Wednesday, July 17, 2013

COMMENTARY: Passion for Trayvon Martin case needed for America's Culture of Violence


KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- Like many who are interested in current events, the Travyon Martin/George Zimmerman situation peaked my interest over the past month.

The trial itself was interesting, but what fascinated me even more was the passion many Americans showed for it - whether it was the "black-out" on social media in tribute to Martin or the heated arguments I saw pop up on Facebook about the case. Guilty as charged - I was involved in a few myself.

The great passion I saw from many in this case made me wish this same dedication could be applied to every-day crime in America.

Regardless of where you stood on the matter, I hope we can agree on the following: the death of any 17-year-old is sad. None of us are the same people we were at the age of 17 and unfortunately, Martin will never get that chance to grow up.

But as sad as Martin's death was, Americans need to get as active about every-day crime as we do about the big events that hit our news cycle, whether it's the occasional school-shooting or cases like the Martin ordeal.

America has a culture of violence.

Consider these numbers:

  • There's a murder every 25 minutes in America.
  • In the United States, a rape happens every six minutes. 
  • Across America, a case of domestic violence is reported every 18 seconds. 
  • A "violent" theft happens every four seconds.

That's just across America.

When you examine the situation in Chicago, it's even more heartbreaking. During the Independence Day holiday weekend, over 50 people were shot in Chicago. Kansas City, Mo., our friendly neighbors across the river, is on pace to have over 100 murders this year.

Culture of violence.

We are addicted to it and many Americans look for any excuse to commit violence. Unfortunately, I don't know the cause of it. I don't know the solution to it - but I have a good step in figuring out how to find the solution.

It's time for us to come together as a society on crime.

That means eliminating the racial barriers. Whether it's the "black-on-black" crime that happens in the inner-cities or the school-shootings that happen in predominately white schools and communities, everyone of all races should care about all crime.

It's time for men to step up to the plate on rape and domestic abuse. Some men need to stop seeing rape as a "crime against women" and consider rape as a "crime against society."

Crime is a problem that affects all Americans, regardless of race, gender or class. It's time to act like it.

Instead of just waiting for a flavor of the month court case or wasting time debating gun control (sorry to my liberal friends - but guns will NEVER be banned), Americans should pro-actively engage each other in meaningful conversations about crime and what we could do about it.

The first step in solving any problem is realizing there is one.

America has a culture of violence.

It's time to solve it.


Nick Sloan is the publisher of The Kansas City Kansan. He can be reached at