(June 9) MOBILE, Alabama — The talk of this Alabama city for the past week has been a video of police Sgt. John Carlos Young demanding answers for a string of shooting deaths of black children.

Young, who is black, said on June 1, “There’s a subculture of gun violence in the city of Mobile with young black men, and it’s high damn time we did something about it.” He challenged area officials, media, and colleges to study how to solve it. “The most important question is, how do we get these young black men to stop killing black women, and children, and each other. … Do background checks of who has single fathers, and what were their education levels. Let’s figure out a solution.”

Overall crime statistics in Mobile aren’t bad, but the murder rate here, as in many places nationwide, is trending upward. When 14-year-old Ciara Jackson of Houston, Texas, who was visiting family in Alabama, was gunned down in her car on May 31, the day after 11-year-old Lequinten Morrissette was killed by a stray bullet as he sat inside his house, Sgt. Young repeatedly deflected questions at a media briefing about the granular details of the killing. Instead, he insisted the societal problem must be addressed.

Young provided sickeningly ironic context: “Ciara is 14. She died on the street named after Michael Donald, who was the last known lynching by the Ku Klux Klan in 1980. Forty years later, more innocent blood is shed on that street that is supposed to memorialize that death and sacrifice. And a black girl is gunned down on that street by a black man. It’s disgusting! I said it! So, no one has to be called a racist anymore.”

Young continued: “Our homicides, [ages] 19, 19, 18, 17, 16, 14, 11, and 4 years old, were all black children. When are we as a city going to wake up and say, ‘Let’s address this issue’?”…. [The full column is at this link.]


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