In 2007, many American urban leaders were introduced to urban gun violence; the newest dilemma eroding the integrity of our “best practice society.” No more simple solutions and punch line words of deterrent like “JUST SAY NO!” Urban gun violence in America is more real to us on a daily basis than that of an imminent terrorist threat.
In the 1992 Oklahoma City bombing, approximately 2,000 people, who were on American soil, were killed. In 1999, the 911 attack on the World Trade Center, approximately killed 3,000 people, who were on American soil. Since 2007, almost every urban city in America has experienced and reported a dramatic rise in assaults by gun violence. And in some more notably urban cities like Philadelphia, New Orleans, Chicago and Oakland, the rise in homicides by gun violence speaks volumes to the issue that every Mayor of every Urban City and every Governor of every State in the United States must address; “Why are young Black Males Carrying Guns!”
It would be understandable if this were 1889 when Black People in America were fighting to get the United States to enact an Anti Lynching Bill. However, we are way past those days and now no one is hunting down Back Males, but, other young Black Males who are carrying guns. A 1998 report, issued by the American Pediatric Association, sited that gun violence was the leading cause of death among Black Males aged between10 to 34 years (Pediatrics Vol. 105 No. 4 pg 888). In addition, Black Males, of ages between 15 to 19 years have the highest death rates of firearm related homicide. Now, there are two problems with this information.
* The first is that this data was not released until 2000
* The second is that the Urban Community Partners-leaders, officials, educators, medical providers and politicians have failed to devise a concise strategy, both in curtailing and curing this problem.
Urban gun violence is a disease and should be treated as such getting all of the “Bells and Whistles” treatment, resource and funding. After all, if children and youth are the future of America, “we’ll get what we pay for.” Maybe, that is just it. Maybe, so little is being done to develop our children and youth into leaders, so that, we are now seeing the grim reality of decades of budget cutting. In the 1990’s, when many Art and Music programs were moved, de-funded, or just not planned into our public school curriculums we did not know what the long-term outcome would be. Now, we are trying to remedy both current and future youth of the ill-effects of the urban gun violence epidemic, by inviting them to elaborate Art programs or after school Craft programs in attempts to steer them in a positive direction.
Imagine you had paid for an economy flight ticket for the busiest time of the year! Then once you got on the plane and realized it was not comfortable, you ask if you could change your seat. But, if every seat was filled, it would not matter how much money you had to upgrade you seat. Because you failed to prepare properly, you had sealed your fate.
Author Shafiq Abdussabur
Shafiq R.F. Abdussabur is a law enforcement officer in Connecticut with over fourteen years of community-based police training and experience. In January 2007, Abdussabur was appointed coordinator and program writer of the New Haven Street Outreach Workers Program, a proactive social development program aimed at reducing violent crime among youth and young adults. Within its first five months, New Haven posted an 86 percent reduction in homicides. During that two-year period, Abdussabur served as the chief executive officer for the New Haven Police Department under Police Chief Francisco Ortiz Jr. In June of 2008, both CTRIBAT Institute For Social Development Inc. and the New Haven Street Outreach Workers Program were awarded the All-American City Award in Tampa, Florida.