There’s so much carnage taking place in this country. It didn’t just start yesterday or the day before, but social media makes any- and everything available instantaneously. Yesterday, before it actually made its way to all media outlets, the story about the executions of TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward was already posted on Twitter. Sadly, the video had been posted by Vester Flanagan a.k.a. Bryce Williams, the man who shot them. Late yesterday evening, we learned that Officer Henry Nelson lost his life in the line of duty in Sunset, Louisiana. We are still reeling from the unnecessary loss of Sandra Bland, but we also learned that the Prairie View City Council voted to rename a road that leads to her alma mater in her honor.
In a suicide note, Vester Flanagan claimed that he had experienced discrimination because he was Black and gay. I don’t care what kind of whatever he was feeling, his actions were despicable. What you are and how you feel will NEVER give you the right to take another person’s life. I wanted to vomit when I heard what happened.
Officer Nelson answered a domestic violence call and I’ve learned that the man who ultimately killed him was his own cousin. I’m not sure how close that kinship was, but that doesn’t matter. He died doing his job. Also killed yesterday during that man’s rampage was Shameka Johnson. She was the mayor’s sister.
Folks are dying at an incredibly rapid rate, yet many don’t want to acknowledge the problem or pose a solution.
Hardening of the Insides
After reading some of the posts and comments on my social media sites following yesterday’s tragedies, I sensed that many people are in the same mental predicament that I’m in. I’m angry. I’m confused. I’m scared. I’m stressed. I’m numb, too, but I’m also spazzing. Far, far, FAR too many people are dying in this country because of the stupidity of racism, (alleged) mental illness, and out-and-out hatred for mankind. Before you decide to chase me all over the over the internet because I invoked the word “alleged” in my charge of mental illness, let me explain what I mean.
Call It What It Is
I have a brother who was diagnosed with schizophrenia many years ago, so I’ve been exposed to the heralding devastation that it can cause. When I was a child, during one of the periods when he wasn’t taking his meds, he viciously assaulted a man with a knife. I witnessed the manic episodes when he would attempt to fight my father and sometimes my mother. I become just as angry when people allege that tragedies like the Charleston church shooting are the result of mental illness as I do when women allege domestic violence and it’s not happening. That boy who shot those people as they gathered for worship was just racist! Plain and simple. He hated Black people. To even consider placing racism in any mental illness category is ridiculously disrespectful. Mental illness poses a battle of the mind. Racism is taught. Whether or not it is taught by the parent(s), it is taught! You better believe that it comes from both sides of the aisle, too. It can be subtle or it can be blatant. Then you have people like Donald Trump who has received the public endorsement of two white supremacists, but claims he doesn’t need it. No, Donald, you don’t, but you know what they say about birds of a feather. Yeah, man, keep flocking.
Fear, Anger, and Action
Until the day I’m buried, I will carry a fear that only another Black human being can feel. I miss seeing my son a regular basis, but he’s away at college in Arkansas. I decided to go visit him the other day and nearly the entire time I was driving, I thought about what could happen to him if his car stopped on one of those roads. You see, whenever it was safe, I glanced at my phone to see if there was a signal and every time I realized there wasn’t one, I shuttered. He wouldn’t be able to call me if something happened. Then, my thoughts turned to Sandra Bland and I realized that I’m not as safe as I assumed I was either. While I place all my faith in God, I’m not stupid enough to walk around in anything but a hyper-alert state. I have taught my son to be the same way. He knows to keep his eyes peeled at all times and under all circumstances. He knows that he is not to stop at any of those little mom-and-pop stores for any reason. He knows that he is to fill his tank before he leaves Pine Bluff. He knows to get his road food before he pulls off campus. Until it’s safe for me and my son to travel along any road in this country without fear, I’m going to keep talking. I can be pretty loud, so you’ll hear me.
You Better Say It Loud
I’ll say it again: folks are dying at an incredibly rapid rate, yet many don’t want to acknowledge the problem or pose a solution. While I’m angry, I’m also willing to do whatever I have to in order to bring about a solution. Racism, gun violence, sexism, and plain stupidity are all so far out of control in this country. I’m so in love with the people who have taken the initiative to bring about change. I will step in wherever I can for the greater cause of ALL mankind. For those who either stand by in silence or worse yet, those who are indifferent, shame on you. We all live here and just like you, I refuse to give up the right and privilege of what’s mine. Do something.