If there is one thing the black community desperately needs right now, it is a voice of reason and truthfulness. Sadly, the majority of those in high-profile positions who could take to the bully pulpit and speak “truth to power” or “truth to the masses” only seem to come out of the woodwork if we have a boogeyman to blame.

If the police are involved in a shooting, no matter the criminal nature of the victim, certain folks are quick to have something to say. If the shooting involves individuals within the same community, aka black-on-black crime, church mouse quiet is the norm.

As many of you are aware, we are having a horrific epidemic of violence in this city. In less than one 12-hour period around March 25, we had 12 people shot. The other day in South Shore, four were killed at a restaurant. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the majority of folks doing the shooting are living in someone else’s household. They aren’t paying rent or going to work every day. Can those who shelter the criminals be criminally charged themselves? Are they innocent victims themselves or are they “turning a blind eye” and thus concealing the truth?

There is a federal statute called “misprision of a felony.” What is it? “Title 18 U.S.C. § 4. Misprision of felony: Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

This country has tons of laws on the books. We are constantly told that the “no snitch” mindset permeates the community, so folks who are wreaking havoc do so with impunity. I had never heard the term “misprision” used, so I, too, questioned whether people are being charged with a crime for failure to report a crime. Then I read of the sentencing of Joey Meek.

If Meek’s name isn’t familiar to a lot of you, that is understandable. Meek is a friend of Dylan Roof, the Charleston church shooter who killed nine people at Emanuel AME Church. In the weeks prior to the shooting, Roof told Meek of his plan to start a race war. After the shootings, Meek told family and friends about Roof’s plans, but tried to stop them from saying anything. Meeks was found guilty of misprision and sentenced to 27 months in federal prison.

Chicago’s violence and its continued occurrence have a lot to do with those with Meek’s mindset. If a Facebook Live video of the rape of a 15-year-old girl has 40 viewers, how come those 40 people aren’t charged with “misprision?” When the killers and shooters who are terrorizing this city are caught, how come their relatives who put the roof over their heads aren’t charged with “misprision?” How come the police whose written statements about the Laquan McDonald shooting look nothing like the actual video aren’t charged with “misprision?”

Until everyone who needs to be held accountable are held to the same standards, we are hypocrites, and those committing the carnage will continue to so do.