When the topic of guns comes up, you can all but guarantee that someone is going to spout off about the deaths of innocent children. They’ll then produce some statistics that show the number of child deaths that resulted from being shot.
There are problems with this data, generally, including the fact that they’ll include 18- and 19-year-old victims in there.
However, while talking about those deaths, the St. Louis Public Safety Director made a comment that got him into some hot water recently.
Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards, under fire for comments on a local radio show about child shooting deaths in the city, reiterated his point at an aldermanic committee meeting Thursday.
Edwards said while those under 10 years old were innocent victims, some older children had been linked to illegal activity.
Edwards said a 15-year-old was found dead one morning “with an automatic weapon on his person with an extended ammunition magazine, $5,000 in cash and a large quantity of drugs.”
He said another shooting victim, 16, was on “the police carjacking offender list” and had been allegedly shot in a crossfire “engaged in by two other 16-year-olds.”
“And finally,” Edwards said, “another 15-year-old was alleged to have been ravaging inside a vehicle” in the early morning when he was shot.
He also said two victims over age 10 are believed to have committed suicide.
Edwards, of course, is right. The age of a murder victim doesn’t mean they were innocent children gunned down for no reason whatsoever. Many of these cases involve teens who are involved in gang activity. They’re engaged in criminal acts with other criminals. That’s long been known to be a recipe for an early grave.
Yet some couldn’t handle the truth.
The radio comments spurred outrage from 13 organizations, which earlier this week issued a joint statement saying “this kind of demonization of our children is shocking and unacceptable.”
Among the organizations signing on were Action St. Louis, ArchCity Defenders, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, Metropolitan Congregations United, the Deaconess Foundation and the Organization for Black Struggle.
The groups also said Edwards’ comments built “on racist, dehumanizing tropes” about black children and distracted from public policies “that continue to deepen poverty and despair instead of investing resources to create safety and opportunity.”
So Edwards is racist? Is that what they’re saying?
You see, Jimmie Edwards is black himself.
What these groups are doing is trying to gloss over the victims, to pretend that all children are somehow innocent, not because it’s humane for the victims or their families, but because it allows them to demonize firearms and the local government for failing to protect children. The problem is, how can you protect children who willfully put themselves in harm’s way by engaging in criminal activity.
All Edwards did was say something that was indisputably true.
What these organizations are doing is arguing that the truth doesn’t matter unless it fits the preferred narrative. These examples Edwards provides are factual in nature. They happened. Yet this is dehumanizing? This is racist?
Edwards never said or even implied that all of those killed were engaged in such activities, but the fact that some were is an important fact that can’t be dismissed. Making an issue out of Edwards stating facts is a really awful look for people who say they want to stop the violence.