Looking in the Mirror

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

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

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16 Comments»

  SanityFound wrote @

Cordie I am so sorry, so sorry that these terrible things happen to those you care about and love. Somedays it can all seem so senseless and pointless, you worry and you love and each new bullet takes a chunk of your heart with it. Perhaps it is time for the rising, the parents saying enough is enough – I must ask Amber, she’s the history buff but this has happened during a war – the women said enough and put an end to it… I don’t know how, will ask her.

I am sending you love, warmth, hugs and more I hope you can feel them and know that they are true. I am here if you need an ear or just a hug, always.

Love you lots sis, hang in there. Mwah!

  Amber wrote @

Im sick to my soul. The madness, the evil we do to one another. For what in the end I wonder? What lessons does it teach? Our young don’t seem to learn. The killing doesn’t stop.

As you know even in my own world it touches me. Not even in the hood. In college campuses. For this craziness knows no cultural or social bounds. It isn’t about money or education. Its simply about the sickness of people against other people in our world.

I like you am tired…….

Im sorry Cordie… I love you and send you love and strength. Remember to breathe. I am always here whenever you need a friend.

  Sorrow wrote @

Cordie,
no answers to this riddle,
none.
Holding you close inn my thoughts…

  whypaisley wrote @

i have been ever so fortunate not to have to live thru what you do when it comes to loved ones dying in the streets… this is indeed one of the things that i feel should be taken into consideration by this new administration.. we cannot allow this to go on… whole generations are dying,, and or being incarcerated,, maybe if obama speaks they too will listen.. if i was a praying woman,, i would pray that it would some day soon be so……

xxoo

  enreal wrote @

I know what it means to be tired… our lessons and paths are far from the similar, yet the burden weighs the same… it is when we get tired and drop the weight that we can assess the situation… never the less we must keep fighting and carrying… for God only bestows on those he feels are strong enough… you know this… so for now I send you what little strength I have left… you can return it when you feel strong gain… Love and Light from here….

  vanessaleighsblog wrote @

Cordie: I am sending you warm, loving hugs with your fears, your loss and your tears that you need to go through so often……. I pray that more peaceful times are close by!!!!!

  Angry African wrote @

This is why we fight. For Tu-tu. For Jamal. For everyone. Because tomorrow must be better. We have no choice. Cordie. You are in my thoughts and in my heart.

  teamowens313 wrote @

CordieB,

First of all, thank you for visiting my site and for your comments. But especially I wan tto thak you fogiving me the link to this post. It goes without saying bthat this is horribly sad, but I also want to say you are a phenomenal writer. I could really feel and see this entire piece the entire time I was reading it. And it hits on such an important topic. Your personal experience with it – tragic as it is – makes it so much stronger. And I applaud your willingness to share.

This “no snitch” madness has got to stop, got to stop, got to stop. We’re killing ourselves with this twisted mentality, and only ourselves.

  cordieb wrote @

@”D Spot Author” Thanks – I’m glad you came over to read this. As you can imagine, your no snitch articles hit me like a brick. It is so sickening that so many have this mentality. I love you and your wife’s writing and and so happy that I have “met” you. You guys and people like yourselves are what our youth and even some of us older people in the inner cities need to see and hear in order that we may grow up to become happy adults. Well . . . enough of my bantering. . . I could go on and on. BTW, can I use the philosophy of your no snitch graphic picture to design something to that effect? I will give credit back to you and your friend of course.

Blessings as always to you and yours. . .

  valeria harrison wrote @

hi cordie i am jamal’s mother i too am so tired of the senseless killing and unnecessary violence. The young people just don’t understand that this has to end somewhere. I am so glad that some one else feels the same as i do. Thank you for thinking of my son. It has been really hard for me to cope since this has happened. I can not function i miss my baby so much. it ‘s just not fair that he had to go just when his life was beginning. God took my oldest son away from me for 4 yrs(prison), he took my middle son from me for 2 yrs (jail) an now he has taken my baby from me forever. Sometimes i get mad at god, because why does he let bad things happen to good people. Jamal was not a bad person . There is not one person that met him that would voice a negative word about him. Sometimes i feel selfish because i don’t want to interact with other people. I isolate myself for my own selfish reasons.

  cordieb wrote @

@Valeria. Valeria, first I want to say . . . I am very saddened by your loss, and my prayers remain with you and your family each day. Also, if you would like to talk or need anything, just call…I’ll send you my number through Mink or Michelle. I noticed that you wrote this on Thanksgiving . . . and although this was not my child, I felt an extreme loss and the loss of so many other families. I spoke to my dearest nephew from prison and realized that I may ever be able to spend Thanksgiving with him again. . . and he’s only 25. It is maddening! One of your sons, Micky, a very manerable and fine young man, visited us onThanksgiving; and the realization that he was not able to spend it with his brother saddened me and maddened me at the senseless violence. Jamal’s beautiful, young wife also visited, and I thought, so young – already a widow – and for what? for what? For nothing that I can forsee.

Please understand that isolating yourself is part of a healing process. . . it is a time of deep reflections . . . that all must go through in grief. Do not feel guilty of your grieving process. Allow yourself to grieve – don’t feel guilty. Although two of your sons have been or are in the system, don’t be discouraged. . . for sometimes tis a blessing. Continue to preach and teach love to your sons in order to help in stopping this vicious cycle of hate and destruction! Contine to teach and preach to them to love thy neigbor and that violence only begets more violence. . .

