50 years ago, black and white people marched across a bridge in Selma, Alabama and a new country was birthed.
That was 1965. 50 years later, we find ourselves in the enlightened year of 2015: black gang violence has now leveled the 80 percent black city of Selma, proving those "evil" white people who dared try and stop black and white people from marching across the bridge were right.
But we knew this by 1994...[In Selma, Everything and Nothing Changed, New York Times, 8-2-1994]:
The schools here are generally still segregated, with the old white public schools virtually all black and the whites -- working class as well as wealthy -- in private academies. The racial violence of the past is largely gone, replaced by a flood of drug-related, black-on-black crime that dwarfs the violence of Jim Crow. The civil rights leaders of the 1960's are now the entrenched political class, but the state-mandated tax code still protects the interests of the white landowners who preceded them.
Like so many people in Selma, pastor Robert Pettus was disheartened by the shootings at the Oasis Tabernacle in mid-September. That's when a gunman opened fire and injured three people. The city recorded a total of nine shootings that same weekend.
A few weeks later, Pettus is gearing up for another 'Cash For Guns' buy back at the Macedonia Apostolic Church where he ministers to his flock.
"Well, this is a concern. We want to get all the guns we can," he said.
Pettus started Cash For Guns because he was tired of people getting murdered in Selma. During the program's first three years, Pettus says he's taken nearly 200 illegal weapons off the streets.
"That lets me know we are making an impact," Pettu explained.
A request for the latest crime statistics from the Selma Police Department was never answered.
The photos from last year's event show a table full of pistols, rifles and sawed-off shotguns. Part of the program includes Pettus paying $75.00 for each weapon until he runs out of money. Pettus says he's collected $4,500 from the community and the church.
He makes it a point to not ask questions when a gun is turned in.
"We do that so they won't feel discouraged or pressured. We just want the guns off the streets," the pastor said.
Pettus is fully aware there could be a case where the individual takes the money and buys another weapon, but he feels the benefits outweigh any potential downside to the Cash For Guns program.
"We had one lady who turned in a gun and said she would use the proceeds to pay her light bill, so that's good for her," Pettus said.
Selma police will be on hand to make sure the weapons aren't loaded. The guns will be taken away and destroyed by police.
Pastor Pettus never believed for one minute his Cash For Guns would suddenly eradicate gun violence in Selma, "But one thing we do know is we've always said the ones we do get, they'll never be used to harm or kill anybody," Pettus said.A city completely dominated by a black power structure - with a majority black city council (they've enjoyed a majority black city council since 1987), black police chief, and black school superintendent - is nothing more than a representative of exactly what would occur were whites to watch Selma go from white-rule to black-rule, as articulated by the architects of Jim Crow white and black marched to overthrow in 1965...
It's 2015, and life is so much better in today's 80 percent black Selma than it was back when Jim Crow still ruled.