Not long ago, in the Mall Killers thread, we had an intense discussion of race, crime, and culture. It started with a reflection on the fact that a rampaging flashmob of black teenagers terrorized customers at the Mall Of Louisiana, and required it to be locked down and evacuated. Some of the mob continued down the street and caused mayhem at another mall. One of the questions we discusses was whether or not the statistics on violent crime in Baton Rouge justify being afraid of and avoiding young black males.
Yesterday the Baton Rouge Advocate published a lengthy analysis of the 2012 murder stats in the city. Take a look at this PDF of one of the inside pages. Last year, 83 people died by homicide in Baton Rouge. Of that number, 87 percent were black, and 87 percent were male. Two-thirds had been in trouble with the law before, and one-third had been in trouble with the law for drugs. The median age of victims: 26.
Of the perpetrators, the median age was 22. Get this: 96 percent of them were black, and 90 percent were male. Almost two-thirds had previous arrests. One out of four had a drug record.
Most of the murders took place in the poorest parts of the city.
What can we learn from these statistics? That murder in Baton Rouge is almost entirely about young black men from the poor part of town killing other young black men from the poor part of town. It’s mostly a matter of thugs killing thugs.
If you are an ordinary Baton Rouge citizen with common sense, you want to get away from poor black people — especially if you are black, and have children you hope to save. That’s what these statistics say. If I’m wrong, show me how I’m wrong. Hey, you could move out here to the country if you like. Half the people around here are black, the other half are white. There’s no small amount of poverty, but we don’t have much violent crime to speak of.
After that thread, I received an e-mail from a friend in Baton Rouge. She is white, Republican, and active in community affairs. She wrote (below the jump):
The flash mob incidents upset me, not only as a parent, and as someone whose family goes to those malls all the time, but as a native-born Baton Rougean who hates what is happening to my city. I live near those malls. After a shooting five blocks from my house off Highland Rd. two years ago, I seriously considered buying a gun. I’m scared to drive around sometimes.
There has been a lot of talk about the racial aspect of this incident this past weekend. The mobs were black. I was on the road, actually, when the Mall of Louisiana mob moved down to Perkins Rowe. The kids I saw walking onto Perkins Rowe property were not thugs. One of them was a wannabe thug with pants down to his knees, but I guarantee you his parents aren’t raising him to be a thug. Many of these kids are acting like this in school, but they don’t really have that at home.
I think one thing that contributes to this is mainstream media tells us that the only value in life for blacks is to be an athlete, a rap star or a gangsta. The mainstream media doesn’t talk about the complete nerd, Dennis Blunt, who is an attorney at Phelps Dunbar downtown or Jared Llorens who has a PhD and teaches statistics at LSU in the School of Business or the Decuir family, Winston, Jr., Jason, or Brandon, all of whom are black lawyers of notable reputation in Baton Rouge. The mainstream media only talks about L’il Boosie, who was tried for murder last year. This is a culture which idealizes and idolizes gangsta talk and attitude, a culture who thinks they will never make it without some desperate measure, like crime or government assistance, and never bothers to try.
About one-third of my friends are African-American. I couldn’t “go racial” on this incident, even if I felt it in my heart, which I don’t. The racial angle is really complicated. I see people here all the time — black people — who teach their kids racism. They spoon-feed it to them, and the kids are scared to death of white people, like they’ve never seen a white woman, or one who would speak to them. With so many of our white middle class kids in private and parochial schools here, most of our kids never encounter a kid in public school who only gets fed whatever meals he has at school each day, or whose mother comes to school in slippers and curlers to cuss out the teacher for punishing her kid for something they supposedly “didn’t do.” The blacks we do see on my side of town are “cultured” black people who drink Chardonnay and wear Brooks Brothers suits and tailored shirts, and send their kids to tennis camp in the summer. Our kids never hear about the poor black kid here who died last year because his father through him up against the wall so many times it ruptured his bowel and then put him to bed in that condition. The child died in his sleep. (We all have our guardian angels looking out for us.)
This is really about class. Class is the real divider. To be honest, I have more in common with African-Americans than with Asians or people from other parts of the United States. The blacks I know are all Southerners, we all read the same Bible and our grandmothers all took us to church growing up and taught us the Golden Rule. We have a basic set of values that can be summed up in biscuits and grits, you do not “do people wrong,” also known as the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The blacks I know are like the whites I know. We all have some nuts in our (family) trees, and we all have some trash we prefer not to acknowledge. We hope it’s not our kids or grandkids doing these stupid things. Thank you, Jesus!
The science of statistics does not lie. The crime is black on black for the most part and far more black perpetrators than white. There has come to be a culture associated with inner-city blacks in the South of violence, desperation and hopelessness. The only way out is through drugs, alcohol or prison, unless you are part of the lucky one percent who gets out on an athletic scholarship (witness the Honey Badger, who screwed up with drugs anyway), gangsta rap or some other miracle.
Our city is divided into public and private school kids. The lucky in private school and the poor kids who cannot afford or aren’t lucky enough to get one of the few voucher spots. Those who are not well off enough to attend private school or thick-skinned enough to be unaffected by the news reports, have already moved or are planning to move to Ascension or Livingston parishes. We are and have been for decades becoming New Orleans.
The two most important things we do in public sector work is public safety and education and we are struggling at both right now. Both influence each other in some pretty important ways which impact the third thing we do in public sector: economic development. And without economic development we are all doomed. Now education is almost the most important thing we do because educated people commit less crime and are less the object of the crime, especially violent crime. We know that there is a correlation between money spent on education and crime rates. Now at a time when budgets are tight and tax revenues are low, we are cutting education funding.
She went on to say that her kids attend public school, and she keeps telling herself that she and her husband need to hold on until their kids finish school, and then they can get serious about moving out.