We cannot continue to be baffled by the existence of crime or continue to run and hide from it. We cannot continue applying simplistic answers to the very complex reasons why crime has overwhelmed almost every city and town in America. We cannot look to the police as our only real solution to the epidemic of violence caused in large part by our own children who are enthralled with guns, drugs, and making money illegally. This crisis of crime, fueled by a crisis of values, has gripped urban neighborhoods around the nation, especially poor and minority communities, and is even more pronounced within the African-American communities. In the Bible, there are two passages that I think speak volumes about people and their future: “without vision the people will perish” and “my people perish for a lack of knowledge.” Crime can and will destroy vision, knowledge, and people. So we of this City must never let this happen.
Complicating this issue even further, as we try to understand criminal behavior and take action against criminals, is the fact that many of us, and our children, have adopted values that are alien to most people in this Country and are contrary to expected, required, or normal behavior. This crisis of values is having a devastatingly negative effect on our cities. The crisis of values is a type of self-inflicted genocide, the new lynching, that is not inflicted upon people by some evil, white-hooded terrorist in the middle of the night, but by those in black hoods or white T-shirts, whether in the middle of the night or in the light of day, who spew death, destruction, and fear at monumental proportions, far greater than at anytime during the highest number of lynchings that occurred in this country.
Winfield Myers provides further commentary and context, as well as the text of the whole speech.