A Lake Forest, Ill., police officer walks down Central Ave. in Highland Park, Ill. on July 4, after a shooter fired on the northern suburb’s Fourth of July parade. Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune via AP

America, land of the free and home of the brave, is descending into more and more madness and chaos. 

In his book “The Fall of America,” the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam, wrote about the country’s descent into savagery. He started by talking about her greatness: her richness, her institutions, her towns and cities, her fleets and her scientific mechanical communications systems. 

“Yet,” he writes, “with all of this might of skill in engineering or building, the country of America displays and practices more savagery than any civilized country on the earth. And all of her educational institutions are not enough to make a man so intelligent and proud of his education and of being an American citizen that he would not practice the same savagery.”

Law is disregarded in favor of murder, killing, robbery, rape and drug addiction, as these various groups prowl the streets at night exacting their evil intentions upon the innocent, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad writes.


“It has become dangerous even for a girl or woman to stand alone in any unprotected place, day or night. Rapists lurk around bus stations and robbers and thieves are also at such stations; and with such conditions existing in a so-called civilized country like America, this is the worst name that could be applied to her,” he continues. “Police, detectives and FBI all are here; but these daring savage acts are committed right before their eyes and ears.”

Residents from around the Highland Park, Ill., area listen July 6 during a vigil in Highwood, Ill., for the victims of Highland Park Fourth of July parade mass shooting. Photo: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Mass shootings and police killings

Mass shootings continue to plague American society, leaving cities such as Chicago, Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y., reeling from the aftermath. 

In December 2019, Robert E. Crimo III applied for and was approved for a gun license. More than two years later, the White 21-year-old allegedly opened fire on a July 4th parade in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb, killing seven people and wounding more than 30. 

As American society and her leaders deal with the reality of gun violence, 21 families are still grieving in Uvalde over the deaths of 19 elementary school children and two teachers. But grief doesn’t stop government corruption. According to a written order by the Texas House Committee dated July 6, “Unfortunately, the committee has been forced to send a notice of deposition to Uvalde Sheriff Ruben Nolasco, who has thus far refused to testify.” The sheriff finally testified during a July 11 hearing. 

A new, 26-page report published by Texas State University’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training program identified several key issues, including the failure of officers to open any of the classroom doors, the lack of an action plan and the fact that “it is possible that some of the people who died during this event could have been saved if they had received more rapid medical care.”

Local and national news organizations have formed a coalition to try to get answers, including recordings of 911 calls, radio traffic, computer-aided dispatch (CAD) transmissions, and other phone calls reporting and responding to the incident at Robb Elementary; recordings of body camera footage and dashboard camera footage from responding officers; surveillance footage from inside Robb Elementary; timelines, interview records, notes and other materials collected or maintained by the Department of Public Safety (DPS); incident reports, toxicology reports, ballistic reports and other reports; and lists of DPS personnel who responded to Robb Elementary, including ranks, positions, titles, and years of service.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin told CNN, “I’m not confident, 100 percent, in DPS because I think it’s a cover-up.”

Columbus resident Amelia Fain marches with protesters along South High Street on Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Akron, Ohio, calling for Justice for Jayland Walker after he was fatally shot by Akron Police on Monday. “I feel for his mother,” said Fain. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal via AP)

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam has spoken on the “cause and effect of a violent society.” He argued that the violence seen at the bottom is an effect of the violence at the top that is then manifested into the children.

Javon Williams, 13, is comforted by Rev. Jaland Finney, left, as he speaks during a march and rally for Jayland Walker, Sunday, July 3, 2022, in Akron, Ohio. Also pictured at center right is Lanette Williams, reacting after Javon’s speech. Williams had just viewed the video released by police detailing the shooting death of Walker. (Andrew Dolph/Times Reporter via AP)

“Beloved family; those dear mothers and fathers and grandmothers and grandfathers, and friends and relatives are in great pain because someone they loved died in their youth. Grandmothers had to bring their grandchildren to their final resting place. But remember: Your child, your friend and your companion did not die in vain,” he said. “Every life with God is sacred! And those children that lost their lives are martyrs for the Cause of Justice and Peace!”

