Black on Black crime is, unfortunatley, nothing new in the Black Community, but every now and again you run across a story like this one that makes you stop and say "Black people, we really need to do better." Michael Muchioki was a 27 year-old software engineer who grew up in Jersey City and attended the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in Newark where he became a member of the historically black fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha and graduated with a degree in Computer Science in 2004. Mike's fiancée, Nia Haqq, was a 25 year-old associate producer for a Nickelodeon affiliate and native Jersey-Girl who attended The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in Ewing, New Jersey (near Trenton) where she became a member of the historically black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha and graduated with a degree in Interactive Multimedia in 2007.
The couple had recently become engaged and bought a house together in Jersey City. On Easter Sunday, as the couple was driving back from their engagement party in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Nia parked her Honda CRV in Jersey City near the couple's home at approximately 3am when reportedly 3 black youth (one male and two female) dressed in hoodies stopped Mike & Nia at gun-point, told them to get out of the parked car, and when they did, they murdered the couple execution style: Mike was shot in the back of the head with a shotgun, Nia was shot in the back of the head by a hand gun. The car-jackers attempted to drive off in the Honda but were unable to because of its anti-theft device. In the end, the would-be car jackers made off with a few gift cards, an ipod, and Nia's engagement ring. A few days later, the 3 black youth were identified as Darmelia Lawrence, Latonia Bellamy and Shiquan Bellamy; they were arrested and charged with felony murder, armed robbery, and illegal weapons possession. All three murder suspects are only 19 years-old. Mike and Nia were buried together in the Rosedale & Rosehill Cemetery in Linden; they would have been married in April of 2011.
Probably the only thing worse than this situation itself is that the male member of the group, Shiquan Bellamy, is accused of three OTHER murders before this one, for a total of 5 murders in a 2-month period. Who does this cat think he is, O-Dog from Menace to Society? I don't even believe in the death penalty because of its disproportionate application to minorities, but for this dude I'd be willing to make an exception. And on top of all that, I was just asking one of my prosecutor friends in Jersey City how in the hell a cat wanted in 3 murders is even walking the streets in the first place? But I digress.
What I really wanted to talk about with this story is this: How did we, as the Black Community, allow our youth to get to the point where something like this can happen? How does a 19 year-old get to the point where he or she thinks that human life is less valuable than a car or an even an iPod? What is the Black Community or society in general doing, or NOT doing, with today's youth that makes tragedies like this more and more prevalent in our neighborhoods? And more importantly, what can we do to stop it?