I’m weary of writing about young Black boys being gunned down by young Black men.
There’s a $20,000 reward for information leading to the killer of Tyshawn Lee, a nine-year-old boy who was shot multiple times Monday and died in a Chicago alley.
Nine years old. He was just a child.
So this is what’s come to: We need financial rewards to encourage our own people to help stop the killings of our own people. How do we change a Black gangster culture where Black lives don’t matter?
Where is the outrage? Where is the anger? Where is the indignation? Was Tyshawn caught in a crossfire? Did the killer shoot the boy intentionally?
We don’t know all the answers. We do know this: far too many young Black men –and children– are being gunned down on the streets of Chicago, and throughout this country, and it seems like our community is far too silent or far too numb.
“This was the execution of a baby,” Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Chicago minister, told CNN Monday. “When are we going to have the courage to eradicate this violence?”
When a white police office shoots an unarmed Black man to death, Black folks will march in the streets for weeks, and I’ll write columns for several days running, but where are the marches for Tyshawn Lee? Where are the protestors?
Members of ‘Black Lives Matter’ disrupted Hillary Clinton’s rally in Atlanta last week and appeared outraged on CNN, but I didn’t see that same sense of collective outrage over Tyshawn’s shooting on Monday.
As a community, sometimes we have misplaced priorities. I have written numerous columns – too many to count – about racial profiling, excessive use of force by white police officers, and the ongoing injustice – and murders – of unarmed Black men at the hands of white cops.
But today, young Black men are killing each other at an alarming rate – and our children are being gunned down in the prime of their lives and yet it’s as if this is our new normal.
As of Tuesday, 2,578 people had been shot since January 1, 2015, according to The Chicago Tribune. That’s compared to 2,587 who were shot between January 1 and December 31, 2014. September was the deadliest month since 2002 for gun violence, the newspaper reported, when Chicago recorded 60 homicides that month.
That’s worth getting angry about.
Police say they don’t know if Tyshawn was in the wrong place at the wrong time or if he was the intended target. Witnesses said an argument broke out and Tyshawn was shot several times.
Karla Lee, the boy’s mother, asked anyone with any information about the shooting to speak with police.
“Please put the guns down, please,” Lee said through tears. “I’m only 26. This is my only baby.”
Chicago police detective Dean Andrews told reporters, “We will be working around the clock to find out more.”
Here’s the sad irony of Tyshawn’s death: The shooting happened on the same day that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president, met with the mothers of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin who were killed by gunfire.
Tyshawn’s family said he loved to play basketball and video games. He should be shooting hoops today.
“This heartless person must be captured,” Pfleger said.
And we – as a community – must insist on it.