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A Blog and Poetic Response to the Murder of 19 year-old Lamonte Procter of Paterson, NJ.
I wish that I could say that there was something special about the night he died, something out of the ordinary, but I cannot point to anything peculiar about the evening which is frightening for me. It gives me a fright when I think about how a person could be sitting outside of their home and get shot to death by someone who seems to belong there. I only know that another Black boy was shot dead.
The shooter was not one of the feared Syrian refugee characters from republican myths slipping from border to border enacting terror in our neighborhoods. He was not an officer pumped up on adrenaline with ‘super-duper’ military gear looking for real action. He was just some young man, boy really, who shot to death someone who could have been his brother.
I don’t know how to respond to that kind of violence. I feel like I have lost something due the acts of barbaric, senselessness. My eyes leak and my throat tightens every time a Black boy or man is killed. Every time a Black woman or girl is left pierced and bleeding on the asphalt or concrete, I mourn. The City of Paterson has had 46 shootings this year, incidents that have resulted in eight deaths and 50 people being wounded. Nationwide, the numbers are literally staggering and worldwide the numbers of senseless deaths grow like prolific Monsanto seeds. It used to be that girls were eliminated from the math, but more and more gender equality can be found among those barbaric, senseless acts of violence.
There will be no rally to get justice for the dead and his family because we know that the shooter will be arrested and sent off to prison. There will be no peaceful protests because we have nothing to withhold from the shooters in order for them to meet our demands. There will be no hashtag. There will be “justice,” but we will mourn silently because the senselessness of it all will silence us, has silenced us. There will be lumps in our throats, my throat, where the words use to be. There will be the funeral and the flowers and the tee shirts and the programs, and the candles and all the usual stuff that happens when Black boys, men and, increasingly, girls die senselessly in the streets and in front of their homes.
The violent acts in our Black communities are worthy of meditation. Why do we have selective public outrage? Why do we suffer in silence? Is the Cain and Able-ism in our communities here to stay? Is this a war that we can win? How can we tell which one is what one? More importantly, how do we sit on the front porch or scoot to the store with confidence and security?
Some well-meaning folks have offered solutions to the violence. Some have said that we need looser gun laws. Some have said that we need stricter gun laws. Come on, really? We know that the kids with guns have not legally purchased and registered their hand guns. We know that, in the United States, anything can be purchased including the body organs of those dead kids.
The ‘war’ is not about the guns laws. It is about the minds of the people. What if we could change the minds of the people to make them unite and love each other? What if compassion and empathy were more abundant than ammunition? What if the headlines read, “Our beloved brother…,” instead of 19 year old man shot to death?
Cain, where is your brother?
Have you lodged him as lumps
in the throats of your parents, Cain?
They’ll remain silent in their early mourning,
but in the night, their mourning will rise
up like howls to the full moon.
Will you weep with them, Cain?
Will you watch your mother’s face turn to rain and watch her
husband fall to his knees in prayer while his heart
divides, crumbles really, at the sight of his seed returning to the clay
and the sight of his wife, flesh of his flesh, more broken and torn than any
woman was ever intended to be?
They’ll weep, Cain. Cain, they’ll weep
And you’ll just ask, as you’ve always asked,
“Am I my brother’s keeper?”
You must keep
by Talena Lachelle Queen
Blog with Urban Renaissance Media. Text 973. 910. 0750 to get started.