Cleveland NAACP Pres.: Don't blame CHL-holder for protecting himself

Cleveland's News Channel 5 is reporting that the Cleveland NAACP responded Friday to criticism surrounding the shooting death of a teenage boy during a robbery, and for once this organization is placing the blame where it belongs - on the criminal.

From the story:

    NAACP President George Forbes and Cleveland Councilman Zach Reed said the black community failed 15-year-old Arthur Buford, NewsChannel5 reported.

    They said Buford was wrong for allegedly trying to rob Damon Wells at gunpoint on Saturday.

    Wells opened fire and killed Buford at East 134th Street and Kinsman. Police said Wells had a valid weapons permit and used the gun in self-defense.

    "Then you have a 26-year-old young man who had every right to protect his life, protect his fiance and protect his property. But he has to life with the fact that for the rest of his lie he shot a 15-year-old boy," said Reed.

    "That man had a right to do what he did. If he didn't do it, we'd be sitting here today mourning him rather than the 15-year-old," said Forbes.

Mr. Forbes should contact his associates at the national NAACP office in Baltimore, because unfortunately, they are hard at work trying to deny the good citizens of Washington D.C. the same rights Forbes correctly recognizes Wells had the right to employ in Cleveland.

In March, the NAACP announced that it "strongly opposes any move to repeal the District's self-enacted gun safety measures" which were " a means of protecting the children and law enforcement officers of their constituents."

Despite proof that the inane D.C. gun ban has done anything but protect children and law enforcement, liberal politics continues to rule at the national NAACP. Thankfully, in Cleveland, there are growing signs that the more typically anti-self-defense individuals are no longer interested in continuing the status quo.

Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett has addressed the latest developments with the Cleveland NAACP in another excellent column, entitled "Time to stand up to thug culture":

    They once risked their lives for liberty, faced fire hoses and police dogs and killers lurking under white sheets.

    How could they cower now before mere teenagers with guns?

    The press release offered hope: "Law abiding African-Americans WILL NOT TOLERATE lawlessness and 'thug life' culture, NAACP declares."

    The TV cameras were ready on Friday, waiting for tough words about how a 25-year-old black man was forced to shoot and kill a black 15-year-old who tried to rob him last week.

    While the NAACP's Stanley Miller set up chairs, he told me that the columns I wrote about the shooting death of Arthur Buford were a wake-up call.

    Then it seemed as if everyone fell back to sleep.

    NAACP President George Forbes, a pillar of civil rights, spoke so softly I had to lean in to hear him.

    This wasn't just about Buford, he said. The night before Buford died robbing Damon Wells, an 80-year-old with a gun chased away a robber in her home. A week before that, someone shot and killed a 13-year-old
    stepping off a bus.
    "I don't have a solution," Forbes said. "I wish I did."

"For 50 years," Brett writes, "Forbes has been protecting black people from white people. Now he has to figure out how to protect black people from black people. The leading cause of death for black men 15 to 34 is homicide."

    The NAACP had wanted to hold its meeting at a social service agency on Kinsman Road where Buford died, but the agency was too scared, Forbes said.

    Miller later said the agency wasn't afraid. It had declined because the Buford family planned a gathering there.

    Wouldn't this have been an important message for Buford's family to hear? Especially his young cousins, who keep proclaiming his innocence.

    A black man's civil rights were violated. Wells' right to be safe walking down the street, standing in his yard.

    Could it be the community is too afraid to speak up for Wells? Too afraid to confront children with guns?

    It looks like it.

    Mayor Frank Jackson is still AWOL. The preachers and politicians have laryngitis.

    Forbes told me, "We're groping like everybody else."

"While we grope," continues Brett, "we need to act.

    First, get a coalition to come to Kinsman and take down that shrine to an aggravated robber. Pop the balloons. Give the stuffed animals away. Rip down the tributes.

    Tape up a new sign. It's time to proclaim once again: We shall overcome.

    Not some day. Today.

    Then move over to Wells' home and replace the windows someone shattered.

    We cannot afford to be afraid.

    We need to show every teen out there that the entire community - the white community, the black community, the concealed carry community - stands behind, beside and in front of the Damon Wellses of this world.

    That together, we WILL NOT TOLERATE lawlessness and "thug life" culture.

AMEN, and amen.

Related Stories:
Plain Dealer letter-writers let 'em have it

Plain Dealer columnists defend self-defense

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