He spoke on the hypocrisy of demanding sensible gun laws from a government with the highest military budget of any nation in the world.

“In the Bible, Paul said, ‘We war not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places.’ High places are where the problems begin!” Minister Farrakhan said.

“In those high places, there are bad policies developed that are so wicked and deceptive so that our government can extract the wealth of others.”

To Nation of Islam Southwest Regional Student Minister Dr. Abdul Haleem Muhammad of Houston, what is happening in America is nothing new. He pointed out to The Final Call the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s warnings as well as words from Minister Farrakhan’s book “A Torchlight for America.”

“Ignoring what Minister Farrakhan gave us in Torchlight for America is the source of the unraveling of America. And what he talks about is leadership’s greed and leadership’s state of mind,” Dr. Haleem said, pointing out the billions used by gun lobbyists to get their way with government and the myth of “making all first responders heroes.”

A body is transported from the scene of a mass shooting during the July 4th holiday weekend in Highland Park, Ill. Photo: Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune via AP

“When that mythological balloon has now been burst through, the cowardice and the incompetence of those officers on the scene in preventing the slaughter … and intervening in the slaughter, they now have to cover it up,” he said of the Uvalde shooting.

“One of the first roles of government is to protect its citizens. And when the apparatus set up to protect the citizens does not work, it leads to a loss of confidence in the government and thereby it leads to anarchy,” he explained.

Jillian Hanesworth was working next door to Tops Friendly Market when White supremacist Payton Gendron targeted the store, killing 10 Black people and injuring three others. Ms. Hanesworth is the first poet laureate of the city of Buffalo.

“That was White violence, hatred and White supremacy,” she said. “If he didn’t have that hatred for my people in his heart, he would never have traveled three hours to come to a grocery store in a Black neighborhood.”

She feels that the reforms Congress is attempting to make are too late, not enough and are mere placations. Local elected officials have not done anything to address what happened, she says. 

“Stop praying for us. We can pray for ourselves and come together. Stop and give us something tangible that you’re going to do to keep us safe, because our communities have felt like war zones for longer than I can remember,” she expressed. “There’s always one thing after another right? If it’s not a terrorist attack, it’s over policing. If it’s not over policing, it’s a lack of quality housing or access to quality jobs. We are in this perpetual state of survival, so we’re at a point where prayers and hopes sound beautiful but it’s not going to help us.”

According to statistics by Giffords Law Center, America leads high-income nations in gun violence, and Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed in a gun homicide than people in other high-income countries. Gun deaths in America have risen, and gun homicide has disproportionately impacted Black men. Black men have a higher lifetime risk of being shot and killed by police than any other demographic. Amnesty International states that more than 39,000 men, women and children are killed by guns every year in the country.

“The U.S. government is prioritizing gun ownership over basic human rights. Despite the huge number of guns in circulation and the sheer numbers of people killed by guns each year, there is a shocking lack of federal regulations that could save thousands,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, in a webpage listing gun violence key facts.

Police fired more than 90 bullets at Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old Black man from Akron, Ohio. He died with more than 60 wounds. He was unarmed. His death sparked several days of protests in the city. Among those arrested for demonstrating were Jacob Blake Sr., the father of 29-year-old Jacob Blake Jr., who was shot and paralyzed by a Kenosha, Wisc. police officer in 2020, and Bianca White, the aunt of Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police officers in March 2020.

Married couple Brooke and Matt Strauss look toward the scene of the mass shooting in downtown Highland Park, Ill., a Chicago suburb, after leaving their wedding bouquets near the scene of the July 4th mass shooting on July 5. Photo: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

One of RuQuan Brown’s football teammates was murdered in 2017, and his stepfather was murdered in 2018. Now a linguistics major at Harvard University, their murders jumpstarted his pursuit of justice and safety.

