There is no running or hiding from it, now. There is no way we can bury our heads in the sand and pretend it's not happening. There is no way we can escape the fact that our city streets are the new battlegrounds and killing fields. Ironically, on this Memorial Day weekend, on a day that we honor our war dead, an insane rash of violent senseless murders have exploded into our consciousness and left mothers, fathers and relatives shaking their heads and asking, why?
It started Thursday night in Newark, an off-duty cop was killed in a drive-by shooting. Then over the weekend, 3 young men were shot dead in 3 separate incidents in the same city. Then early Sunday morning in Brooklyn, a young single mother named Crystal Sweet (pictured left) was shot multiple times with her boyfriend and his brother. On Sunday night, Claudia Millan, 28, was shot point blank in the face while holding the hand of her 2 year-old son. 16 year-old Johnny Moore was shot several times about 11 p.m. Sunday across the street from his home in the Paterson Houses in The Bronx. Then, back in Brooklyn, Calvin Louis-Juste, 24, who had just earned his master's degree, was shot once in the neck at close range as he went to meet up with friends.
Okay, people, at what point does it start to materialize in your brain that there is a war going on on our streets that is just as Terror-fying as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? And just as in those overseas wars, the collateral damage is innocent children, women and men dying before they even have a chance to live. One major difference is that in the wars overseas, our soldiers are at least armed and can defend themselves. In the wars in our neighborhoods, the ones usually dying are unarmed and defenseless. One of the problems is that many of us are so desensitized to violence and murder, that we hardly even react to these horrific headlines. Another fact is that, in most cases, the ones dying are African-American and Latino, and it seems as though, in some circles, their lives aren't worth as much as those of other nationalities.
The summer hasn't even started, so you can expect the battleground of our 'hoods to get even worse as the weather and the streets get hotter. At some point, whether it's because this wanton violence hits you personally or you wake up from the stupor of the latest reality show or sporting match, you will finally notice a generation of kids missing from the parks and playgrounds. And then you will ask yourself, 'where are all the children?'
By then, it will probably be too late.