A lot has happened in the last two weeks in Crown Heights. While many in the media and the world outside Crown Heights are shocked at the sudden and recent rise in “tension”, we all know it was neither sudden nor strictly recent.
I have been reporting on the up tick of violent crimes in Crown Heights for close to two years now. Sure, it gets worse every Summer, but it’s pretty bad all year round.
There are so many things to say about this, so many different angles and points, it’s hard to be cohesive about it. Sometimes I have posts that are just angry rants, and sometimes they are well thought out, sort of, editorials. As I write this now, I don’t know which this one will be. It’s just so very hard to bring all the different issues together.
I was quoted in the NY Daily News by Mr. Eroll Louis. He used my quotes, as well as others to establish a point that we are wrong to make this racial. He says we are wrong because “why aren’t we upset when there is Black on Black crime?” He thinks we should know it’s a “neighborhood problem”, and that this was just another horrible crime, not racial.
This seems to me like a very calm and excuse filled response. However, his response wasn’t calm or filled with justifications and excuses when there was an attack on a black man a few weeks ago.
When the attack of a Black man by a member of Shmira happened, D.A. Charles Hynes called Shmira a street gang. He has decided to make it his life’s mission to go after them. He even convened a Grand Jury, which is no small action. That is a major, major statement. I’m not defending what that Shmira guy did, and trust me, I’m gonna get to them in a minute. But over the last two years there have been more 40 individual attacks by Black teens on Jews in Crown Heights.
Those crimes are all well documented at CHI. Those attacks range from minor “assaults”, to more “normal” crimes like muggings. They range in violence from kicking to punching to broken bones, broken teeth to in one case, staples in a teens head. It’s also been two years since Ephraim Klein was shot by a mysterious bullet and killed. Two years later, still no suspects, still no closure.
I’ll be fair now, I won’t pretend that media outlets didn’t report on some of those crimes. When the Balkany kid was brutally beaten a media circus did follow. I’m sure the fact that his father is well connected helped make that happen quicker, but they did report on it. When Mr. Klein was murdered, again, it was reported on, but since then I haven not heard any outrage from the Media or Politicians. No one was arrested and the case still remains open.
Mr. Klein was a murder victim and his death has been forgotten, stored away in a box at One Police Plaza. I guess that murder doesn’t keep any of the Police or Local City Government awake at night. But you want to know what does keep them awake at night? The assault of a Black man by a Jewish man. For some reason, that crime is so severe, that to the ends of the Earth, that assailant MUST be brought to justice.
It was such an outrageous crime that it brought Al Sharpton to Crown Heights, it brought editorials by Mr. Eroll Louis (Ny Daily News)and statements from Black politicians then this could possibly reignite the days when Black rioted in Crown Heights. The days when a Jewish Man was murdered, in cold blood.
In the years since Gavin Cato was killed, by a driver who had no malice in his heart, it was simply an irresponsible driver with tragic results, Jewish on Black crime is almost non existent. I’m not saying it never happens, but not at the frequency and not for the same reasons.
This brings me to another one of my points. (Stay tuned, I’m going to address the “Shmira attack” soon.)
Members of the Black Crown Heights community, one of which is the Daily News’s very own Eroll Louis, feel that we don’t care when a black person is attacked by another Black person. He thinks it’s Jews who are making this about race. He thinks we’re all brothers and we should all be concerned and angered when a member of Crown Heights is attacked. He thinks what happened Thursday Night to Alon Sherman was not racial, it’s just another crime. It’s a normal crime if you will. Something that should just upset us as a bi product of “regular” crime that happens in the city.
This is just Mr. Louis’s way of justifying what happened. Don’t you see? It’s all our problem. He considers it offensive for us to make this about Jews and Blacks. It’s not Black on Jew crime, it’s human on human crime. I can just imagine Mr. Louis along with Commissioner Ray Kelly, Mayor Bloomberg and D.A Hynes standing over Mrs. Sherman’s sons hospital bed, with tubes coming out of his mouth and blood drying on his forehead, saying, “It’s ok, it wasn’t racial, this was just a normal, random crime.”
How does that even matter? If this is the end result, does it even matter if it was racial or not? This excuse by Mr. Louis is a pathetic attempt to divert attention from the real problem. This boy was brutally beaten. Just for a moment conceding that “it wasn’t racial”, his injuries remain the same. His family is still in shock and this community is still hurting.
Of course I don’t believe for a second it wasn’t racial. If they just wanted the bike and his belongings they could have intimidated him into doing that without raising a hand. Even if they knocked him off his bike, that should have been all. once he was knocked off the bike getting his watch and other belongings wouldn’t have involved the severity of a beating the he received.
