Some 27 percent of Ft. Worth’s homicides took place in one part of the city’s southeast side. In response, anti-violence programs within the community have blossomed, says the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. Organizers say their programs are struggling, though. They say they have rejected all the excuses that African-Americans use to account for the violence in their neighborhoods. “All of the things that I hear them talk about happened to me as a young man,” said Will Lawson, 35.
As a funeral service provider who picks up the dead after the fighting has paused, Lawson has a unique perspective. “I’ve got people between 22 and 36 who are thrown away like garbage,” Lawson said. “I’ve seen bodies that have been completely ripped apart. I see an anger in our young people. My question is, Why are they so angry?” Lawson has joined others in the black community who worry that some of the best and brightest in their neighborhoods make an almost obligatory stop in prison on their way to adulthood — or worse. The leaders of these groups preach, plead, teach, beg and bribe to save whomever they can. They focus on the black community because that is where they live, but all races participate in their programs, they said.