No memorial for urban dead


“Black lives matter!” was the chant heard at recent demonstrations in cities and towns from Ferguson, Missouri, to Baltimore, Maryland. Yes, they do matter, but apparently not so much to some other blacks. Only when a white police officer shoots or engages in other behavior that results in the death of a black man do black lives seem to matter.

While Memorial Day weekend featured the traditional parades, barbecues and moments of silence at baseball games for those who gave their lives in wartime to preserve our freedoms, in some of America’s biggest cities virtual shooting galleries produced the sort of carnage more likely to be found in the Middle East from Islamic State terrorists.

In Baltimore, which was wracked by violence just one month ago after Freddie Gray, an African-American man, died while in police custody, 32 people were shot. Nine of them died. That brings to 35 the number killed in Baltimore just in May and the month isn’t over.

In New York City, eight people were shot and killed.

In Chicago, where murder has become common, 12 people died and 44 were wounded.

Care to take a guess what these three cities have in common? They are all presided over by elected Democratic mayors and majority Democratic city councils.

In New York City, the murder rate reached a record low in 2013. Following the election of liberal Mayor Bill de Blasio, the murder rate jumped 20 percent in the first two months of 2015. Might the reason be de Blasio’s order to dramatically curtail the stop-and-frisk program that had sharply reduced the number of murders in minority neighborhoods under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg?

In Baltimore, where Democratic Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (who is African-American) reportedly ordered Baltimore police to stand down during the recent riots, thus allowing the rioting to continue, police apparently are still obeying that order. Arrests in Baltimore have declined significantly, while incidents of criminal activity, including violent crime, are up.

Cops may be reluctant to step in because six of their fellow officers have been indicted in the death of Freddie Gray. Who could blame them for thinking that Baltimore’s elected officials see the police and not criminals as the enemy of public order?

There have been no visits by Al Sharpton, no investigations launched by the Department of Justice and no statements by America’s first African-American president about these latest shootings. And predictably, only local media — not the national networks — have paid much attention to these murders because both the perpetrators and the victims are black.

Only when the template that whites are racists and blacks are victims can be applied do the actors in this tiresome race play step onto the stage with their predictable accusations and fault-finding. Predictably, when the play ends, nothing has changed.

Last year, following the riots and looting in Ferguson, Johnathan Gentry, identified by Fox News as a minister, appeared on TV to counter the message by Al Sharpton suggesting that white racism is to blame for most problems in the African-American community.

Speaking of Sharpton, Gentry said, “You only come around when something happens with the police or Caucasians. You’re not there for the black community so you need to stop fronting — and NAACP as well. I want to call them out as well! They’re good for nothing. All they do is perpetuate hate.”

You won’t find that sound bite or that man on any other channel, but he speaks the truth.

Maybe what’s needed is a Memorial Day for the victims of crime. Maybe that would help reduce the body count. President Obama says he was elected to “end wars, not start them.” While he is retreating overseas, he might consider trying to end the war in America’s inner cities. And those inner-city voters might benefit from ending their loyalty to a party that has done them little good.

[Readers may email Cal Thomas at] © 2015 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.