The following is a letter to the editor from Dennis Galvin. To submit your own letter to the editor, e-mail us at [email protected]
Since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri, a national movement has developed, which has accused our nation’s police of engaging in a systematic attempt to kill young black men. These allegations are patently false, The intent behind this effort is to distort the facts surrounding the horrendous problem of violence in urban America. The sad reality is that young black males are dying in large numbers across this nation, but it is not the police who are killing them. They are being killed because of their affiliations with street gangs, altercations at social functions and from domestic violence episodes.
Northeastern University sponsors a web site called the “Boston Homicide Watch”. This site provides information and updates on the warfare that is occurring on the streets of Boston. A review of the victims killed in 2014 reflects national trends. In 2014, 54 people were murdered in the city of Boston. The bulk of these killings occurred in the communities of Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan. 35 of these killings involved African Americans as victims, mostly young men. 24 of these murders involved homicides that fit a gang profile (drive by shootings, execution style shootings). 6 of these homicides were the result of altercations between people who knew one another. These altercations escalated, resulting in a stabbing or shooting. 5 killings were due to domestic incidents involving conflicts between sexual partners. Another 8 killings involved hispanic victims. Of these 3 fit a gang profile. 2 deaths were related to altercations and 3 were related to domestic violence incidents. These are the hard facts.
For every murder that is reported, there are also numerous attempted murders, robberies and assaults. Some of these are reported and some are not, but the bodies are hard to hide. The one social service that consistently responds to the cries for help in minority communities plagued by this violence is the police. The services that they render may not always be perfect, but in Boston and throughout the nation, they continue to respond and attempt to restore law and order to areas knee deep in blood. They do so at great risk to their own safety. If they were to give up their attempts, any hope of restoring the rule of law, which is essential for revitalizing any neighborhood, would vanish.
Police reform is something that is and always will be needed. It is an on-going process. However, fundamental to that effort is knowing, who the good guys and the bad guys really are. The anti police movement, spawned in Ferguson, wants us to believe that the police are the problem. Its deceitful rhetoric only confuses the issue and distracts us from the real problem. The police must have public support to do their job. Those who seek to deny it demonstrate a callous indifference to the tragic carnage that is occurring.