Looking in the Mirror

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

Archive for violence

There Will Be Blood

The Blood Tree, courtesty of ~Ksaad, under a creative commons license

The Blood Tree, courtesty of ~Ksaad, under a creative commons license . Growing veins of sorrow and complications are the seeds that we have sown from our vengeance, hatred, racism, power and craving for more. So long for a cleanse.

There will be blood if we simply look the other way

There will be blood if we continue our lives the same way

There will be blood if the cycle of violence is not forsaken

There will be blood if a life for another life is taken

There will be blood if we continue to fight hatred with hate

There will be blood if we abandon solutions to rehabilitate  rejuvinate

There will be blood if we neglect to teach our young to love

There will be blood if we don’t love our neighbors, inspite of

There will be blood.

There will be more blood.

There wll be an endless,

forever increasing,

cycle of blood. . .

untill…

there is no more blood.

~Written by CordieB

Quote for the Day

Deep inside even the most seemingly evil of beings lies a seed of love; it is that seed we must strive to rejuvinate and  cultivate.  When we hate the evil, we only cultivate more hatred ~CordieB.

Peace, Light and Love… 

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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.

The Grief Process

This was very hard to write for me; as there is no greater loss that I can imagine than that of the loss of a child. Yet it happens; more often than we want to admit . . .So often people guilty because they are told they must move on . . . yet healing requires grief and time. Those who intend to bring comfort must understand these cycles too. So I write this for anyone who may be going through such despair. . . and I pray that you find joy one sweet day. . .

 
There are five stages of grief; and most people experience grief in the order stated below. . .

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance

Grief’s Cycle …By CordieB

I don’t believe what’s happening;

Surely this can not be real

I’ll awaken from this nightmare soon

I’ll see, I’ll touch, I’ll feel . . .

your loving eyes; your tender heart

You..are still here! No!

We are not apart!

Oh God why did you take my love….

Such a loving soul was he

If you were such a loving God

Why allow such tragedy?

This world is filled with such despair

What does it mean, who really cares?

There are no answers to eternity

If only you would just take me…

instead; I’d rather be the one –

Please take me God, release my son…

Just leave me be. . . let me be free

Into my solo destiny

Alone ..through misty haze I see – and want to be

No desire to communicate –

I’ve lost my will; such is my fate…

Why is it that he had to die?

I plead, I beg, I must know why…

My heart’s so cold; ice cycled blood I cry . . .

Such agony; I hate- despise…

I can not pray . . my heart still cries

I can’t imagine going on . . .

without my loving, caring son . . .

Time passes by; seems like a distant dream

I cry sometimes….

yes, with time …the sadness weans

and with each day as life goes on…

Your love; it helps me carry on

I miss you still, so much – yet I fear

I’ll lose your vision through the years. . .

Yet memories remain so rich and clear

I feel your love down in my soul

Memories bring me comfort; love keeps me whole

My God holds me each day, each hour

So wondrous is God’s healing power

I don’t have answers to this life . . .

Yet live I must, through peace or strife

as death’s essential to all life

And though I do not understand

I see a glimpse of life again

And I feel so blessed to be the one…

you chose to be your mother, Son.

~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 ."   Valeria read that post . . . and commented. . . .let us keep her in our prayers and pray that men will lay their weapons down!

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 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

The Tables Turn, Turn, Turn

It’s not been the most pleasant of weeks.  Along with having a bad cold, I’m sadded that another young person was violently killed this weekend in Richmond.  . . . G’s cousin . . . beautiful person, Erica, only 21.  Although I’ve never met her, her smile and tributes from friends and love ones speak volumes of her soul.  The insanity of the violence among our youth is depressing to say the least. 

But today I simply want to share wise words from the Bible in memory of Erica . . . and all the young people who have lost their lives far too quickly in my human eyes. . . I also must remember . . .

To everything there is a season, and
a time to every purpose under the heavens:

A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck
up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a
time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a
time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to
refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence,
and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. . .

