Hamilton: Urban violence: Poverty and politics
In the early ’60s, when yours truly was a student at the U.S. Army Intelligence School in Baltimore, the city was in the hands of corrupt white leaders. We used to run “covert” surveillance and counter-surveillance exercises along East Baltimore Street, which was chock-a-block with strip clubs, sex shops, and drug dealers. It still is.
In case we were apprehended by the Baltimore police, we had a special phone number to call off the cops. The police were allied with a gang of car thieves that would turn stolen cars over to the police who would demand a big tip for “rescuing” the car from the thieves.
Apparently, Baltimore has changed. The city is now in the hands of corrupt black leaders. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. African-Americans in America’s major urban centers keep voting the same party into office and they keep getting the same result. If you know which party that is, go to the head of the class.
In the late ’60s, yours truly was attached to the U.S. Air Force in North Carolina. In civilian clothes, I took part in some civil-rights marches sponsored by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. After Dr. King was assassinated, those marches proved to be a life-saver for me. Wearing a civilian suit and tie, I was headed for the memorial service for Dr. King when I got a cable from then 3d U.S. Army Headquarters in Atlanta directing me to attend the memorial service in the Army Blue Uniform and to drive to the service in a clearly marked military sedan.
Inside the church, I was greeted by the elders with great courtesy and seated in the front row with the mayor and a handful of other Caucasians. After the very moving service, I got back in the military sedan to drive away. Suddenly, the sedan was surrounded by a gang of young blacks who started rocking the car from side-to-side and were getting close to tipping the sedan on its side with me inside it when a large black woman came barreling down off her front porch. Whatever she yelled put the fear of God in the young men and they ran off. She said she remembered seeing me before, marching for Dr. King. Whew!
In 2008 and 2012, some people voted for Barack H. Obama based on his skin color. Apparently, they thought that would end racial strife in America. Readers can decide how that has been working out. But maybe the violence we see in urban streets today is not rooted so much in skin color but in big-city machine politics, which have not focused on arresting the decay of the inner cities but rather perpetuating the decay as a means of staying in political power.
The list of American cities with the highest inner-city poverty rates includes: St. Louis (Ferguson), Newark, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Buffalo, El Paso, Cleveland, New York, and Detroit. Big cities facing possible bankruptcy are Detroit, Cincinnati, Camden, Baltimore, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. One particular political party has controlled those cities for decades. If you know which one, raise your hand.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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