Hello beautiful people. As you know, every so often I write about the violence that is occuring in my beautiful city – and often times the violence hits pretty close to home. Well this weekend was no better. Three young people were killed in the Richmond area this weekend. I don’t know the victims, but nevertheless – I am sad, I am mad, I am frightened. Three mothers lost their sons this weekend; one of them lost her only son. And for what? What ever the reason was, it more than likely can’t be remembered today.
A lot of the murders in this area are considered to be drug related; and they are I suppose–but when you really dig deeper, you will see something else. You see, the individuals who commit these murders are not addicts – they do not use drugs. The young are killing and being killed for what they consider respect! These are not drug addicts attacking for a hit. These are young people who are obsessing on sharing a block; sending a message –feeling disrespected by words or actions–bottom line young people are being killed due to perceived disrespect.
More young people are being killed today for "dissing" someone than for actual money or drugs. Step on a shoe – bang bang; dance with someone’s girlfriend; bang bang! walk in a neighborhod other than your own, bang, bang!
When did this mentality start in my community? Most people don’t believe me, but I can almost point out the summer that this mentality started to brew in the hood.
Back in 1985 when Crack Cocaine was prevalent in the North, I read a news article that Crack was coming to Virginia. No one anticipated that this drug would destroy families, neighborhoods, and whole communities. The children who are so easy to kill today are the children who were left to fend for themselves during the crack epidemic that hit our city.
Most of these children were not left to another parent, or a neighbor or familiy member. Since crack swept this city in epidemic proportions, there were few who cared any more than the addicted mother as all were equally addicted. The few who were not were overly burdend with other’s children. It was a very sad time in Richmond, VA. I have countless numbers of friends who lost their homes, their families, damn near their soul to crack cocaine.
For the first time in my life, I saw mothers willing to trick their chidlren; husbands and wives tricking in the same family, people stealing from family. I saw people loose $200,000 homes within 6 months; I saw people who lived in $300,000 homes with no heat, air, or water. I saw people rent their brand new cars to crack dealers for a small amount of crack; I saw people sign over their whole pay checks to a crack dealer at the end of the week – and start in the hole again!
I mean, people, I sawa behavior which I had never seen. I would have bet a million a few months earler that it were not possible. Most did not believe that the drug would be so addictive and take people to such lows. Most believed they could use it recreationally, or at least control it like powdered cocaine. All were sadly and many were deathly mistaken.
Now, during this time, many, many children were born to women addicted to crack cocaine. Also, many of these women had children who were still young. Now, crack makes one loose all sense of dignity – so what do you think became of these children. They were left to fend for themselves most of the time. Since whole neighborhoods were addicted, no one could really fix the problem. The children who were left to fend for themselves saw, heard, and experienced a life of sorrow, distachment and hell. They grew with little love and few comforts. They grew to have little respect for their mothers, let alone other people! They watched their christmas toys be sold to crack dealers on Christmas Eve; they watched whole houses of furniture be sold, including their beds. They grew up with a serious chip on their shoulders and I can’t blame them for having developed that chip.
So, now it’s 2008. This is the product which has been sowed. How do we teach real respect to a generation who received so little respect at such impressionary ages? How do we teach love to those who missed out on love by so many at a crucial time in their development. The issues are really more complicated than most see from a distance. Any ideas? Oh, you’ve got to listen to Kanye’s video – this is what the kids are saying!