This weekend the country was once again forced to deal with the kind of violence normally reserved for the screens of a motion picture tragedy. James E. Holmes walked into a movie theater, wounding 58 and killing 12 and shocking a nation. The response has to this tragedy has been filled with the human empathy that should be extended to loved ones and a community that has suffered not only an attack on its people, but on its sense of safety and security. From Columbine to the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords to this latest shooting, the cries of those hit by the bullets of crazed gunmen move our nation to want to make communities feel safe. And we should do all we can to make communities safe.
My problem is that we create a national pause for certain types of tragic loss of life but ignore others. I know that a few weeks ago I talked about us standing for Chicago, but this is not just about Chicago. This is about how we value our own lives; the lives of urban children, women and men, who many a night are trying to enjoy their communities; not at a theatre, but on their porches, playing in the streets or simply coming home from work. Why is there not national pause for them? Why not media attention on the families of those who fall daily? I don't blame the media for lifting the names of the fallen men, women, and children who were savagely taken by Holmes violent attack. I don't even blame the politicians and commentators for finding space to lift gun policy back into the front row for discussion. I just keep wondering; who will cry for us, go hard for us, defend us.
I wrote a piece for ebony.com that I hope you would check out that asks what happened to the uniformed, recognized, and trained groups of men who stood on the front lines in the past. It was never the majority of men, but the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, The Nation of Islam, even the Guardian Angles, all were visible forces that served notice to threats from the outside and within. This is only one solution, but there are many. And even as some of you ask why are we talking about this again, I ask you did they morn for your children the way they are in Colorado? Did the nation say…."WE HAVE TO STOP THIS" when your brother fell? I morn for the members of the human family we lost in Colorado, the same as I did Trayvon, the same as I do those who fell in Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore and your city last night. But the world doesn't. James Baldwin said that "not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." We are living in a crisis of violence in silence. And I, for one, will keep yelling until more of us wake up.