This brings me to my Shmira issue. The crimes that have been committed by blacks on Jews are so violent in nature that in it of themselves are frightening. It’s one thing if they were just taking our watches, cell phones and wallets. But apparently being robbed now lands you in a hospital bed bleeding and eating through a straw.
Dozens of the crimes committed by Blacks on Jews involve very violent results. The attack by members of Shmira on Mr. Andrew Charles was wrong. I don’t know the whole story, I doubt anyone ever will, but regardless, even if the Shmira guys thought he was doing something wrong they should have gone about it differently. we do not lay our hands on people.
Aside from all the moral reasons that this attack was wrong, there is also another reason it was wrong. The attack by this Shmira member gave guys like Mr. Eroll Louis and members of the media ammunition. Now every time a Jew is attacked in Crown Heights it gets tied to that story. When the school bus attack happened, we got the same line, “tensions are high, two weeks ago a Black man was attacked, etc.”
Each time another Jew is attacked, it gets reset back to 0. The fact that 999 times out of 1,000 it will be a black man attacking the Jew? That no longer matters, this idiot Shmira guy with his moronic lack of self control, by hitting, macing, whatever, Andrew Charles now gave those who hate us ammunition Lelom Vaed. Since that attack on Andrew Charles there have been at least 4 incidents of Black on Jew crime. Each time those attacks are mentioned we are reminded of the “tensions” in Crown Heights because yes, even Blacks are being attacked.
Trust me, if I knew who this Shmira guy who, or where he was I’d be the first one in line to turn him in. He has embarrassed us all, he has caused a huge Chillul Hashem, and worse he has put our children and our community in further harms way. Yasher Koach, you are a big man, you “fought back” and made us all look like thugs.
Getting back to the details of that particular attack. Mr. Andrew Charles walked away, conscious and able to stand on his own two feet from that assault. Yes, he was taken to the hospital, but we all know politics, that was just so in the press, it doesn’t look like it was nothing.
Still, that attack on Andrew Charles, who had no broken bones, no stitches, no long term effects was so outrageous that it brought about the major outrage and response by black leaders and politicians in the press and Crown Heights.
Unlike Mr. Andrews, Alon Sherman didn’t walk away from that attack. Unlike Andrew Charles, his attacked was looking to harm him and rob him. However wrong the Shmira attack was on Andrew Charles, that Shmira member was not looking to mug him or rob him. He was just a hot head with no self control who wanted to show he’s a big man. The two men who attacked Alon Sherman were doing worse, they were contributing to the ongoing crisis this community is facing.
The crisis which involved both robberies and attacks. These crimes are getting worse and more frequent, yet people like Eroll Louis and D.A. Hynes seek to excuse away our pain. We’re told we aren’t good citizens because we’re only upset when its a Jew that is hurt. We’re told we are getting worked up for nothing, this was a “normal” crime. No grand juries, no posters, I didn’t even see any cops on the streets.
You want to know a secret? The answer is very simple. We can stop this all with one simple action. It’s not so PC and therefore it won’t even get done. But the Black community needs to start taking responsibility for it’s own youth. THEY are the problem. It’s not a Jewish problem, it’s not a Crown Heights problem, its a Black problem. The culture of rap and gangs and street cred and the thug life is the only thing that excites these teens. It’s not the Jewish Community Council of Crown Height’s responsibility to ensure that black teens aren’t roaming the streets at night looking for the next easy mark.
This is something that local Black leaders need to address. If they want peace in crown Heights, if they want us to live together in happiness then they need to start disciplining their own. They need to stand up and say enough is enough! we won’t allow our youth to waste their talents and waste their futures for a cheap watch and a bike. We need action by the Black community to remind these teens its not cool to beat people and take their money. It’s cool to study hard, work hard, get an education start a family and take care of that family.
They need after school programs and outreach centers. They need job training and community volunteer programs. They need to take responsibility for the mess they are creating. They need to learn to contribute to the community, not destroy it.
I have more to say on this, and I will throughout this week. I also agree with many of the people saying if we are nicer to our non Jewish neighbors that will go a long way. It’s something I have been saying for years not just about Crown Heights but as a response to Antisemitism in the world in general. When you are rude to them and treat them badly it doesn’t make matters better, that is for sure.
More on this later, for now it’s important to remember that we aren’t going to stand for it anymore. Things must change in this city, and if the politicians won’t do anything they will have a major mess on their hands.