Looking in the Mirror

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

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Northeastern Report Shows Surge (40%) in Homicides Involving Young Black Males and Guns

Rest In Peace David E. Boyd Jr. David E. Boyd was a quiet man who worked hard at his job and enjoyed sketching portaits and writing rap lyrics. David was shot and killed while walking home on Sunday in the Church Hill area of Richmond, Virginia. David was on the cell phone with his girlfriend, as he was killed. Police suspect robbery as the motive for this sensless murder.

A new report issued by experts at Northeastern University on patterns and trends in homicide since 2000 shows that, despite the small fluctuations in overall homicide rates, there has been a dramatic surge (40%) in homicides involving young black males with guns. The findings paint a very different picture concerning recent trends in murder from the apparent tranquility suggested by overall statistics released by the FBI.  More…
 

Duh…  Everyone is in shock of this new study!  I for one am not in shock.   I see and live with it every day.  I write about it all the time.  If we don’t start investing in our youth, we are headed for self genicide…at an alarming rate.  In recent months, I’ve written about the crack epidemic of the 80’s  which damn near destroyed a whole generation; the deaths of Jamal, Erika and 14 year old, Deshaun.    There are countless others whom I have not written about. . . yet my thoughts of the senseless violence remain heavy on my heart. 

This study reflects what many inner city residents have been crying about for the past 10 years.   It’s ok to cry, it’s alright to complain. .. but all the crying and complaining is not going to make the least bit of change!  We have to start working proactively to save our black youth.  Our black youth are killing and maiming each other at alarming rates!  The coldness in the eyes of some of these young men bring a chill to my bones.  I talk with them; I walk with them. . . but the hardest thing for me to do is to reach them.    A collaborative effort is needed to put life back into the hearts of many of our young black men.    It will take family, community and government intervention.   You may not be affected by the violence at this time, but at this rate–the spillage of violence will reach you very soon. 

I challenge everyone reading this to take the time to talk to that young man on the corner.  Offer another view of life than the one he has doomed himself to living.  Take the time to show compassion to that young man whose mother is “out there.”  Take the time to show some compassion to the mother, herself.  Take some time to talk to a young couple about remaining active in the roles of their children.

I challenge all of us to take a proactive stance in turning this murderous trend downward.    If we don’t take a stance, no one will do it for us.  Trust me!

Rembember. . . next time the call could be about one of your very own. . . an innocent bystander… or not…

–We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

–Peace, Light and Love. . . CordieB.

We Don’t Care

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qWosJEFHIQ

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!

Lessons from the the Hood – – Lesson 1. You can always learn something from the neighborhood drunk

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New Years Eve, 2005

“You can always learn something from the neighborhood drunk”
~CordieB. 

I visited my sister yesteday.   When I walked in, I could sense something was wrong.  

She said, “I’ve got some bad news to tell you about Tu-Tu.” 

 Tu-Tu is her grandson; my great-nephew.  I sat down, feeling my heart flutter. 

I’m thinking, “Please don’t let Tu-Tu be hurt, be shot…..be dead . . .” 

A million ideas are running through my head. 

Finally, my sister says, “Tu-Tu is in jail.”  

Now, being that I have been accustomed to hearing much worst news in the “hood” I’m actually relieved at hearing this news.  I’m feeling a sense of relief.  Ahh.  .  .  . I can exhale.

I look at her in an evident display of relief and ask, “What’s he locked up for?” 

“He got caught with a gun,” she replied.  

“A gun, what’s he doing with a gun?”

“We don’t know how he got it.  He was pulled over while riding with a friend, and the police checked him, and found a gun.” 

My response, “Oh . . .”  

Now mind you, Tu-Tu is only 15 years old.  The same age as my son.  My next thoughts were, “Boy, I’m glad Sammy wasn’t hanging out with Tu-Tu.”  

During the next hour or two, everyone’s talking about the mechanics of the situation; how Tu-Tu’s best friend was killed about two months ago while walking down the street in broad day light, where Tu-Tu may have found the gun, or how he might have obtained the gun, and on and on.  

Soon, the conversation became slightly amusing to most of the people in the house.  Incidents of this nature have become like second nature; they don’t carry the seriousness that you would expect such bad news to carry, because it’s not as bad as it could be . . .  Events of this magnitude happen all too often, and we’ve become somewhat immune to it all.   We are used to hearing information much more dreadful; so this was like a drip in the bucket.  I’m serious.

Then, in the corner, neighborhood drunk Tyrone looks up at everyone and says, “Ya’ll are talking about this shit like it’s a f….king joke.”  “Ya’ll always pacifying that boy.”  “This sh..t ain’t no god damn joke.”   He starts cussing and giving Tu-Tu’s mother, sister and grandmother a piece of his mind.

Ok.  I’m thinking the same thing; but I wouldn’t dare say it.  Not to his grandmother and definitely not to his mother.  Especially, not after the damage is done.  What’s the point.  I should have said it a long time ago.   Tyrone has been saying it for a very long time, at least everytime he got drunk; and that’s damn near every day.

So, my sister gets really angry at Tyrone.  She tells him to get out of her house if he has to say anything bad about her grandson that she loves so much.  She screams, “You never liked him anyway.  Get the fu..ck out my house.”  

Ok, I’m thinking, “Somebody put some music on; let’s squash this shit.”

My daughter quickly puts on some music, and the conversation started to flow back to normal voice tones; everyones laughing and socializing like always.

Ok.  Today as I sat contemplating on calling my sister to ask her how the arraignment went, I’m thinking.  .  . .

You know,  Tyrone, the drunk, is a good, good friend to my sister.  We often times dismiss Tyrone the drunk, because he stays drunk so much.  But mind you, he may be a drunk, but he’s the only one, from family to friends, who has been speaking the truth to my sister. 

Everyone else has been hush hush about these types of situations.  We don’t want to cause any trouble–we don’t want to rock the boat; and we don’t want to start an argument.  But, had we stepped in some time ago and given some advice in a sober, caring and truthful manner, then Tu-Tu might be a free young man today. 

And so it’s like that so often in life; we keep closed mouth to that which we should speak up about–simply because the situation does not effect us directly, we are afraid, or we don’t want to get in other folks business.   We watch our neighborhoods go from sugar to shit, because it’s not our child, not right in our block, or we may even be afraid.  Or,  it only happens on the other side of town.  We watch our young people doomed for failure; but since it’s not our sons or daughters, we don’t bother to intervene.  Since it’s not happening right out side of our doors, we don’t stick our nose in it.  Sometimes we convince ourselves that we would be puting our lives at risk.  Or worst, we believe we can’t make a difference, so why bother.  What a shame. 

Shame on me.