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Detroit Raw by Sam Riddle

barbershop shooting victims

barbershop shooting victims

Street deaths, work hazard

By Sam Riddle
Special to the Michigan Citizen

We must not allow those who support “stand your ground” to put Renisha McBride on trial. Justice for Renisha simply means Renisha’s killer must be made to account for his inhumane actions. Trayvon Martin was put on trial in a manner that ultimately freed his killer. We know who the killer of Renisha McBride is. He is a clone of George Zimmerman. Michigan must not become Florida. We must raise all the hell we can while we can on this one because if we don’t stop it here the “stand your ground” slaughter will never end.

Death by the threes has dominated Detroit news from barber shops to an occasional charred body stuffed in a trash can while another minus-a-head is discovered even as we shake our heads for the umpteenth time when we hear of a one-year-old baby shot in the face on the heels of a funeral for the promising young law school grad. No one wants to get gas when the sun goes down; not big-time preachers, not even the chief of police.

Gun violence death in the workplaces of Detroit’s very above-ground underclass economy is one of the occupational hazards of a city littered with workplace danger not unlike one working in the construction industry that falls off an iron beam as a skyscraper is grown or coalminers trapped in poisonous air after a mine collapse. Some occupations are just high risk.

In mainstream commerce there is the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) agency whose sole function is ensuring workplaces are as safe as profit margins will allow. Tell that to the coal miners; 4,383 Americans died on the legitimate job in FY 2012.

In Detroit, OSHA is street sense.

How dare you compare decent hard-working folk with street thugs? Everyone is working at something whether you like it or not. On the streets that’s what it is — work.

Too many Detroit residents that could not or chose not to flee the city have been excluded from the legitimate job or entrepreneurial market. Food, clothing, shelter, transportation and even college for their children are items of generic concern to many left in a city where America is broken.

The underclass street careers that make for longer than normal Sunday sermons at mega-churches (where armed guards patrol parking lots on the lookout for predators) include gamblers, prostitutes, pimps, stick-up artists including ATM/bank/taxi cab robbers, carjackers, slinging drug dealers and run of the mill hustlers gaming as they can with dirty collar fraud. Prison, death and disease are occupational hazards.

“Call in the state police or National Guard,” is one cry. Military intervention did not work in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan or, now, Syria and it will not work in Detroit. The best crime deterrent is jobs, stable loving homes with values that send children to school laden with respect and a thirst for knowledge, not confrontation and disrespect. Real urban terrorism is no jobs, poverty, homelessness, Third World infant mortality levels, racist insurance rates, no democracy in Detroit and schools that don’t work.

All of Detroit must participate in the rebirth of a city we all should want to see succeed. Include all or continue to build that economic gated-community that all the military intervention on the planet will not save.

We must never let haters cause us to lose hope or dislike ourselves and never let haters make you weak in your faith. Keep the faith. Stay on the battlefield.

Sam Riddle is political director of Michigan National Action Network.  He can be reached on Facebook at or Twitter at


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