Race: Undeniably a Factor in the Great Gun Control Debate

This past Easter weekend marked the first anniversary of the “Good Friday shootings” when three individuals died and two were hospitalized due to a senseless murder spree by two individuals.

If the shootings had been gang related there would have been some coverage, but not nearly the amount that transpired.  All the victims were black and the shooters appeared white male, although one actually was an American Indian.

Because of the racial overtone, the nationally recognized agitator Rev. Jesse Jackson came into town. What mischief Jackson was up to can only be speculated,  but the results were most likely not what he was anticipating. In the aftermath Mayor Dewey Bartlett was quoted saying, “A lot of people were looking at Tulsa at that moment and expecting to see a city divided.  What they saw was something very different.”

The Tulsa shootings took place on April 6, 2012, and two days later Major Walter Evans of the detective division, announced the arrests of two shooting suspects.  Good police work and a calm citizenry produced results that race baiters could not undo.  Jesse Jackson left town shortly after.

Today, when asked about the shooting and the way Tulsans responded, Rev. Warren Blakney said, “It’s not a pat on the back.  We still have a long way to go.”  He said further, “Despite progress, Tulsa shouldn’t ignore the inequality that still complicates the relationship between the north and south parts of the city. It’s the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.”

While racial inequality was one of the causes of the Good Friday Shootings, that is not the case with all gun violence. And sadly, had the shooters and victims both been black the Easter shooting would not have been a surprise to most observers, and the story would have quickly died out.

 These stories of race and gun violence should not be allowed to fade away.  In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal political analyst and columnist Juan Williams wrote an excellent piece titled, ” Race and the Gun Debate.”

According to Mr. Williams, the gun debate is much more than Mayor Bloomberg’s $12 million campaign against the National Rifle Association and Senate opponents.  It’s also much more than Senator Harry Reid not including the assault weapons ban in pending legislation.

“One thing you don’t hear much about in the discussions of guns: race… Murders with guns are the No. 1 cause of death for African-American men between the ages of 15 and 34.  But talking about race in the context of guns also mean taking on a subject that can’t be addressed by passing a law:  The family breakdown issues that lead too many minority children to find social status and power in guns,” wrote Mr. Williams.

Although black citizens comprise 13 percent of the population 54 percent of murders committed with guns are murders of black people.

“The Justice Department reports that between 1980 and 2008 blacks were six times more likely than whites to be homicide victims and seven times more likely than whites to commit homicide.”

Even President Obama is beginning to comment about the importance of family structure.  “I wish I had a father who was around and involved,” the President said.  He also remarked, “Loving, supporting parents… that’s the single most important thing.”

Sadly, as the Williams article concluded, “When President Obama tried to speak to this crippling dynamic, he was basically told to shut up by Rev. Jesse Jackson who remarked, “Barack was talking down to black people.” However, the facts and the high numbers of deaths cannot be ignored, even if agitators like Rev. Jessie Jackson do not want to speak of the breakdown of the family structure within minorities and its correlation to violence.

As long as civil rights leaders and Tulsa’s north side ministers ignore the “Dysfunctional gangster-rap culture that glorifies promiscuity, drug dealers and the power to the gun” progress for black children will continue to be slow and dangerous.

 

Daniel Keating is President of Summit Consolidated Group, a national brokerage and insurance company with offices in Oklahoma, Texas, Connecticut and Louisiana. Mr. Keating grew up in Tulsa graduating from Cascia Hall. He holds a B.S. degree from Tulsa University and a MBA from the University of Oklahoma. Following college, Keating joined the United States Marine Corps and completed Officer Candidate School. Daniel Keating served a thirteen-month tour with the Fifth Marine Regiment in Vietnam and later retired from the Marine Corps Reserve with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Daniel Keating is a past president of Valley National Bank in Tulsa where he presently serves on the Bank’s Board of Directors. In 2002, President Bush appointed Mr. Keating to the Board of Advisors on Tribal Colleges and Universities. Daniel Keating has been a delegate to three Republican National Conventions. He was also appointed by Oklahoma’s Speaker of the House to the Cigarette and Tobacco Tax Advisory Committee and was later elected its chairman. Mr. Keating also serves as Chairman of the City of Tulsa’s Transportation Advisory Board, and is a member of Oklahoma Wesleyan University Foundation Board of Directors. In 2012 Governor Mary Fallin appointed Mr. Keating to the Tulsa Community College Board of Regents. He is also the President Pro Tempore’s appointee to the Professional Responsibility Commission. Daniel and his wife, Kathy have two sons, Matthew and Bryan.

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