By Bishop Michael Goings
I know that I have addressed the issue of black-on-black violence and murder in Dillon County, however, due to the seemingly escalating cases in our locale, being primarily perpetrated by young African American men, I am compelled to address and comment on the matter again.
The recent slaying of one brother against his own brother made this article more of an urgency. The violence and murders that are occurring in Dillon among African American youths have put me in a position of righteous indignation. I am downright angry over the senseless violence and murders that are happening seemingly without any light at the end the tunnel or a foreseeable solution. These crimes that we are witnessing have reached epidemic proportion. I dare to say that according to statistics and the ratio factor, people are more likely to be murdered in Dillon County than in many of our large cities like New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C, and quite a few others. Is there anything that we as citizens can do that will help to curtail or all together solve the problem? To their credit some well-meaning groups have sponsored events and gatherings in venues like parks, the Criterion Center, church fellowship halls, and such like. The objective of these events was to give back to the community and address issues such as crime, violence, slayings, and other detrimental issues and things that have become a blight upon the African American community and culture in Dillon County. I highly commend the groups and individuals who are not indifferent, insensitive, and sitting idly by watching the debilitating and disastrous affect that the violence and murders are having on our community. Though their compassionate efforts have only made a dent in the solving of the problem, they have distinguished themselves as a part of the solution and not the problem. To be perfectly honest about it, as the old African adage says, “It takes a village to raise a child,” it is likewise going to take a corporate and concerted effort of the entire African American community of Dillon County to conquer this giant. Regrettably, for the most part, we have “sown the wind and now we are reaping the whirlwind.”
For quite a few decades and generations, for too many of our children (especially boys) have been brought up without having their fathers in the home. These fatherless homes and environments have been the breeding ground for much of the defiance and disrespectful attitudes that we are presently seeing in many of our sons and daughters. Not long ago, I shared a true story from the animal kingdom that has a bearing on what we are considering today. In a wildlife preserve park in South Africa, a herd of elephants contained some young, juvenile bull elephants that were acting very erratic and out of control. In the elephant culture, the elder female elephants are the leaders of the herd. The older bull elephants mostly come around when it is mating season. The young bulls had become so erratic and destructive that they were attacking and killing other species like rhinos, cape buffaloes, hippos, and other large grazing animals. Though the lion is symbolically referred to the king of the jungle, Africans know that the real king of the jungle and grasslands is the elephant. The problem with these young bulls became so bad and out of control that they were planning to exterminate them. However, before they carried out their plan, a zoologist who worked for the wildlife game park persuaded them to try a plan he came up with. Since they had only a few older bulls in the park, they brought some in from neighboring Zimbabwe. Almost immediately when these old bulls were integrated in the herd. The young juveniles calmed down and began to act very normal. The lesson to be gleaned from this illustration from the wild kingdom is simply this. The absence of fathers and men in African American families and households is causing great detriment in the attitude and behavior of our children (both males and females). Another cause and factor as to why many of our children are acting out in school, at home, and in other places where they assemble and associate stems from teenagers becoming mothers long before they have become full adult and mature women. The irony of this dilemma is that before they had developed parenting skills, they were still children trying to raise children. My emphasis today is certainly not to cast blame on them or anyone else. It is what it is and will stay that way until we find a more effective way as a village and community to pitch in and help to address the problem with some practical solutions. I am going to conclude my article today with a very relevant passage of Scripture. It was inspired by God for such a predicament that we find ourselves knee-deep in without any way of coming out of it on our own strength and wisdom. I believe that if we, who are true followers of Jesus Christ, will adhere to the divine instructions that are contained in the following passage, we will consequently see Him do for us that we cannot do for ourselves without His help.
“And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:12-14).
By Bishop Michael Goings