Looking in the Mirror

Spiritual Revelations for those seeking Humanity in Humans ~~CordieB.

Archive for November 3, 2008

Lessons from the Hood – Perhaps you can find it; I’m tired

Jamal

Jamal - RIP

It’s 5:15 in the morning and I’m turning over in a blissful dream; for which I forgot the second I was awakened by the evil one – the telephone.  It’s my daughter, Michelle, she calls me for the most trivial things. . . so I’m not really alarmed by the fact that it’s 5 in the morning . . . just slightly agitated.  I immediately notice, however, the urgency in her voice  . . . I sat up, realizing this is not another trivial call to ask is 100 a high temperature for her 1 year-old.

"Tu-Tu’s been shot," she’s crying in the phone.  "Aunt Sandra and Tan need a ride to the hospital."

I rub my eyes, trying desperately to get my self together.  A thousand memories come into my mind . . . like when my sister informed me that my other nephew, her son, was found dead near the house.  I was at work then. . . I remember the horror of the reality. . . I’m trying to focus back on what my daughter is muffling on the phone through her tears and sobbing. . .

"What do you mean, Tu-Tu’s been shot.  Where is he. . . what hospital?"

"He was found by a lady last night lying in the street.  The police came by Aunt Sandra’s house this morning to let her know that he’d been shot twice in the stomach.  No one knows his condition."

I’m trying to keep my composure.  I’m so sick of bad news; so sick of crying, grieving for my young.  After a bit of conversation, which I can no longer remember, I hang up to call my sister.

Tu-Tu is her Grandson.  She loves him, as she loves all of her children and grandchildren, but the worry we have for our young men is such . . . indescribable.

His other grandmother, Ms. Peggy, answers the telephone.  She informs me that Sandra has already left to go to the emergency room.  She’s in tears, crying. . . "why would someone want to shoot my baby . . . why they wanna hurt my baby . . .  "

I look up and realize it’s on the news.  A 15 year old boy was found around 11:15 last night shot, apparently twice in the stomach.  The victim remains in critical condition . . . anyone with information . . . please contact the police. . .

I’m feeling really scared now.  I feel so helpless.  I wonder how long he had lay there before he was found.  I say a prayer that God mend his wounds. . . heal his tissues –  bring them back together – please God – let him survive!  As I pray frantically in my mind for a miracle, others are praying too.

As I arrive at the hospital, I see my sister and my niece, Tu-Tu’s mother, Steph, sitting outside – with the look of somberness I’m become far too accustomed to seeing.  My heart drops . . . I’m trying hard to hold my weight up.  I’m strong . . . I can do this.

My niece is the first to speak.  She and I are the same age – actually she’s a year older than I.  We are like sisters.  We never had to experience the experiences our children face when we were growing up.  We had such good times in our youth.  It’s so sad that our children can’t have the fun we had. . .

"He’s in recovery.  They performed surgery.  He’s recovering from the surgery.  The doctor’s say that he’s a lucky young man. . . the bullet took a part of his liver off and the other bullet is still inside of him – it can’t be removed.  They say he can expect a full recovery, almost.  He’ll be able to function pretty normally.  No need for bags or anything like that. If either bullet would have been a fraction of an inch higher or lower, it would be a whole other picture."

I feel relieved.  "God still hears our prayers," I say to myself.  "Thank you God," . . I say out loud.  I visit my nephew for a short time.  He’s pretty doped up with morphine, but he acknowledges my presence. He tells me he loves me and to go home and rest.  He’s so brave.   I break down and cry when I look at his frailty.  He looks younger than 15 in the hospital clothes and bed.  I am reminded again how much danger our young men face each day in this neighborhood. . . city.  I cry, I sob at the miracle of survival and at the sadness of the existence we face each day.

In the aftermath . . we don’t know why Tu-Tu was shot.  It’s a suspected robbery; but he had nothing of value, other than a metal dog chain – which was snatched from around his neck.  He was riding a bike.  It was stolen too.