Yes, Jamal was a very beautiful human being . . . I have never heard an unkind word spoken of him. He brought much light to a dark world and touched the lives of many so positively. His light will continue to shine in the lives he touched both directly and indirectly. Let us try to think and act as Jamal would have and not let anger consume our souls . . . let us try to isolate the goodness in those that are so evil so that life will be better for the next generation; for I cannot imagine what the next generation will face if this vicious cycle continues. Remember, there is a time and season for everthing under the heavens. .. but we must make it happen – for now is the time for love. Hatred has been in the cycle far too long. Blessings to you dear sister – my left hand to your left hand. Love CordieB.

  cordieb wrote @

Valeria, first I want to say . . . I am very saddened by your loss, and my
prayers remain with you and your family each day. Also, if you would like to
talk or need anything, just call644-1829. I noticed that you wrote this on
Thanksgiving . . . and although this was not my child, I felt an extreme
loss and the loss of so many other families. I spoke to my dearest nephew
from prison and realized that I may never be able to spend Thanksgiving with
him again. . . and he’s only 25. It is maddening! One of your sons, Micky, a
very manerable and fine young man, visited us onThanksgiving; and the
realization that he was not able to spend it with his brother saddened me
and maddened me at the senseless violence. Jamal’s beautiful, young wife
also visited, and I thought, so young – already a widow – and for what? for
what? For nothing that I can forsee.

Please understand that isolating yourself is part of a healing process. . .
it is a time of deep reflections . . . that all must go through in grief. Do
not feel guilty of your grieving process. Allow yourself to grieve – don’t
feel guilty. Although two of your sons have been or are in the system, don’t
be discouraged. . . for sometimes tis a blessing. Continue to preach and
teach love to your sons in order to help in stopping this vicious cycle of
hate and destruction! Contine to teach and preach to them to love thy
neigbor and that violence only begets more violence. . .

Yes, Jamal was a very beautiful human being . . . I have never heard an
unkind word spoken of him. He brought much light to a dark world and touched
the lives of many so positively. His light will continue to shine in the
lives he touched both directly and indirectly. Let us try to think and act
as Jamal would have and not let anger consume our souls . . . let us try to
isolate the goodness in those that are so evil so that life will be better
for the next generation; for I cannot imagine what the next generation will
face if this vicious cycle continues. Remember, there is a time and season
for everthing under the heavens. .. but we must make it happen – for now is
the time for love. Hatred has been in the cycle far too long. Blessings to
you dear sister – my left hand to your left hand. Love CordieB.

  The Grief Process « Looking in the Mirror wrote @

[…] ~Written for Valeria Harrison, Mother of Jamal, for which I wrote an article recently, entitled Lessons from the Hood – Perhaps you can find it; I’m tired […]

[…] about how the crack epidemic of the 80’s  destroyed a whole generation; the deaths of Ja mal; Erika and 14 year old, Deshaun.    There are countless others whom I have not written about. […]

  LaNiece Holland wrote @

After visiting this page and reading the above article numerous times, I have decided to finally write a comment… My name is LaNiece Holland (Jamal’s wife), and I am a 20 year old widow.. I am trying my hardest to continue living life, as I know both God and Jamal want me to keep living, but its very hard to cope with losing someone who you thought would be here forever. As mentioned above my husband and I married young. And though in our eyes it was such a beautiful and wise thing to do, many people when they find out look at us or respond as if we had done the unthinkable. But as we contined to grow and live with one another, we learned that as long as WE had each other, to learn together, and overcome challenges together, and to be happy together, all else was irrelevant. i honestly grew to feel like he was my other half, a part of me that helped complete who I am, or was… As we ventured out on our own, I watched as he became a man, more and more everyday, and though many people looked down on him because they judged what he did or who he affiliated with, I grew to love him more and more each day becuase he risked himself to care for me and our household.. I can honestly say, after being with jamal for about 4 years, I never met a person who didnt like him or had any type of beef with him, and for that reason alone, I was shocked to find out he was shot. Everything happens for a reason I guess, but this I will never understand… All because of someones hatred and selfish devilish ways, I now have to wake up alone, go to bed alone, eat dinner alone, spend the holidays alone, watch tv alone, and do so many little things that most people who are in relationships do as a couple together but take for granted, ALONE… Everything I do, though I have friends and family, I now feel ALONE!! I have so many emotions, angry, lost, confused, shocked, and most of all sad.. I feel like I have not only lost my hubby, but in the midst of it all I have lost myself… Its ashame that our city, let alone the world has become such a hateful place, and though I grieve, I am happy that my binka no longer has to suffer and deal with the evil this world holds!! I want to thank you for your kind words, and remembering my husband, and to Ms. Valeria just continue to remember his smile, sometimes thats the only thing that gets me thru the day!! To all of you who may read this I say to you, please appreciate those you have, because they can really be gone tommorrow!! I spoke to my husband 30 mins. before he was murdered, and when I came home from work expecting to have a nice night, I was greeted with hectic phone calls, and shocking news!! So please make every moment count!

  datGurl! wrote @

oh my. I am sooooo sorry for you lost and the worlds loss of Jamal. he sounds like he was a good kid.

I will keep u in my prayers.*


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