I Commend the Baltimore Gangs, So What If…


I commend members of the Black Guerrilla Family (aka Black Vanguard), Crips, and Bloods who live in and love their home city of Baltimore, and chose to come together in a truce (helped formed by the Nation of Islam) to calm the tensions that have been boiling over since the mysterious death (deemed murder) of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, at the “hands” of Baltimore police officers. 

I commend this gang truce because these young gang members are coming together in solidarity over the death and alleged murder of a man whose only “crime” (as of April 12, 2014) was running away when he made eye contact with a police officer who then pursued him. 

I commend these Baltimore gang members who chose to see beyond their gang colors and symbols, to unite, to protect their neighbors and community from looters, rioters and potentially heightened acts of violence. I commend them for stepping up and watching over storefronts to make sure that no one vandalized or burglarized these businesses, that provide valuable resources to the community. 

Although these gang members could not speak on behalf of other sets or factions, only those members present, I commend them for stepping up and calling this truce in honor of Freddie Gray and the countless other victims of police-related violence. 

I commend these men, women, boys and girls. I also have some questions…

If you can call a temporary truce for Freddie, why can’t you call a permanent truce for Freddie and others who have been brutalized or killed by law enforcement? 

If you can call a temporary truce for Freddie because his death was at the hands of local law enforcement, why can’t you call a permanent truce for all of the lives that gangs have disrupted, destroyed, and ended?

If you can call a temporary truce amongst yourselves, why can’t the leaders of your faction speak and bring about a truce with other leaders? Why can’t there be a truce in every major city across the country?

I know. I know. It was like moving a mountain to make this specific truce happen. 

Not all gang members can see the need for a temporary, or worse, a permanent truce, when they have so much more at risk– like the billions of dollars that can be lost if they aren’t running a tight ship tied to drug smuggling and sales, arms and human trafficking, extortion, kidnapping, and so much more. It’s just not logical to try and convince roughly 30,000 gangs across the U.S. to call and honor a truce. I get it. It’s bad for business, and this is indeed a multinational business, not just Black America business. Besides, until Asians, Latinos, and Chicanos can get some recognition beyond the immigration debate, no one’s paying close attention to their police brutality rates, so their gangs don’t feel the need for solidarity with Black gangs at this time. Oh and we know that poor white people aren’t ever considered in the police-brutality numbers, so you won’t be seeing empathy (and definitely not a truce) from the Aryan Brotherhood anytime in the next few decades. So this is a Black gang thing, which also means that they are left vulnerable to other gangs. Which ultimately and unfortunately means, this truce will not last for long. 

But here’s the crazy thing– when gang-affiliated people walk around with signs that boldly state, “BLACK LIVES MATTER” don’t forget their own hypocrisy in the fact that their gang (and affiliates) alone, has victimized and killed more Black people than all U.S. law enforcement agencies combined. 

You can look at it this way, abuse and death at their (police) hands are reinforced by the fact that if a Black life doesn’t matter to you (the Black person), why should it matter to them. At least they aren’t doing drive-bys, killing multiple innocent people at one time, blowing up cars, homes, and buildings. Can you see the argument?

So don’t get me wrong, I commend the truce, it is long overdue. I’m glad they manned-up and womaned-up to do this. I just wish that it could be broader reaching and longer lasting. 

I fear that like other gang truces (around the country) in the past, in a few weeks as things return to “normal” that things will return to normal, and mass media won’t cover the hundreds of victims that will surface at the hands of people that have the same skin complexion (as the victims). I fear that our outcry against police brutality will not be overshadowed or even matched by our desperate plea to significantly reduce Black-on-Black crimes of all kinds and all magnitudes. 

Black lives matter. All Black lives, not just the ones beat down, or gunned down by police or by random white (and half-white) guys claiming “self-defense”. The Black victim of a car-jacking, robbery, rape, drive-by, and mugging, their life also matters. A drug deal gone wrong shouldn’t cost the lives of innocent bystanders. A child sleep in bed or watching TV in the living room shouldn’t lose their life to a stray bullet aimed at someone more than 50 yards away. If Black lives matter, then let’s prove it, and stop the senseless killing. 

I hope that gang members consider this every time they touch a weapon. The impact ripples throughout the nation and world. ALL HUMAN LIFE MATTERS!

Copyright 2015. Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved. 

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