Now here is the kicker . . . the part that I don’t understand.  Tu-Tu knows the assailant.  Although he doesn’t know the motive, he knows who is responsible for leaving him for dead.   Yet, he refuses to identify the assailant to the police.  "That’s snitching," he tries to convince me, his mother, his grandmother, his sister and all of us who feel it is imperative that he identify this boy who shot him; leaving him for dead.

He becomes angry when we report the suspect to the police ourselves.  He believes that there will be retaliation against his family or something.  But what can you do.  Do you sit like a pawn awaiting the day when he may try again . . . do you fear to that degree what the street will label you if you let the police know who tried to kill you?  Are we putting Tu-Tu’s life in danger by reporting it ourselves; thus having the "street" labeling him as a "snitch."

The police are no help without Tu-Tu’s testimony.  All we say, they consider "hear say."  They can’t pick up this young man and take him off the street because his victim refuses to finger him.  Although many people, like his mother, sister, grandmother, and myself are not afraid of the punk or the consequences, Tu-Tu is sticking to the rule of the street – No snitching under any circumstances.  To do so will bring danger upon those you love.  We realize that this person is dangerous; and he will kill eventually.  But we are left with our hands in the air.  Our words hold no value to the law.  We are not eye-witnesses.  The police do not take our words at face value.  And yes, I know the law is meant to protect the innocent from false testimony – I have no answers.

Tu-Tu and his mother go to court.  No questions are asked of Tu-Tu; only of his mother.   She’s informed, matter-of-factly, that she can only answer the questions by saying yes or no.  Questions like:  Is Tu-Tu left unsupervised while you work?  Yes.   Has any of Tu-Tu’s friends been killed this past year.  Yes.   Is he part of a gang.  No.  It seems they are victimizing the victim even more.  A committee will decide what the next action will be.   Tu-Tu’s mother is informed that if anything happens to the suspect, Tu-Tu will be arrested.  So far, we have heard nothing more on the findings of the committee.  Inquiries only give us the run-around.

A month has passed and Tu-Tu goes back to school only to see, guess who, sitting in the front of the class.  The boy makes the gun gesture with his hands and point the gesture to his head and at Tu-Tu.  A fight ensues.  The boy’s uncle comes to the school and asks the police to please take him off his hands.  His parents are no where to be found. . . he has been nothing but trouble.  The police inform the boy’s uncle that the boy is a juvenile.  That they can’t lock him up for hear say.  They ask, what would we charge him with? The uncle says, I know he is a killer.  I can’t prove it by eye-sight; but I know.  The police say their hands are tied.  It is not enough.  The need an eye witness.  The only eye-witnesses refuse to testify or are dead already.

The police pick up the boy and some friends in Tu-Tu’s neighborhood on the same day.  Word on the street is they were looking for Tu-Tu.  They were found with a gun in the car.  The juvenile is again released – as the gun could not be proven to belong to anyone in particular.

So . . . I ask you . . . what is the lesson.  I’m too tired to figure it out.   Perhaps I should send this to the local news paper. . . because no one seems to care about young black men killing each other . . . as long it stays in the hood.   Would not the police and court response have been different if this had been in an affluent neighborhood?  Why are these two still in the same school.  Are not our kids suppose to be protected in school?  I just don’t know what to think. . .

It’s been two months since Tu-Tu was shot.  Each time I hear gun shots I’m reminded of the incident and call to assure he’s in the house.  I’m afraid to let my own son, who is also 15 out of my site.  Although he and Tu-Tu hang out, Tu-Tu won’t even allow Sam to walk with him to the corner store any more.  Sam often walks anyway.  Homecoming game is out of the question.  It’s scary.  It’s sad.

