Saturday, March 1, 2014

Thoughts on a mother in mourning, gun violence and the Black community's inability to stop the killings

I spent time this afternoon with a sista/mother who is grieving over the loss of her son. He was shot to death in a local night club in December of last year. The person responsible for the shooting is someone that she knows because he use to hang out with her son. No charges have been filed against him for killing her son. That only makes his death even more painful because no justice has been served.

As I listened to her sharing some of the pain, frustration and confusion that she feels over the loss of her child, I realized that I have been in the position during different times of my life. I know women and men who have had to endure the death of a son or a daughter due to gun violence. Their children were friends of my children or classmates who had their lives ended suddenly with the squeeze of a trigger. 

There are never really any adequate words that help to soothe the pain that they are feeling. Expressing sympathy or outrage seems to fall very short in terms of what they need. What they actually need is their child alive and unharmed. There is no way to fulfill that in reality. 

I thought about the reality that no charges have been filed yet. The shooter is free to move about and to live his life. That has to be a helluva situation to live with afterwards. I am not sure if I could do it. From what I have seen it takes an exceptional individual to go through that situation and believe that in due time justice will be served. I have been blessed to be spared the experience personally. But knowing that there are mothers and fathers who never receive that exchange makes it difficult to be optimistic about the outcome. 

These are the parents of children who do not receive a lot of local or national news coverage. There are no petitions online for people to sign that demand a police department or prosecuting attorney do the right thing by investigating and charging the responsible person or persons for their acts. There no rallies or massive shares of the incident on social media or even stories in blogs-unless the blogger has some type of personal connection with the family. 

These parents often make their way through this space without the support of people who are concerned about living in places where everyone is safe. Simply because their child's death was at the hands of a person of the same race and gender. It seems that the madness of the pathology has managed to render us numb or incapable of responding. 

What can we do for these families? How do we help them receive the justice that they seek? What type of healing power can we exert as a community to help them formulate some form of closure?

I wish that I had answers that provided some form of active response to their needs. I wish that there was some form of salve that could be applied to help ease the wounding that occurs in a case like this. 

We can rally and show righteous outrage over racially motivated shootings. We will whip up into a frenzy and give out a daily dose of hell on earth in regards to those incidents. Why is it so damn hard for us to respond to this type of gun violence? 

Yet, we remain silent when the shooter is someone within our community. Some of us will even blame the victim because it seemingly is easier to fault that person or persons for being in a situation that cost them their life. We will tolerate a killer in a midst and feel comfortable with them moving about as if this type of behavior is natural and we are powerless to do anything about it. That reality is even more difficult to live with because until we find a way to make shooters realize that there is zero tolerance for their bloodletting, it will continue. 

There has to be a line drawn about gun ownership and what is acceptable and more importantly what is not going to be tolerated. This idea that killing someone without justification beyond owning a gun has got to stop! 

Until we as a collective community deal with the problem that has wrapped itself around us like an Albatross there will continue to be mothers and fathers mourning the deaths of their children. 

Not saying anything or resisting the idea that there is no value connected to living Black people is like saying that is alright when senseless shootings occur. 

This is a Black identity that I believe we need to shun. 

My question is simple. When do we start?

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