Ecclesiastes 3:1

I ask, when will the time come for Peace!  Do we simply wait for the tables to turn or do we do something to promote it?   I feel that we must shift the paradigm of war and violence; it is time we started making positive steps to ensuring peace in our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities, our world!   It all begins in the homes. . . we can control that little bit of our universe, don’t you think?  It will grow if enough seeds are planted.  Do the tables simply turn without our interference in any manner?  Will it all balance itself out in time?   Do we not have to sow in order to harvest?  Is not what we sow not what is harvested?  Continue being indifferent if we must, but one day our peace might be shattered . . .    Therefore, I must do something. . . .

Peace, Light and Love, CordieB.

I’m Tired! `Written by CordieB

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Deshun Taylor – 14 year olf killed while walking home – not the intended victim- an innocent life gone so soon!

I’m tired of living in the hood
Where gray is brain and red is blood
And children would leave if they could
And poor families are often misunderstood
I’m tired of seeing young folk roll in chairs
with wheels who can no longer climb the stairs
not because they were born with such disableness
but because they were shot; blessed to live no less
I’m tired of seeing mothers sobbing and crying
whild holding a child on the street that is dying
I’m tired of seeing fathers sigh
while cursing God and asking why
I’m tired of seeing brothers and sisters mad at the world; feeling defeat
because their brother’s been killed by their friend down the street
I’m tired of seeing whole neighborhoods in dispair in need of repair
And everyone talking but nobody’s walking the walk or showing they care
I’m tired of praying for an uneventful day
Instead of for real things, like people should pray
I’m tired of the fear to walk to the store
or call the police for fear of turf war;
for fear that my own children will bear consequence
of me aiding the law makers in stopping the noncense.
I’m tired of not having the words to say to a relative
whose lost her son and is trying to live on and forgive
I’m tired of not knowing just what to convey
to that parent at the funeral – tell me what would you say?
I’m tired of mothers and fathers not teaching their own
about life respect and those many seeds that should be sown
instead of street, drugs, disrespect and tit for tat
thinking thug is cute; in the drug game with wallets fat
I’m tired of parents loosing all control
of their own self-respect to their 12-year old
I’m tired of parents being too lazy, tired or scared to disipline
Or trying to be cool; you can’t be a parent and be his friend
Even a real friend tells a friend right from wrong
Not leave it up to him to find out on his own
I tell you! I am sick and damn tired
of young babies with babies who end up expired
before they are 20; oftentimes even younger
What happend to neighborhood unity; I wonder!
I’m tired of everyone scared to speak up
of the filth and the rubbish that is all down the block
In fear of that thug down the street with a glock
I’m tired of whispering a prayer of relief when I find
out the teen laying out on the street is not one of mine
I’m tired of no activities; no community centers
No movies or skatelands; no positive mentors
We’ve all dropped the ball on a whole generation
of young people who know no love from our nation
I’m tired of those who refuse to inconvience themself
for the benefit of the life of a child, inspite of themself
I’m tired of the talking papers, the reports and surveys
The crack and the smack and lean that causes brain decay
I’m tired of the empty prayers placed on the shelf
I’m tired of the hood; I’m tired of myself.
~Written by CordieB. 

Every Friday, I usually join my Photo Friday club;  This week’s theme is Unlucky .  I was simply too sick and tired to take a picture this week – besides, I couldn’t think of anything more unfortunate than the loss of a child – some call it unlucky – some call it fate – some call it God’s will.  My daughter’s neighbor’s child, who was only 14 year’s old was killed on Wednesday while walking home.  Word is that he was not the intended victim; an innocent bystander.  One of the bullets came through my daughter’s window, along with more bullets that came through other neighbor’s windows.  I’ts a blessing that no one else was hurt.  I’m whispering a prayer for the family of Deshun Taylor, I can feel his mothers grief.  I pray that she will be able to make it through this terrible time.  I’m whispering a prayer for all of us, although I’m sick and tired!    

————-

Update on Deshun Taylor’s case: 

All three suspects in the Wednesday killing of an East End seventh-grade middle school student have been arrested, a crowd mourning the death of the slain boy learned last night.

The mourners were gathered for a candlelight prayer vigil in the 2200 block of Fairfield Avenue, near where 14-year-old Deshun Taylor was felled by a bullet Wednesday about 2 p.m.

Alicia Rasin, an advocate for the families of homicide victims, announced shortly after 8 p.m. that interim Police Chief David McCoy just had told her the third suspect had been caught.  Read More . . .

More Posts and News

A few of Comments from Richmond Citizens

Vigil Photos