Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clergy Must Step Up and Lead on the Murder Issue

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clergy Must Step Up and Lead on the Murder Issue

Article excerpt

Byline: Ronald L. Littlepage

Jacksonville isn't the only city tormented by violence.

An Associated Press dispatch from Miami early last month began:

"Sherdavia Jenkins was digging a grave in the dirt for her doll on the front steps of her home when the shooting started.

"Minutes later, a stray bullet struck the 9-year-old girl, and she became the latest in a string of shootings that have claimed the lives of more than a dozen children and teens in Miami-Dade County in the past year."

And it's not just Florida.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this last Friday:

"Mayor Street last night took to the airwaves to assure residents, and those who visit or commute to work in Philadelphia, that the city was aggressively combating the continuing surge in violent crime.

"He gave a live, televised speech barely two hours after a quadruple shooting near Pastorius Elementary School in East Germantown left a 17-year-old dead -- the second killing of the day -- and three other young people with serious wounds.

"Midway through his nearly nine-minute address, he pleaded to the city's youths: 'You are the future of this city. Lay down your weapons. Do it now.' "

An epidemic of murder is unfolding where most of the victims are young blacks as are most of the killers.

DreShawna Monique Washington Davis, 8, became the latest face of that epidemic in Jacksonville last week when she was killed by a hail of bullets fired into her grandparents' home.

It's happening in cities across the country, but the question is this: What do we do about it here?

Many of my fellow whites, some vehemently, are quick to define the problem for blacks:

Absent fathers.

Babies having babies.

Gangsta rap.

Vulgar language.

The answer -- personal responsibility.

There. Simple. …

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