Another Black-on-Black Killing, Where is the Outrage?
By: C. Ron Allen
Imagine this exchange: “Hey mom, I’m home. What do you have to eat in this house?”
Mother: “Hi son. How is college baby?”
Later on, the young man said, “Mom, I’m going out with some friends. I’ll be back.”
“Be careful son,” the mother responded, as her baby drove away in a relative’s car.
It was the last time she would have seen the apple of her eye alive.
I can only imagine that the interaction between Greg Bryant Jr. and his mom was not too far off from what I painted here.
Unfortunately, the 21-year old college football player never had a chance to wish his mom Happy Mother’s Day, as he had intended. Neither did he get to fill her in on the latest at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where he was about to restart his football career.
That’s because 20 hours earlier his life was cut short by a bullet as he drove south on Interstate 95 near Forest Hill Boulevard in West Palm Beach. Bryant and a friend, Maurice Grover, were returning to a Delray Beach from a nightclub in West Palm Beach when another car pulled up next to them and sprayed their car with a high-powered assault rifle early Saturday morning, police said.
The bullets tore apart the metal of the black, four-door Chrysler. Bryant was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center, where he was taken off life support on Mother’s Day. Grover, 25, was treated and released for an injury to his hand.
Since the shooting at the hands of, I am sure, another African-American I have heard many bemoaning the heinous act of violence. But no one, except for my pastor and a police officer friend of mine, have been vocal about the prevalence of gun killings of our young black boys at the hands of other young black men.
It’s a crying shame that when a black person is killed by another black, we accept it as the norm. Yet, when a white person or police officer shoots and kills a person of color, the black community raises a ruckus. I hope it is not the case where our black leaders are much more interested in making excuses for this behavior than they are in denouncing it unequivocally.
Where is the outrage? I am aware that black-on-black crime is a subject most of us do not want to discuss as a community because some see it as airing dirty laundry in public. Still, far too often we see in the wake of a crisis, such as the recent shooting, we are quick to call news conferences, galvanize mass protests, organize rallies, prayer vigils and even hold gun buy-back days.
But such efforts fizzle out shortly after the victim’s funeral.
Bryant’s death and countless others, including Courtney McGriff, who was fatally shot in early February, should not be brushed aside as mere examples of the result of concentrated poverty and lack of opportunities. Rather it should force us to have a real community conversation about an action plan to tackle this level of senseless violence.
I can somewhat understand that our black community today is suffering from a lack of strong leadership. Traditionally, our leaders have been members of the clergy. However, most of the ministers in our community do not live in the city and they dare not come to town except on Sunday mornings or one weeknight for bible study.
In two weeks, black law enforcement officers from across the state will convene in Miami for the 31st Annual Preventing Crime in the Black Community Conference. And while they will be sharing solutions on how to curb crime in the black neighborhoods, it is my hope that attendees will leave with the renewed fervor to devise an action plan to address this level of senseless violence.
It makes no sense for black people to be killing more blacks than the Ku Klux Klan ever did. Our people made it through slavery without killing one another.
It is time out for those who call themselves leaders in the black community to get out of the defensive stance and do something to prevent another senseless killing.
- Ron Allen can be reached at crallen@DelrayBeachTribune.com or 561-665-0151.