He explained that gun violence stems from a lack of love and a lack of self-esteem.

“I think that all of these killings are happening because Americans don’t love themselves. I think a policeman who’s able to look at an innocent person and not only shoot him once but fire dozens and dozens of rounds, they’re letting you know that they don’t feel good about themselves,” he said. “Because you shouldn’t need to take someone’s life to feel safe. You shouldn’t need to take someone’s life to feel justified. You shouldn’t need to take someone’s life to feel righteous. That’s disgusting.”

Legislation and America’s national decline

“Duty to God should always come first in everything we do. The more we neglect duty to God, the more the whole society falls into disrepair,” Minister Farrakhan writes in “A Torchlight for America.”

The Washington Post published an opinion article on America’s national decline based on a recent study by Michael J. Mazarr, a senior political scientist at the Rand Corp. Mr. Mazarr’s study, titled “The Societal Foundations of National Competitiveness,” concluded that “America is losing many of the seven attributes he believes are necessary for competitive success: national ambition and will; unified national identity; shared opportunity; an active state; effective institutions; a learning and adaptive society; and competitive diversity and pluralism.”

Some of the problems he pointed out include the unhappiness and dissatisfaction of the American people. He described the decline of a country as “a negative-feedback loop, a poisonous synergy.”

“This country really is built on violence. First of all, the genocide of the Native people over the last 500 years. The enslavement and subjugation of Black people from Africa. And now what is happening is that the scriptures are being fulfilled,” said Dr. Haleem Muhammad, who has a doctorate in urban planning and public policy. 

He described mass shootings as a result of a purposeful misinterpretation of the Second Amendment, which was ratified in part due to the slave patrols that existed during that era.

Mr. Brown explained that “laws are a reflection of the people.”

“When you look at the Constitution, the Constitution is written as a reflection of the thoughts and the hearts of the people who wrote it. And so of course, it’s unjust. Those were slave owners that were writing it,” he said. “Those are people who felt like it’s okay to rape, it’s okay to belittle, it’s okay to commit genocide. So the laws are going to reflect that and we’re still living on those laws. So until these laws are rewritten from hearts that are full of love, we’re going to continue to have the same consequences.”

A “manufacturer of culture” and the founder of the consulting company Victory Village, he helps to teach leaders how to love better.

Houston resident J. La’Shay Black is the mother of two children, a 16-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son. She expressed her worry for their future, especially her son. The 2014 death of 11-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, about 40 miles away from where Jayland Walker was shot and killed, served as a catalyst for Ms. Black. She volunteers with Moms Demand Action and works with their social media team and is also a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.

“I definitely want there to be more focus on the gun violence that’s perpetrated on the Black community by the police,” she said.

Gun control laws that could be enacted by Congress include raising the age that people can purchase weapons, requiring a license to carry, and requiring gun owners to have insurance that would go to families whose loved ones are accidentally or intentionally shot, she explained.

“I just don’t think that there is a reason that civilians should be allowed to carry automatic rifles, automatic weapons, weapons of war, basically. Because, as I’ve been saying, who are you fighting? What war are you waging if you’re carrying a weapon of war?” the mother questioned.

She is an advocate for holding politicians on all levels accountable and letting them know they can be replaced if change isn’t enacted through legislation.

For Mr. Brown, the solution is to use love as the basis for law and new community infrastructure. “The most important law is love,” he said. “And if you’re going to keep missing it, if you keep looking to America to put these laws into effect for your safety, the safest law is love.”

Ms. Hanesworth believes all White supremacist groups need to be classified as terrorist organizations. She said Black people need to acknowledge that “we are not placed on earth to simply survive.”

She explained that the Black community needs to consider if the existing political parties are appropriate for Black people and deserving of the Black vote or “if we need to start our own.” She also expressed that Black people need to unify and look into owning land and property and lean on each other’s strengths in order to help educate Black children.