Politics & Policy

The Silence around Ferguson

Proteating the Ferguson grand jury decision in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)
Sometimes, it seems, black lives don’t matter.

Millions of moms and dads will celebrate this Thanksgiving break with their kids. Alas, Michael Brown’s parents will mark this holiday without their late, world-famous son. That is a sad fact, whatever one thinks about the blazing controversy that has engulfed Ferguson, Mo.

Jermaine Jones’s family, too, will not share turkey and gravy with their son. On October 18, Jones, 29, stood with a few friends on a street in Berkeley, Mo., adjacent to Ferguson. Police say an unknown black male opened fire, killing Jones and wounding three other black men near him. (Strangely, Jones’s sister, Margaree Dixson, was shot fatally a half-mile away, just three hours earlier. In her case, too, police suspect yet another unidentified black man.)

“There’s too much violence going on,” Nicole Rice, Jones’s sister, told KTVI. “I can’t sleep. I can’t think. I can’t work. I can’t do anything wondering if my son will be a victim to the streets.”

Why has Jones’s death not unleashed riots and looting? Simple: Jones was killed by a fellow black man. Therefore, his death and his loved ones’ agony generate silence.

As a St. Louis County grand jury ruled Monday, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, 28, lawfully shot Brown, 18, in self-defense last August 9. This decision has fueled widespread chaos, including arson in several cities and infernos in Ferguson that cremated 25 local businesses. The national outrage still is at full boil over this white cop shooting an unarmed black man who acted very aggressively after stealing cigars from a convenience store.

But one can hear birds chirp while listening for public outcry over the deaths of black citizens killed by black perpetrators. Somehow, these black lives don’t seem to matter.

Ferguson is within the St. Louis metropolitan area. The FBI’s latest homicide-rate data ranked St. Louis as America’s fourth deadliest city. Its 38 killings per 100,000 residents in 2013 put it behind only Nos. 1 to 3, Detroit, New Orleans, and Newark.

Drawing on FBI figures and his own research, University of Missouri–St. Louis criminologist David A. Klinger counts 1,265 murders in his city from 2003 through 2012. Approximately 90 percent of those killed were black, reports Klinger, a former LAPD officer. Among these 1,138 decedents, roughly 90 percent (1,025) were slain by other blacks. Klinger found 32 blacks killed by cops, with 22 of them shot dead by white officers. So, across 10 years, white cops killed a whopping 2 percent of St. Louis’s black homicide victims. Investigations indicated that all of these police killings were legally justified.​

“While I understand the people are concerned about the use of deadly force by the police, by far — about 50 to 1 — more blacks in St. Louis are killed by other blacks as compared to white police officers,” Klinger told KMOX-TV.

Meanwhile, 98 percent of black murders go virtually unremarked. Where are the angry crowds demanding justice for blacks such as these, who were wiped out in St. Louis by other blacks in recent memory?

• Willie Earl Reed, 54, faces first-degree murder charges for taking a baseball bat and beating to death his girlfriend, Delores Hundley, 64, on March 24.

Dominic Arrington, 38, allegedly stabbed to death April Fields on January 28. The 25-year-old business student just had dropped her daughter Skylar, 3, at her day-care center. Arrington had been on parole since 2004 for the 1995 killing of his then-girlfriend’s son, also age 3.

Carnez Winslett, 36, was gunned down outside his birthday party on September 7, 2013. Police say Darnell Hollings, 21, shot ten bullets at Winslett and his guests. Winslett was wounded mortally. Three other black men were struck, but survived. Hollings also is among four men charged with non-fatally striking hot-dog vendor Edward Newa in the skull with a ball-peen hammer that they just had shoplifted from a Home Depot that August 21.

“What about the poor black child who was killed by another black child?” former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani correctly asked on last Sunday’s Meet the Press. “Why aren’t you protesting that?”

Giuliani also told the Washington Post:

The danger to a black child in America is not a white police officer. That’s going to happen less than 1 percent of the time. The danger to a black child . . . is another black. . . . If my child were shot by a police officer, I would be very, very frustrated. I’d also be frustrated if my son were shot by a gangster in the street. But if the chances were — that my son would be shot by the gangster in the street — nine times out of ten, I’d spend an awful lot of time on the nine times out of ten.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports demonstrate that in 2013, 90 percent of black murder victims were killed by other blacks. Among whites, 83 percent of those snuffed out died at the hands of other whites. Only 8 percent of blacks who were killed that year were slain by whites. Black-on-white murders were just 14 percent of all white homicides last year.

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn recently excoriated demonstrators who, predictably, rail against police shootings while ignoring black-on-black homicide. In a stirring statement to journalists, Flynn dramatically put all of this in perspective:

I was following developments with a 5-year-old little girl sitting on her dad’s lap who just got shot in the head by a drive-by shooting. And if some of the people here gave a good goddamn about the victimization of the people in this community by crime, I’d take some of their invective more seriously. . . . Now they know all about the last three people who’ve been killed by the Milwaukee Police Department over the course of the last several years. There’s not one of them that can name one of the last three homicide victims we’ve had in this city.​

Left-wing racial-grievance–mongers scream that bigoted white cops lie in wait around every corner, jonesing to blast black men into their graves. Yes, there are bad policemen, just as there are bad priests and bad teachers. However, the overwhelming majority of officers work tirelessly and thanklessly to shield law-abiding black Americans from their natural enemies: black murderers.

— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor, a contributor to National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.


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