- The Washington Times - Monday, April 11, 2016


Now what, my fellow Americans?

At a forum last summer at First Rock Baptist Church, weary Ward 7 residents urged and pleaded with officials to better engage residents in the fight against crime. Reactive is good, but proactive is better.

They were prescient.

There have been 29 homicides so far this year in the nation’s capital, and 14 of those occurred in Ward 7. One happened the day before Easter as a boy headed to get a haircut with his family. The other happened Monday. Both happened at the Deanwood Metro station. Both teens lost their lives — and their killers have, too, since they likely will be locked down for the remainder of their lives. Both killings were committed in broad daylight.

City officials were warned: “The devil is on the loose, and we need to lock it back up,” a distraught mom warned city officials last summer. In fact, folks young and old sitting in the pews of First Rock echoed her remarks, and some even said people need to be made “whole” again. (Amen to that.)

Deanwood is nestled on the eastern side of I-295, and it’s one of the last rail stops before Metro crosses the Prince George’s County line and heads into Maryland. The immediate neighborhood surrounding the Deanwood Metro station is rife with single-family homes, a recreation center that opened in 2010, Marvin Gaye Park and lots of green space. It also has several schools, and its faith core includes more than a half-dozen denominational and non-denominational churches, including Seventh-Day Adventist. In other words, seek and ye shall find.

So now is the time to ask: What next?

Do we ignore the gen-o-cide in the city and elsewhere?

Are we afraid of the people in our own villages — in D.C. and Idaho, in Chicago and Vermont, in Florida and Nevada, in Wisconsin and Atlanta?

Do we really think it’s a black thing? A terrorist thing?

Does it matter whether homicide victims are LGBTQI and MSM? Leaving a synagogue? Lunching with coworkers? An NFL player gunned down in a fit of road rage? A meth-head? Crack-head? Pot-head?

Does it matter that the man suspected of shooting a 7-year-old girl in her tummy in Southeast had a $10,000 bounty on his head?

Does it matter that the bounty for the suspect in the city’s 162nd homicide of 2015 was $25,000, and the killing happened on Hartford Street, where the little girl was shot with a stray bullet? And a police station is on the corner?

Dammit, does it matter that by the grace of God the little girl is in fair condition?

Crime victims speak in many ways, and too often we let race, ethnicity, gender and age distractions muddle their messages.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, as examples, use the promise of summer jobs. (Wouldn’t it be best if youths were hooked on phonics instead of summer jobs programs?)

When the media uses the word gen-o-cide, it’s most often referring to what people in other countries do to their own — in the Mideast, in North and West Africa, and parts of Europe and Asia.

But what’s happening in our neighborhoods, on our college campuses, our military installations/government facilities, our houses of worship is the same: The death of humanity.

It’s gen-o-cide.

We need to ignore the distractions and stop fooling ourselves.

It’s gen-o-cide.

Faith holds the key to lock it down.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

• Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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