday and according to the Houston Police Department, the shooting victim was taken to Ben Taub in critical condition where he later died.
According to witnesses, the two or three other males involved in the fight, including the shooter, fled the scene before police arrived.
VIOLENCE MUST BE ADDRESSED
This issue of Black on Black violence is a serious issue that must be addressed before it is too late.
The Trayvon Martin shooting opened up a wound that has never healed in this country between Whites and Blacks, causing everyone to revisit an ugly past full of ugly actions toward Blacks in this country. Black people have found themselves fighting against the brutality of slavery, as well as the economic, social, political and judicial implications of slavery.
There is no denying that Black people have historically suffered at the hands of White people in this country and have had to deal with the recovery aspects of what was taken and withheld from us, along with building a strong foundation ourselves.
Sadly though, hate, greed and a lust for power and position have caused many Black people to become their own worst enemy and oppressor.
If you take a minute to look back on the history of African-Americans in this country, you will learn a lot about its painful past; a past that consists of the malicious murders and the deliberate neglect of a people, who endured this treatment for several centuries.
During those tragic times, the atrocities that plagued Blacks were primarily carried out by their White oppressors and slave masters. Fast forward to 2013, and you will find that Black people no longer need the help of their White oppressors to carry out the mass genocide of its own people; they are doing a better job of contributing to their own demise by themselves.
This issue of senseless killings and Black on Black violence, goes far deeper than the acts themselves; it goes to root of the issue plaguing Black people. There is an apparent lack of self-love that appears to have infiltrated the minds and hearts of Black people, so much so that to kill another Black person seems acceptable and normal.
Every day, the news is filled with stories of people committing senseless killings over senseless things such as gang violence led to this epidemic. The brazen callousness that many Black people have, that allows them to justify their actions and believe it is okay to deliberately seek out and harm another person is a disturbing trend.
Black people are quick to blame the media; or the White man; or the system; or the government; or anyone that looks like they can blame for this epidemic, but seemingly appear to avoid the true responsibility of looking in the mirror at themselves.
OWN WORST ENEMY
Black people make up roughly 13% of the U.S. population, while whites make up roughly 73%.
The U.S. Department of Justice released a report in November 2011, showing that Black people have been responsible for committing the most intraracial murders in the entire country from 1980 to 2008.
In the Bureau of Justice Statistics report entitled “Homicide Trends in the United States,” statistics show that from 1980 to 2008, 93% of Black victims were killed by Black offenders.
These statistics are startling, considering that the overall percentage of Black murder victims during that same timeframe was 47.4% and the overall percentage of Black offenders during that time was 52.5%. Blacks are disproportionately represented among homicide victims and offenders, compared to any other ethnic groups in the country.
In 2008, the homicide victimization rate for Blacks (19.6 homicides per 100,000) was 6 times higher than the rate for Whites (3.3 homicides per 100,000).
Most of the people who are murdered and those who are committing the murders are young Black men. Many live in inner-city neighborhoods, where poverty is a significant factor in high homicide rates, gangs and the drug epidemic.
In major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago, elected officials have chosen to commit a significant number of their law enforcement professionals to police areas of their cities that have a high propensity for violent crime, in order to stem the violence.
Some cities have adopted a zero-tolerance approach to addressing and policing juvenile crimes, while others partner with community groups and churches to provide community centers and after-school programs for the youth.
Honestly, without a dedicated approach to addressing this issue, every city across this country will continue to be plagued by this epidemic, including Houston.