The Cycle | February 15, 2013
>>> we're still waiting for the president to come to us from chicago. right now i'm celebrating black history month by talking about some significant issues in the black community today. guns. 15-year-old hadiya pendleton died a week after performing at the inauguration, a victim of gun violence in chicago.
>> she was 15 years old. she loved fig newtons . she was a majorette. she was so good to her friends they all thought they were her best friend .
>> it's so sweet but in too many ways her story is unextraordinary because black america is plagued by gun violence . in 2011 the number of blacks under 22 killed by guns was more than triple the number of u.s. soldiers killed in afghanistan. the number of plaque children killed by gunfire since 1979 is over 13 times more than the number of blacks lynched between 1882 and 1968 . and since 1969 homicides involving firearms have been the leading cause of death for black males age 15 to 19. that is the leading cause of hopelessness and nihilism and morbidity we see in our young black men who feel themselves one step away from the grave every day. perhaps more tragically, most homicides are intraracial. the vast majority of killers of blacks are blacks. we're killing each other every day. no community is more in deed of gun control , is more in need of rescue from america's gun epidemic than black people , and we know it. we're extremely in favor of gun control . a recent pew poll found blacks far more pro- gun control than white. just after newtown, 68% of blacks said gun control was more important than gun rights while over 50% of whites said gun rights were still more important. 53% of blacks think gun ownership puts you more at risk while 54% of whites think guns protect. perhaps we know that gun laws can work. it's fascinating to me that despite the scourge of gun violence in our community, black gun ownership lags far behind white gun ownership . perhaps we know wayne lapierre is wrong about good guys and bad guys and guns. many of us find him hard to trust. his recent editorial in the daily caller spoke of supposedly rampant crime and murder in some place he called south brooklyn in the days after hurricane sandy. i live in brooklyn and there is no place referred to as south brooklyn but i think it's safe to say when he says that, much of the country envisions a place clogged with black people . if adam lanza with walked in a school in south brooklyn , we would probably not be having a sustained national conversation about guns. adam just smushed the pain of the gun epidemic in america's faw face but black people have been living with that pain for so long we're numb to it. black on black crime is a far more prevalent problem. we need greater out rage over that. i say this as the son of a long time gun owner who carries a gun to keep him safe as he moves through boston's black areas. when people say what has obama done for the black community, tell them whatever he accomplishes on gun control will disproportionately help us.