The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Shootings on the Rise in Washington, D.C.

Oct 14, 2019

There has been an up-tick in killings in Washington, D.C. in the past three years. The city is starting to feel like a war zone, with homicides listed nightly on the news.

On October 10th, a D.C. Housing Authority worker was shot and killed near Capitol Hill. Police think he was robbed while eating lunch in his car. On October 8th, 24-year-old Kevin Better of southeast D.C. was shot in the head and later died. That killing was one of three that night. And on October 9th a 15-year-old Anacostia High School student was shot and killed. The week before had just as many killings. And these are coming on top of 134 homicides so far this year.

Earlier this year, a teenager was shot in the back when 40 or more bullets were sprayed in front of a barbershop in the middle of the afternoon. In July, a man was shot and killed near Sheriff Road.

D.C. has one of the highest crime rates in the United States, compared to all communities of all sizes—from the smallest towns to the very largest cities. One’s chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime is one in 17. Murder, rape, robbery, and assault are all higher in D.C. than the national average.

And this in the shadow of the White House and the Capitol. This city, the political center of the United States, is home to an enormous wealth gap. Just look at infant mortality. In D.C.’s Ward 8, the poorest ward, infant mortality was 14.9 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. In contrast, the infant mortality rate in Ward 3, D.C.’s most affluent ward, was only 1.2 deaths per 1,000 live births.

This is a city where Under Armour’s Kevin Plank can put his Georgetown estate on the market for 24.5 million dollars—a property he purchased for 7.85 million in 2013. And in the same city, there are homeless people living in tents!

This is a city where wealthy children go to some of the best schools while poor and working class children are left behind in a destroyed public school system.

This is a city where there is nothing in poor neighborhoods. No transportation, NO JOBS, no grocery stores. And all this nothing exists right next door to enormous wealth and opportunity completely closed off to poor and working class people.

It is not surprising that people are angry, that they turn on each other, prey on each other. They see no way out of a desperate situation. Without a collective solution, without an organized working class to lead the fight for jobs and against poverty, there is no real way out.