Photo from World Star Hip Hop
In the wake of the death of Michael Brown last August in a North St. Louis County municipality called Ferguson – a clear case of a police officer defending himself against a man high on drugs – we in the St. Louis metropolitan region have seen an uptick of violence and crime on par with the worst years of the 1980s and early 1990s. People are dying in the inner city every night via drive-by shootings, arguments settled with a gun, among other sorts of violence and a good many of them are not guilty of anything other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This is happening at a rate of 2-6 people dead a night. It is downright brutal. Not many people want to go to local news for the reports. A night with no homicides is a victory.
Last week, one of the shooting victims was the nephew of a quite respectable member of the Board of Alderman in the city. That evening, an interview was taped on the street at the scene. Steve Savard, an anchor with KMOV, the CBS affiliate, posted Alderman Jeffrey Boyd’s impassioned plea on Facebook with this header:
We are often unable to share most of the interviews we do because of time constrictions. That was the case Monday night when News 4 interviewed Ward 22 Alderman Jeffrey Boyd after his nephew, 23 year old Rashad Farmer, was killed by gunfire.
The sound bites we used that night from Boyd were compelling. But, after one of our producers, Steve Perron, encouraged me to watch the whole interview, I felt compelled to edit more of what he had to say and post it here on Facebook. It’s raw, it’s emotional, and it’s how so many victims friends and family must feel after the senseless murders we report on too often are committed.
I often say I can’t imagine how I’d feel if that were my loved one gunned down for no apparent reason. Jeffrey Boyd gives me and may give you a hint of what it would really feel like.
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Guns aren’t necessarily there just for cowards, but Boyd is correct that settling differences with them solves nothing. He is correct that if people want jobs they should go out and get them. If people want something to do, go find something to do that is not criminal in nature. Boyd is also correct that no marching happens unless a black person is killed by a white cop whether they deserve it or not. Many of the people dying are not criminals. Just victims.
As of this writing, Steve Savard reports that the video has been viewed over 900,000 times with thousands of shares and comments – not all of which are from the St. Louis area. The support for Alderman Boyd’s plea is bi-racial and crosses political lines. More importantly, local media has noticed the message and the interest goes beyond KMOV.
The violence is out of hand at this point. But with people like Alderman Jeffrey Boyd saying out loud that parents want their kids to come home just the same as police families want their moms, dads, aunts, uncles, kids, and cousins to come home, maybe the message will start to penetrate.