Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The T-Shirt or The Second Line

A 13 year old kid was murdered yesterday after an argument with a 14 year old over marijuana. Add that to the killing of an elderly couple on Mother’s Day and this week joins the competition for the most depressing of the year. All these stories stem from the same culture of violence that I have been talking about. Let’s take the 13 year old kid for instance. There is nothing positive about this but I bet you somewhere right now his friends and people he know are planning a second line or ordering t-shirts in his honor. You know those t-shirts with the pictures and some inspirational saying about death. Those are the ones I refuse to buy or wear. There’s always the t-shirt or the parade. I realize in this city we have a tradition of celebrating life and death in a joyous way. I love second line funerals and when I am about 90 years old and finally leave this place I want people to second line to my life too. When a kid gets killed in the street for nothing we shouldn’t be dancing at all. All we should do is take up a collection for their parents to give them a proper service, support them, pray, and figure out ways to stop the next one from getting killed. His funeral should be a sad and miserable day. The mayor should close City Hall while it is happening and everyone should wear black. Maybe one of these times with the family’s permission we can leave the casket of one of these kids open like Emmett Till and make as many young people as possible walk through there to view the body. We should make them come through with their parents. Some of these men who don’t know where their kids are should walk through as well. We have to do something to make everybody understand the urgency in changing this mind state.

I will be 35 in a month. In my generation everybody knows a few people that are not here anymore for unnecessary reasons. If I am in my 30's and had friends murdered in their teens and teenagers are still being killed now, that means we are dealing with over 20 years of the same drama. The only way something like this goes on for as long as it has is we have let it become acceptable. People are getting tired and worn down. Before we all take to the streets the first step is trying to come up with a way to make everyone understand that this kind of violence is a bad thing. If we are really being honest then we must admit that not everyone in our community thinks its wrong and those are the people involved in the violence. I can hear about this and think it is a waste of life and potential. There's some kid somewhere thinking "my boy went out like a soldier". That’s the reason nothing we have tried to stop it has worked so far. We have to kill that culture to end the violence. I don’t know how you kill it but I know it has to die. I mean no disrespect to the young brother’s life or his family. Pretty soon one of these incidents has to be the last straw for everybody.

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