PHILADELPHIA—The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam, writes in His seminal book, “The Fall of America,” that “The country of America displays and practices more savagery than any civilized country on earth. There is no such thing as law and order. The law is disregarded as though it were thrown in the jungle to be carried out by savage beasts. Murdering and killing.”
This lawlessness is on full display as 373 mass shootings have rocked the United States through July 13 of this year, according to The Gun Violence Archive. At least 17 states and Washington, D.C., were impacted during the Fourth of July weekend while America celebrated its most sacred of holidays. As fireworks lit up the sky, gunfire echoed in the streets, leaving many casualties and hundreds injured. The Gun Violence Archive recorded at least 22 mass shootings nationwide, making it one of the deadliest Fourth of July weekends in U.S. history.
According to its website, The Gun Violence Archive is an online archive of gun violence incidents collected from over 7,500 law enforcement, media, government and commercial sources daily in an effort to provide near-real-time data about the results of gun violence.
The archive reported that as of the early hours of July 5 there had been 22 mass shootings across 17 states and Washington, D.C. The shootings left at least 20 people dead and over 100 injured. These incidents were defined as mass shootings, where four or more people are killed or injured by guns, not including the shooter.
Mass shootings meeting the specified criteria occurred in California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington, D.C. These incidents ranged from drive-by shootings to incidents at block parties and concerts, targeting victims of all ages, including children as young as two years old. Perpetrators varied from multiple suspects still at large to lone individuals, with reports of one suspect wearing body armor and mask.
Several major cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, and Fort Worth, Texas, experienced devastating mass shootings.
One of the more heinous events happened in Philadelphia over the holiday weekend as a heavily armed man went on a deadly shooting spree. Armed with an AR-15 style rifle, a pistol and wearing a bulletproof vest and ski mask, the gunman indiscriminately fired at least 50 shots at victims. The horrifying incident unfolded in the Kingsessing neighborhood, resulting in the deaths of five people, including a teenage boy. Shocking surveillance footage captured the gunman shooting at vehicles at an intersection, causing injuries to a mother and her young twins.
The alleged gunman, Kimbrady Carriker, 40, appeared in court on July 5 to face a series of charges including murder, attempted murder, reckless endangerment, aggravated assault, and carrying a firearm without a valid permit. Carriker is being held without bail.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam has been a constant voice of warning about what is happening in the United States. He spoke of the downward spiral of the country during his prophetic 2020 Saviours’ Day message titled, “The Unraveling of a Great Nation.”
Student Minister Rodney Muhammad of Mosque No. 12 in Philadelphia and representative of the Delaware Valley Region spoke on the ongoing amount of gun violence plaguing the nation. “Violence has been increasing in the U.S. with little prevention or intervention from those with the power to act. Those in power are instead more focused on profiting from gun sales and disregarding public safety,” he told The Final Call.
“The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan accomplished much between 1989 – 2000, including a Stop the Killing Tour and the Million Man March. He influenced both the Million Women March and Million Youth March and produced the comprehensive book entitled, “The National Agenda,” Student Minister Rodney Muhammad said.
“The National Agenda addresses key issues and solutions to this suffering, but the efforts of Minister Louis Farrakhan have seemingly been abandoned. Without his influence, Black America remains trapped in a cycle of misery. We need change but don’t want to change,” he added.
“A person who can convince others not to resort to violence or even carry guns should be valued by the Black community, particularly given the lack of other options for dialogue. It is unfortunate that those most impacted by Minister Farrakhan’s teachings are the last to be listened to when it comes to stopping the violence in our communities and ending the carnage.
Rochelle Bilal, who heads the Guardian Civic League and the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Department, told The Final Call the answer to gun violence does not lie solely in gun legislation on the local state or federal level. “Addressing gun violence in this country goes beyond simply focusing on the guns themselves. We need to examine the root cause of poverty, which often leads to reactive behavior rather than thoughtful consideration,” said Sheriff Bilal.
“While gun violence is certainly a component, it is just one piece of the larger issue. We may have theories about how and why guns end up in our communities, but resorting to violence is not the solution. The problem extends beyond the presence of firearms and involves the challenges our communities face. The elephant in the room is not the lack of gun laws but rather a society that refuses to address racism and poverty.”
Bilal Qayyum serves as leader of the Philadelphia-based Father’s Day Rally Committee. He told The Final Call that the Black community needs to take ownership of the issue of violence in their communities. “Throughout history, we achieved success when we took ownership and organized ourselves. We made significant progress from our involvement in electoral politics to addressing the gang problem. By taking ownership, we reduced gang violence and created a safer environment,” said Mr. Qayyum.
“Despite facing great opposition, we even took ownership of the Million Man March. When we come together and take ownership, we can overcome any challenge. Now, it is time for us to collectively take ownership of the violence in our community, regardless of what elected officials may say. We must organize, reach out to our brothers, and change their mindset.”
Mr. Qayyum agrees with Minister Farrakhan’s call for Black communities to create safe and decent places to live in their cities.
“This call to action was made during the ‘Justice or Else’ event, which marked the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. According to Minister Farrakhan, the Black community faces two major challenges: external violence, including police misconduct, and internal violence among its members. He (Min. Farrakhan) urged the recruitment of 10,000 individuals who were brave enough to combat this bloodshed.”—Michael Z. Muhammad, Contributing Writer