|In H.G. Wells novel War of the Worlds, Gods wisdom (and natural selection) helped save humans from the martian invaders. No such divine intervention is coming to save Indianapolis, despite prayers to the contrary|
In 2010, the rate of firearm homicide for blacks was 14.6 per 100,000, compared to 1.9 for whites, 2.7 for American Indians and Alaska Natives, and 1.0 for Asians and Pacific Islanders (figure 5). From 1993 to 2010, the rate of firearm homicides for blacks declined by 51%, down from 30.1 per 100,000 blacks, compared to a 48% decline for whites and a 43% decline for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Asian and Pacific Islanders declined 79% over the same period, from 4.6 to 1.0 per 100,000. Although blacks experienced a decline similar to whites and American Indians and Alaska Natives, the rate of firearm homicide for blacks was 5 to
6 times higher than every other racial group in 2010. As with other demographic groups, the majority of the decline occurred in the first part of the period and slowed from 2001 to 2010.
Now, a city where the “Your Life Matters” campaign was started by the white Republican mayor to specifically target high rates of black crime [Mayor Greg Ballard outlines initiative to curb black-on-black violence in Indianapolis, Indy Star, 3-14-14], prayer is seen as a more viable deterrent to crime than the silly black-helmed Ten Point Coalition.[Praying for peace in Indianapolis, WTHR.com, 4-17-14]:
As we approach the Easter weekend, some local churches are using this time to stand in unity praying for peace.
For months, Indianapolis Metro Police Chief Rick Hite and Public Safety Director Troy Riggs have been calling on the churches in the city to get more involved in the communities to help target crime at its root.
At noon, there was a strong showing of unity by church leaders from many churches of all faiths that they are rising up and joining as one to pray for peace. They gathered at the Indiana War Memorial to pray.
In 2013, Indianapolis recorded its highest murder rate in seven years and based on early estimates, the city is on pace for even more this year.
Most recently, Indianapolis Metro Police recorded ten shootings in a three-day period earlier this month.
Rev. David Hampton with Light of the World Christian Church says he believes it's the church's responsibility to go beyond the four walls and help to improve the community the churches serve. That's what he and many other local pastors hope to accomplish today.
"Jesus in John 13:34 said to love one another as I have loved you. So we want to use that as a way to unify our city and to also demonstrate there is unity among our leadership. If there is no model of unity among our leadership, how can we expect young people and those committing violence to see a need for unity?" said Reverend David Hampton, Pastor of Light of the World Christian Church.
"We feel like the church's mandate to minister must go beyond the four walls. If we're going to be a church of the community then we need to be a church that's for the community, not just preaching to the choir. We see our mandate as going out and helping to improve the community that we serve," said Hampton.
“From the moment the invaders arrived, breathed our air, ate and drank, they were doomed. They were undone, destroyed, after all of man's weapons and devices had failed, by the tiniest creatures that God in his wisdom put upon this earth. By the toll of a billion deaths, man had earned his immunity, his right to survive among this planet's infinite organisms. And that right is ours against all challenges. For neither do men live nor die in vain.”
|Rev. Harrison, leader of the Ten Point Coalition in Indianapolis (created to weed out black violence in the city) has no victories to show for his dedication to peace. He failed to stop Nathan Trapuzzano's murderer.|
Simeon Adams was supposed to be home when veteran probation officer Tracy McDonald knocked on the front door March 4.
But for the ninth time in less than a month, the 16-year-old, who was under house arrest for auto theft and resisting arrest, wasn't there.
The next known contact anyone in law enforcement had with Adams was nearly a month later. That was when police found him bleeding from the neck after a furious gunbattle four blocks from his house.
In between, authorities suspect Adams launched a bloody crime spree through Indianapolis' Westside, including the shooting death of 24-year-old Nathan Trapuzzano, an expectant father out for a morning stroll April 1.
It could be argued that their paths never should have crossed.
Adams was known to carry a gun and could have, perhaps should have, been locked up in Juvenile Detention that morning. Yet Adams was considered a moderate risk.
Even after more than a dozen probation violations, McDonald, Adams' probation officer, chose not to send the teen to detention. Instead, Adams was on the street pending an April 7 hearing in Juvenile Court. McDonald resigned Thursday, the same day Juvenile Court Judge Marilyn Moores complained about his hands-off handling of the youth.
At the same time, Adams' criminal history was far from unique; Marion County's juvenile courts deal with about 200 handgun cases each year. Teens take guns to school, wave them at strangers, shoot them at random.