It’s yet another beautiful, yet deadly day in the hood.  Another young man was shot last night.  My daughter called me around 10 last night to let me know Jamal was shot.   This morning around 5:15, she called to confirm he didn’t make it.   This morning we mourn the loss; reflect upon the life.  Jamal was 19, married young.  He was trying to do the family thing.  There is always envy in the hood when one tries to do the right thing.   We do not know who did it.   .   .     We will most likely find out on the street today who it is.  It won’t make a difference though…

Written by CordieB.  I wish it were fiction; but it’s true.

The latest news article on Jamal is here

What Starts with F and ends with K? Even a 3rd Grader Knows This!

A first-grade teacher, Ms. Brooks, was having trouble with one of her students. The teacher asked, ‘Harry, what’s your problem?’

Harry answered, ‘I’m too smart for the 1st grade. My sister is in the 3rd grade and I’m smarter than she is! I think I should be in the 3rd grade too!’

Ms. Brooks had had enough. She took Harry to the principal’s office.

While Harry waited in the outer office, the teacher explained to the principal what the situation was.. The principal told Ms. Brooks he would give the boy a test. If he failed to answer any of his questions he was to go back to the 1st grade and behave. She agreed.

Harry was brought in and the conditions were explained to him and he agre ed to take the test.

Principal: ‘What is 3 x 3?’
Harry: ‘9.’
Principal: ‘ What is 6 x 6?’
Harry: ’36.’

And so it went with every question the principal thought a 3rd grader should know.

! The principal looks at Ms. Brooks and tells her, ‘I think Harry can go to the 3rd grade.’

Ms. Brooks says to the principal, ‘Let me ask him some questions.’

The principal and Harry both agreed.

Ms. Brooks asks, ‘What does a cow have four of that I have only two of?’
Harry, after a moment: ‘Legs.’

Ms. Brooks: ‘What is in your pants that you have but I do not have?’

The principal wondered why would she ask such a question!

Harry replied: ‘Pockets.’

Ms. Brooks: ‘What does a dog do that a man steps in to?’
Harry: ‘Pants.’

Ms. Brooks: What starts with a C, ends with a T, is hairy, oval, delicious and contains thin, whitish liquid?’
Harry: ‘Coconut.’

The principal sat forward with his mouth hanging open.

Ms. Brooks: ‘What goes in hard and pink then comes out soft and sticky?’

The principal’s eyes opened really wide and before he could stop the answer, Harry replied, ‘Bubble gum.’

Ms. Brooks: ‘What does a man do standing up, a woman does sitting down and a dog does on three legs?’
Harry: ‘Shake hands.’

The principal was trembling.

Ms. Brooks: ‘What word starts with an ‘F’ and ends in ‘K’ that means a lot of heat and excitement?’
Harry: ‘Firetruck.’

The principal breathed a sigh of relief and told the teacher, ‘Put Harry in the fifth-grade, I got the last seven questions wrong……

Life’s Purpose

King of Pumpkins --CordieB

King of Pumpkins --CordieB

As I visited my fellow bloggers this morning. . . most of whom have a spiritual connection in some manner; if not spiritual, most of those I encounter are in search of something  . . . . I suppose, because I am such, I migrate to such.  But, I realize that there are those who live each day and never, ever question such unanwerable puzzles as “What is the Purpose of Life.”

Children go from day to day, creating, imagining, loving and playing. . . yet they never question such deep, mind twisting questions.  Although very inquisitive, children never question such nonscense.  I would imagine my grandchild’s eye brows would rise should I asked him such a question.   He would most likely say – “you’re playing nana, ha ha” and continue building a lego ville to touch the ceiling.

So, today I question myself.  Why must I find purpose.  Is there really a Purpose for life.

Have you ever given a gift to someone just because you wanted them to have it . . . no strings attached.  . .

If you have, then you know that once you give the gift, you don’t really care what they do with it. . . it is given with love for them to do whatever they choose to do with it. There is no need for thank you’s; no need to take care of it . . . just something you chose to give, just because you wanted that person to have it.

Perhaps life is just that. . . a wonderful gift from our creator to do just what we want to do with it. . . no strings attached.

Peace, Light and Love. . .

CordieB.