Originally created 03/07/02

Black-on-black homicide should remain a priority issue

Since 1992 we've watched homicides decrease each year in Augusta, but what has not changed is the disproportionate number of blacks who die as the result of violence.

The Feb. 3 article, "Studies of slayings provide few patterns," left me hurt and frustrated. The article addressed the issue of age and gender, but race was ignored. What was painfully obvious to me was that black-on-black homicide is a threat to African-Americans in Augusta.

I did an in-depth breakdown of homicides occurring in 2001 and found the patterns disturbing. Sixty-eight percent were blacks, 63 percent were males, 53 percent died as a result of gun violence and 53 percent were under 30-years-old. African-Americans are six times more likely to be murdered than whites. Homicides account for more deaths of black men ages 25-44 than does heart disease, cancer or diabetes.

The issues of gender and age of victims are important, but we cannot continue to ignore black-on-black homicides. Ignoring the problem won't make it go away.

Black leaders, this is our war and we must stay on the battlefield, armed with courage, truth, persistence and faith. Voting, economic empowerment and the removal of the Confederate flag are all important issues; issues that we all must be concerned about. But we must address the leading cause of death of African-Americans.

I disagree with those who said murders are unpredictable and cannot be prevented. The fact that black-on-black homicides are down from 10 years ago reinforces my belief that homicides can be prevented.

In Augusta in 1991, 66 homicides were black-on-black. In Augusta in 2001, 13 homicides were black-on-black.

Barbara Thurmond, Augusta

(Editor's note: The author is the president of Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc.)


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