Redskins Player Killing Raises Black-White Homicide Issues


There was another funeral in Washington, D.C., yesterday for another black man — 25 years old, shot to death Nov. 17, homicide No. 169 for the year, reports the Washington Post. That is where David Bowers was heading when he heard that Washington Redskins player Sean Taylor had died after being shot in Miami. “He was killed hundreds of miles away, but it’s the same story — and on a day when I was going to mourn the loss of Tim Spicer,” said Bowers, whose organization, No Murders DC, is dedicated to ending the epidemic of homicides. “You hear the story, and it reminds you we live in a city where over 6,000 people have been killed in the past 20 years, and most of [the victims] looked like Sean Taylor.”

In 2005, the last year for which national data are available, blacks were six times more likely than whites to be victims of homicide. In 2004, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, homicide was the leading cause of death among black males ages 15 to 34. For the 20-24 age group, nearly half of all deaths — 48 percent — were from homicide. Talk in Washington regarding Taylor sometimes divided down racial lines. A radio sports-talk show host said anyone who suggested Taylor had put himself in the circumstances that led to his death was immediately blasted by black callers. “Sometimes it got defensive,” said host Andy Pollin. “They felt anyone who criticized Sean was out of line.”


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