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In Milwaukee, homicides were up 180% by May 17 over the same period the previous year. Through April, shootings in St. Louis were up 39%, robberies 43%, and homicides 25%.

“Crime is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” St. Louis Alderman Joe Vacarro said during a May 7 City Hall hearing.

The Wall Street Journal reported that murders in Atlanta were up 32% as of mid-May. Shootings in Chicago had increased 24% and homicides 17%. Shootings and other violent felonies in Los Angeles had spiked by 25%; in New York, murder was up nearly 13%, and gun violence had increased by 7%.

In an April press conference at the White House, President Barack Obama said: “You’ve got some of the same organizers now going back into these communities to try to clean up in the aftermath after a handful of criminals and thugs who tore up the place.”

Obama was right. But what bothers me is that we can’t have an honest characterization of lawbreakers without criticism.

Baltimore Pastor Jamal Bryant, who delivered a eulogy for Freddie Gray, Jr. said Obama was guilty of “Black-on-Black crime” for calling the city’s rioters “thugs.”

“They have committed Black on Black crime by using that word against people who look just like them. Absolutely,” the Empowerment Temple AME Church pastor told Fox News.

I disagree with Bryant. So what was Obama supposed to call the looters? Protesters? Demonstrators? Freedom fighters?

The crime rate in America’s urban cities continues to escalate and while there are many complex social, systemic, racial and cultural reasons for the hopelessness and despair, we can’t ignore the senseless violence.

The innocent people who live in those communities are impacted by thug culture – senior citizens who are afraid to leave their homes for medicine; children who are shot by stray bullets; young Black men who are strong-armed into joining gangs; and single mothers who worry about their kids walking home from school alone.

We can’t disregard these facts. We have to deal with them.

What do you think?

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Rising Body Count In Baltimore Proves We Have To Face Our Own Problems  was originally published on

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