Do Black Lives Really Matter?

Dan O’Donnell on the tragically skyrocketing murder rate in the black community and why the media and Democrat leaders are so hellbent on ignoring it.


October 8, 2021

Perspective by Dan O’Donnell

There was a school shooting this week.  No, seriously.  In Arlington, Texas.  It was all over the news…for about 24 hours.

Then, it just sort of disappeared.  This would seem unthinkable seeing as Texas’ governor, Republican Greg Abbott, just signed an “open carry” gun law three months ago.  One would assume the anti-gun press would want to rub his nose in the mess his law supposedly created, but instead the entire thing was dropped the day after it happened.

Why?  Democrats were just starting to use it for political gain.

“We, of course, are frustrated by the inability to get commonsense gun reforms through Congress,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki just hours after the shooting.  “We should be able to get universal background checks approved.”

That was it.  That was the narrative: We need universal background checks and Republicans won’t pass them.  It was perfect.  It could even take attention away from the debt limit and infrastructure bill disasters.

So why was it dropped so quickly?  And why was it dropped at the exact moment that the gunman was identified not as an alienated white male, but as a black student angry about being robbed and beaten up in school and looking for revenge?

The gunman was black, his intended victim was black, and the national media realized that it was in danger of stepping on the new third rail of American politics.  No one, it seems, dares to highlight a pandemic of violence in America that is decimating its black community far more than any other.

In a post-George Floyd era in which every racial disparity (both real and imagined) is met with cries of outrage (both real and imagined) from the political left, why is there silence in the face of the most tragic inequality in America today?

Last year, as the nation’s homicide rate skyrocketed by nearly 30 percent—the largest year-over-year increase in modern history—there were a total of 17,754 murder victims.  More than 55 percent of them, a staggering 9,913, were black.  This is made almost unfathomable by the fact that blacks make up just 14 percent of the US population.

In Milwaukee, which last year recorded the most homicides in its history, this disparity is even more pronounced.  While black residents comprise just 39 percent of the city’s population, they have made up a staggering 92 percent of its murder victims and 87 percent of its nonfatal shooting victims so far in 2021.

According to the Homicide Review Commission, a total of 687 black people have been shot in Milwaukee so far this year—an average of 2.45 black people shot per day.

Across the country, an average of four black women were murdered per day last year.  2,400 more black men were killed in 2020 than in 2019.  On average, a black person was murdered more than once an hour.

And this is probably the first you’re hearing about it.  Oh sure, you’ve heard bits and pieces about how bad violent crime has gotten in America’s inner cities, but it’s almost never put in as stark of terms as this.  Why not?  Is the same press corps that saw inequality in everything last year now blind to the most obvious, most heartbreaking racial disparity of all?

Black people are literally dying in America’s streets every single day, but neither America’s media nor its leaders seem too concerned.  Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett waited a full 40 hours before finally commenting on the drive-by shooting last weekend that killed an 11-year-old black girl and injured her five-year-old sister.

His reason?  He had a “family event” the day after the murder and simply “couldn’t think of anything to say” the day after that.  How is this in any way acceptable?  And how did Milwaukee’s press corps allow him to get away with such a callous response to this unspeakable tragedy?

Has it really become so commonplace in Milwaukee that we are numb to it?  Or is it that acknowledging how deadly places like Milwaukee have become for black people would acknowledge more than a century of failure from Democrats like Barrett?

Oh sure, he marched and chanted and even raised the Black Lives Matter flag outside City Hall, but when it comes down to it, do black lives really matter in Milwaukee?  It sure doesn’t seem like it when even the city’s leaders can’t be bothered to speak out about the death of black children.

Murder is almost invariably an intraracial crime, and just as there are a staggering number of black murder victims, there are an equally staggering number of black murderers.  Is it that white leaders like Barrett and white reporters and news anchors are terrified of being called racist for daring to draw attention to what has become a painfully obvious problem?  Or would drawing attention to it also draw attention to the fact that the Democratic Party has had almost total, uninterrupted governance of black neighborhoods and cities in which black people are dying?

Whatever the reason, ignoring a very real and rapidly growing problem is unacceptable.  People are quite literally dying, and it’s time for someone to finally take notice.