What is the value of an infant life compared to an elderly life? None. All life should be respected because God gave it. Yet, every family hurts when a loved one dies.
Fact: May 9, 2013: Corey Jones, a 2-month-old infant, was murdered. The people of Pine Bluff should have been upset; was his life not important? Here is a child who was in this world only 8 weeks. This baby never had a chance to live. Nevertheless, there was no outrage from the citizens.
Why then is a 107-year-old life worth more than a 2-month-old life? In the sight of God both have the same intrinsic value and they both demand the same outrage from Pine Bluff citizens.
The city would not be dealing with the outcries of blacks today if Mr. Monroe Isadore had lost his life at the hands of another black. I make this statement based on the history of black outrage in Pine Bluff, specifically because of the lack of response to two elderly people killed a few years ago.
FACT: Black thugs took a baseball bat and beat to death two 80-year-old black husband and wife, plus set ablaze their home in an attempt to burn their badly beaten bodies. There was no outcry from these acts.
Gentle reader, I realize the situations are not the same, but my point is this: Black lives are not worth two dead flies unless their is a racial twist in it. Whenever a 2-month-old baby is killed, we all should be upset and not dismiss it because there is no racial hay to make. Following the killing of this baby, it was business as usual in the community for many, i.e., going to work and church as if nothing had happened. I believe Mr. Isadore’s death was God’s way of saying to everyone: Pay attention to all loss of life no matter how it occurs.
A reminder of the Trayvon Martin killing. Had Martin’s shooter been black, this nation and the media would have only winked at this loss of life. Well, what’s different? The killer was white (Hispanic) and the story led the evening news, there were many cable news discussions, and it prompted the sale of a millions hoodies.
Black people in America and in Pine Bluff must change the homicide narrative that’s being fed to us by the national media and others. Blacks should lead this discussion, focusing on black homicides in our community and the nation. Although it has not been proven the police acted improperly, there should not be a rush to judgment, rather a symposium in October to discuss the problem of Pine Bluff being seven times the national average for black homicides.
In Pine Bluff, we have experienced as many as three homicides within 15 days. More importantly, one victim was a 12-year-old middle school student during this period and this community did not erupt in concern at the loss of life. As a pastor and member of the Interested Citizens for Voter Registration Inc. (ICVR) Respect for Life Campaign, these homicides are totally unacceptable. Therefore, this is a call for us both black, white, clergy, professionals, elected officials, law enforcement, young people and all who want a better city to come to the table and sit down together in October and let’s deal with this issue of homicides.
I write this article as a result of the work of ICVR Respect for Life Initiative and how passionate we are to reduce the homicide rate among black people. From 1997 to 2013, we conclude that approximately 180 to 190 murders have occurred in Pine Bluff. Of those homicides committed, 99 percent have been blacks killing blacks. Our research shows the average age of the person charged with committing a homicide in Pine Bluff is approximately 26 years old and the victims are approximately 30 years of age or less. Of those murdered, 99 percent were black males. Of the rest, 0.5 percent were black females and 0.5 percent were other. Similar statistics like these happen across this nation, and there is no major push to offer up a stiff solution to this out-of-control black-on-black homicide epidemic. Why?
The death of Mr. Monroe Isadore was unfortunate and tragic. But his death can serve as the catalyst for black and white leaders to start a local dialogue to address the problem of black-on-black homicides in Pine Bluff.
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Rev. Jesse C. Turner is pastor of Elm Grove Baptist Church at Pine Bluff.