Thursday, September 15, 2011

Then We Died


There seems to be this fierce competition occurring in our inner city streets. But this is no athletic challenge, although running can at times be involved, and despite what some may think it is not a test of whits. From my point of view it seems that those who are the most wanting in life's fundamental lessons strive to successful in the art of self destruction and genocide. They use the energy from their empty vessel, and go around turning innocent men and women into hollow corpses. But this is a non issue, because murder is clearly the wave this year. Or so I've been told.

I’ve also been told that it is ok to wear pants so tight that it is possible to count the exact change in my right pocket without ever asking to see it, but that is an entirely different conversation, sidelined for a moment when I am not so mortified with what people who look just like you and me have done to our neighborhoods. I’m pained by the reality of what stands before me, in just one weekend in Brooklyn New York, 48 people were shot, seven people lost their lives, and through it all I’m left wondering who made murder a fad, and why does it seem like the same place that I have always loved is now turning into a war zone. And of course I can lie to myself and say that it was just one really bad weekend in Brooklyn, but then I look at the stats, and it is clear that one bad weekend could never begin to explain the carnage taking place in our streets.
In an NYPD report titled “Murder In New York” I learned that 536 homicides took place in New York, during the year of 2010, out of the 536 homicide cases , 42% of them took place in Brooklyn, and gun shot wounds were the cause of death 61% of the time. 

These frighten me on levels not possibly understood by most. The stark reality seems to be that somewhere during this long process we call existing, more and more people have decided that they enjoy bathing in the blood of victims. And I am so hurt because somewhere at this moment as I write and you read, and someone else loves, and a couple laughs there is another person dying. Their life expired, heart beat coming to an end, eyes closing, and breathing taking a forever pause. I cry for the future that they will never experience, the family that they leave behind, the husband/wife they will never marry. The children that will never be born, how can we live in a world where a reality like this is not troubling?!

I continued to read that report, and what I learned was that 33% of all murders in New York were made by African Americans between the ages of 15-29, and 30% of all murder suspects were between the ages of 16-21 years old. It is clear that the majority of cold blooded killers in our world are little boys and girls. Children who lost their way, or were lead down a dark path, were raised by the wrong people, or always surrounded by the ugly in the world, and with this realization I am forced to ask this question. Whose fault is it?

So while you sit and shake your head over the ugly that continues to happen in our streets, and the followers continue to put the RIP Facebook status updates which are usually quickly followed up with an SMH at the circumstances, I would like to do something drastically different.
For this moment everything on my side will change, the day’s of being frustrated but docile are over. This is the moment when I declare war on all those who decide that it is ok to take a life. I formally renounce anyone who is gang involved or has gang association. This is the moment when I take a stand against drug trafficking. Because while you read, what I have taken out but a moment to write, there is an innocent young man with a lot of anger in his heart being initiated into a gang, there is a sixteen year old girl running into the arms of a 40 year old man, she goes to him for love and security, and he uses her for sex. He tells her she’s beautiful between punches, beating her to a bloody pulp in a desperate need to establish the manhood he never got a true definition of.

And while you gasp in shock over those stories, there is a young man taking three bullets to the chest over a neighborhood rivalry, or a two year old girl being shot in the head because someone was aiming for her father. We continue to do nothing, and then we die. Nobody won.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with many of your points here. However, I think that the battle that needs to be fought is a war on POVERTY. For it’s condition is generational and it has a strong grasp on its victims minds, which is why you see so many young people with $150 sneakers, skinny True Religions, & bmw’s in the hood. People in poverty live in horrible living conditions with a poor quality of life. Knowing nothing but these living conditions leaves the impression that life, itself, has little to no value. Also, without college dreams and aspirations other than escaping the hell hole they grew up in, they see little value to their own life and, therefore, it becomes that much more easier to take another’s life.

    College, dreams, & aspirations are actively foster or nuturished in many households nor is it taught in their failing schools. Instead, many impoverished children are taught SURVIVAL MECHANISMS that will get them by day-to-day in gang-infested, drug-infested neighborhoods. For too many, prison has become a rite of passage and is readily expected and accepted by many young Black/Latino males, just as teen pregnancy and fatherless homes is expected and accepted by young Black/Latino women. So what would be my antidote or weapon of choice in this battle?? EDUCATION. With quality education, children can be taught from an early age that they DESERVE a better life and can achieve if they work hard at it. TEACHERS need to be committed to educating children and doing all that it takes to free them from mental poverty.

    Another weapon is strong positive MEDIA IMAGES. Stats show that more Black and minority children watch TV than white children. In effect, they are constantly seeing overhyperlized images of sex and violence. However, positive programming and public media figures can leave a positive influence on the way they think and teach them that they can achieve greatness and escape poverty in more ways than becoming a hip hop artist or basketball player.