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Friday, January 15, 2021

Put blame for shooting on lack of parental control

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Indiana Black Expo can be blamed for many things during this year’s Summer Celebration, but the shooting spree that occurred on Saturday night isn’t one of them.

As a matter of fact, aside from what Amos Brown suggests in his column this week, I’m not sure what more Expo or IMPD could have done to eliminate the problem. The responsibility lies on the parents. Not only do they need to teach their children right from wrong, they also have to be active participants in their child’s life and hold them accountable by instituting consequences.

Such ramifications could be a good ol’ fashion whooping (which I highly recommend), eliminating certain privileges like video games and cell phones or other forms of punishment. Regardless of the consequence, children need to know that there are boundaries in life.

If they can’t follow the rules as youths, then it will only get worse as they grow into adults. That’s why we have the problems we have today. Parents have failed, and they’ve done so tremendously.

When I learned of the shootings, the first thing I thought was how unfortunate it was for the incidents to occur during Summer Celebration – particularly the 40th anniversary of Indiana Black Expo. Instantly I knew that Expo would be unfairly blamed for the melee. I was right. The blogs and street buzz was instant and all the fingers pointed to Expo. But they shouldn’t have been… they should be pointed to the parents and the kids themselves.

To indiscriminately shoot in a crowd of thousands where police were highly visible takes an audacious spirit. The gunman’s audacity didn’t just come from nowhere on Saturday night, it is the result of years of lacking … lacking love, lacking restrictions, lacking accountability – something.

Some people are not going to like what I am about to say, but here it goes: What I find so interesting is that given the brazen nature of last week’s shooting that injured 10 Black males during the nation’s largest Black Expo, the Baptist Minister’s Alliance, the Interdenominational Minister’s Alliance and the Concerned Clergy have been silent. It’s important to note that some individual ministers were publically visible, but the three organizations weren’t.

While I personally know and certainly respect many of the members of all three groups, it would not be right to ignore the fact that at Recorder press time, none has made a public statement (press conference or press release) regarding the incident. They were however, very public about the Brandon Johnson incident that involved a Black male being beaten by white IMPD officers.

As a race, a society, public and civic leaders, it’s important for us to be consistent with our advocacy. We have to be as passionate about Black-on-Black crime as we are about white-on-Black crime. We have to look at all the issues and problems that plague our community rather than a select few. Both the Brandon Johnson incident and Saturday’s shooting were major issues that deserved response from our religious community – particularly since all three have taken on other such causes.

I’m not trying to call any individual or organization out, but it is a call to action. It’s time to address the issues as well as work on solutions that will make this city safer and more productive.

Now, to this year’s Summer Celebration and the response I’ve heard from the community.

Perhaps the main thing that people complained about was the ticket price at the door. Expo charged $15, up from $8 last year. While this was the organization’s first increase in four years and they did offer discounts on pre-sales, the boost in cost may not have been the best idea. Think about it: many of the people who attend Summer Celebration may be financially strapped, particularity in this economy. After a family of four pays $20 to park at the mall and $60 to get in, there is little left over for food and to purchase items from the vendors. Expo should go back to the reduced admission for next year’s Summer Celebration because it was disappointing to see such dismal attendance during the 40th-year anniversary.

The All-White Party was another disappointment. The Recorder has been flooded with calls from people who complained that the party took too long to get under way and that there wasn’t enough seating. The party was held in the same room as the Corporate Luncheon. There was plenty of room to add more tables, while keeping the allotted space for the dance floor.

Speaking of the Corporate Luncheon, I was very impressed with its turnout. Amos and his fellow emcee, Angela Caine, from WTHR did an outstanding job and the event ran very smoothly… it was actually ahead of schedule. The only complaint I heard regarding the luncheon was that many disagreed with Mayor Ballard receiving an award. I don’t think the complaints were partisan, I just believe most thought it was too soon to award the mayor with such a distinction, since it’s so early in his career. Many feel he simply hasn’t done enough yet.

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