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There will be no protests, no looting, no rioting, and no expressions of outrage over it. The New York Times and the Washington Post will print no news stories or editorials about it. CNN and MSNBC will send no reporters — let alone primetime anchors — to cover it. And neither Eric Holder, nor Al Sharpton, nor Jesse Jackson, nor any of the lesser lights of the racial grievance industry will have a word to say about it.
But I submit that what happened in downtown St. Louis on Monday is far more emblematic of what ails the black community in America than the death of Michael Brown, the “unarmed black teen” who on August 9 was shot and killed by a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
At about 2:30 Monday afternoon, just south of downtown St. Louis, two men in a red Oldsmobile opened fire on the occupants of a red Dodge SUV. With gunshots continuing along the way, both cars sped into downtown, coming to a stop at 4th and Market Streets, just outside the Drury Plaza Hotel and in the shadow of the city’s landmark Gateway Arch. When it was all over, two men in the SUV were dead and a third was wounded. Two others escaped injury. When they searched the SUV, police found a gun, marijuana packaged for sale, and what appeared to be heroin. The men in the Oldsmobile escaped.
The men in the SUV were all black, and I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb here by speculating that those in the Oldsmobile were as well. I’m confident the investigation will reveal they were rival drug dealers. I’m also confident that most, if not all, of the parties involved grew up in homes without fathers.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on one of the dead men, James Lane, 22. “Lane had two sons, both 4,” said the paper. “Shay Motley, the mother of one of the sons, said Lane was recently released from prison on gun and drug charges, but she said she thought he had left that lifestyle behind. She said the last time she saw him Monday, he told her he was heading out to look for work.”
So, at age 18, Lane fathered two children with two different women, then went to prison (and enforced chastity) on gun and drug charges. But rather than leave the “lifestyle” behind, it would seem he embraced it to his ultimate peril.
The Post-Dispatch also informs us that there may have been additional costs – paid by others – for Lane’s “lifestyle.” From the story:
Lane was the uncle of Latasha Williams, 14, who was shot in her left eye Sept. 12 as she was buying snacks at a corner store at 4300 North 20th Street. The girl’s mother, Donnitta Turner, said Lane was waiting outside the store for Latasha that evening when bullets from a passing vehicle were fired into the store.
We might speculate that it was Lane himself who was the target of the bullets that claimed his niece’s eye, and that Monday’s shooting was merely evidence of improved marksmanship. Note also that the maimed girl has a different last name from her mother, and that her father is not mentioned in the story.
Monday’s shooting is evidence – a pure distillation – of the poisonous culture in which moral instruction is absent. But not a single one of the people so publicly exercised over the death of Michael Brown will speak out about it. In due course, the shooters will be arrested and sent to prison; it will merit a small story or two in the Post-Dispatch and on local news programs before it is forgotten. In the meantime, we will continue to be sold the myth that the greatest threat to young black men in America is the racist white cops looking to gun them down for little provocation or none at all.
How long will this go on?