Kill innocent strangers.
The block where Adams was shot teems with idle teens, many of them with guns, neighbors said. "All these kids got guns," said Charlotte Watt, 70, who hid on the floor in fear the night Adams was shot. "Out there, they got guns; down there, they got guns. They gun crazy."
Charlotte Watt, when she states, "they gun crazy,"
Several nights a week, three middle-aged men keep vigil in portions of Indianapolis that largely exist in the past tense, discarded wrappers that once contained something of value. This boarded red-brick building, they remember, used to be a grocery store. The empty, snow-covered lot on the corner was the site of a home, a nice one. The van in which the men are traveling tonight—one of this harsh winter’s coldest—groans as it skids to a stop in front of a house on the near-northwest side.
The porch lamp, a single exposed bulb, is one of the few sources of light on the block. A man lived there, they say. He was duct-taped to a chair and shot dead.
The man was Terry Day, one of Indianapolis’s 125 homicide victims in 2013, the highest number recorded here in seven years.
From the Department of Justice (DOJ)... gun crime is virtually a one-race problem in America, certainly in Indianapolis.
On streets to the east and west of this one, in neighborhoods like Riverside, Crown Hill, and United Northwest, the stories told by Eddie Owens, Darryl Jones, and Anthony Neal ring the same: abandoned, razed, dead. The men will measure the success of this three-hour shift as they do the others: A good night is a quiet one.
Owens is one of the few paid employees of the Ten Point Coalition, a faith-based group whose members—90 percent of whom have criminal records themselves—want to prevent violence, specifically gun violence, among young African-American males in the city’s urban core. Jones and Neal are volunteers. They call themselves O.G.s—Original Gangsters.
These nightly sweeps, bare-bones affairs that require street smarts and shoe leather, owe their meager existence to an unsteady stream of taxpayer dollars, grants, and donations. And yet, according to at least one city official, Ten Point is an “integral” part of fighting crime in Indianapolis. Jones, one of the volunteers from the van, is more blunt: “We go where the police can’t.”
Ten Point crews are often alerted to potential flashpoints by the IMPD’s staff chaplain and sometimes even the department’s higher-ups. Their bright vests serve as a kind of human yellow crime tape; the 25 volunteers and four full-timers routinely act as buffers separating the police, grieving friends and family, or warring factions. They broker deals between rivals. They share street-level intelligence with law enforcement and watch over potential hotspots. They offer curbside counseling, referring scores of people to social programs and job leads. They play basketball with those who are open to changing their ways and, for those who stay headstrong, eventually pray at their funerals.
Ten Point and its vocal president, 53-year-old Rev. Charles Harrison, have a knack for finding trouble even when they’re not looking for it
African Americans were victims in 108 of the city’s 125 homicides last year. Frustrated by what he sees as indifference on the part of some city leaders, specifically black Democrats, Harrison is not shy about sharing his opinions on TV (he’s frequently interviewed by reporters at crime scenes) and in the newspaper. He often turns to Twitter to draw attention to crimes involving guns and isn’t above calling out politicians.
“Where are our black elected officials?” he asks. “If the Klan killed as many blacks as blacks have killed blacks, they’d all be screaming from the mountaintop. But they’re not. They’re quiet. I feel like we are doing this by ourselves and fighting a losing battle. And there’s no outrage over this epidemic.”
Harrison fears Ten Point has become a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound. In his 16-year tenure, he’s seen violence on the street reach an epidemic level. The homicides Ten Point works often begin as simple arguments. Many are drug related. Disputes occur over territory, robberies, and retaliation. “Kids are no longer resolving fights and disagreements with their fists,” he says. “They’re turning to guns, killing one another without a thought.” The flood of illegal firearms—the acquisition of which is the quickest way to earn respect, Harrison says—is only part of the problem and isn’t necessarily a new development (though IMPD did seize 51 more guns in 2013 than in the previous year). A poor economy and high unemployment, coupled with a recent surge in heroin use, he argues, have exacerbated a dangerous situation, making it toxic.
It didn’t save Nathan Trapuzzano.
As tragic as any shooting is, a city can survive the psychos and mental cases who engage in mass shootings like the ones in Aurora and Sandy Hook; they can grow stronger. A city can not survive continuous, unrelenting gun violence (fatal or nonfatal) that is entirely black-in-origin. 13 WTHR Indianapolis