Thoughts on the Newtown School Shootings pt1 The Culture of Violence is All Around Us

Davey-D-purple-frameOn Friday December 14th 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Ct was the site of what many are describing as the second deadliest school shooting in US history. The dust is still settling and people are trying to come to terms with why 27 people were slaughtered. 20 of them kids between the ages of 6-7. We are now discovering that some were shot as much 11 times as they hid in corners of their classrooms covered up. This was gruesome. All told, 12 little girls and 8 little boys were murdered.. The other 6 killed, were all women. They were teachers and school administrators who tried to save these children from unthinkable horror.

Newtown Massacre Families prayUnderstandably many of us are looking for answers… We’re all looking for a nicely packaged, sound explanation as to why this happened. Many are quick to point out that the killer Adam Lanza had mental illness. The popular narrative is a sick man got a hold of some guns and shot up a school..End of story, good night.. And to be honest its true Adam Lanza was sick, but in order to really get to the root of what took place and why, and more importantly how to prevent this from happening again, we are deluding ourselves and doing a disservice to simply place Lanza’s sickness in isolation.

Please read that again and reflect on it…. Lanza is not alone in that sickness…

A Year and a Weekend Filled With Violence Beyond Sandy Hook

Many of us are sick in our denial about the pervasive, far-reaching impact of America’s culture of violence. There are some who just read what I wrote who will get defensive and dismissive and emphatically claim that what I wrote is not true.. But it is.. It really is. We are addicted to violence and turmoil and we’re sick in our collective dishonesty. The sickness is all around us.. The culture of violence is all around us..Here’s a small sampling of what has gone on around the country, since the horrors of Sandy Brook Elementary:

Von I Meyer

Von I Meyer

On Friday, same day as the Newton massacres, in Cedar Lake Indiana, an elderly man with 47 guns named Von I. Meyer was arrested after threatening to set his wife on fire and “kill as many people as he could” at a nearby Jane Ball Elementary School. You can read about that HERE.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma an 18-year-old student named Sammie Eaglebear Chavez was arrested on Friday as he attempted recruit fellow students at Bartlesville High School to lure them into a school auditorium where he planned to shoot them.. You can read about that HERE.

On Friday the same day as the Newton, Ct massacre in the SF Bay Area the second bomb scare in two days occurred. The one on Friday, went down at the region’s largest shopping center, the Great Mall in Milpitas. Hundreds of shoppers were evacuated. You can read about that HERE.

Monta Vista High school signThe day before at Monta Vista High School in nearby Cupertino, which is home to Apple Computers, the was a bomb scare accompanied with graffiti on the school wall threatening to kill a teacher. The school was shut down and evacuated. Students returned to school on Friday morning only to be confronted with news of the carnage going on Newtown. A 16-year-old student was arrested last night. You can read about that HERE.

On Friday night,  hours after the Newton, Ct massacre in Las Vegas, a man ran into the Excalibur Hotel and shot a woman and then himself. This tragedy immediately took our thoughts to the situation involving Kansas City Chief  football star Jovan Belcher & Kasandra Perkins  from 2 weeks ago where the star NFL star killed his girlfriend and then himself leaving their 3 month old without parents..The Vegas murder suicide is something that seems to be happening far too often.. You can read about it HERE.

Marcos Gurrola

Marcos Gurrola

On Saturday in Newport Beach, California 42-year-old Marcos Gurrola was arrested for shooting 50 bullets outside of Fashion Island Mall. He was arrested and the mall never shut down, which I think many found disturbing, especially in light of the mall shooting in Portland, Oregon that left two dead, that occurred earlier this week. There the gun man had intended to kill more folks but his gun jammed.  In the case of this Newport Beach shooting, police say the mall was reopened because the suspect shot the guns in the air and on the ground.. You can read about that HERE.

In Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday morning 38-year-old Jason Letts, rushed in St Vincent’s hospital and shot a police officer and two other people. The victims survived, Letts was killed by another officer.. This shooting was coming on the heels of a massacre the night before-same day as Newton, shooting where a woman and her two kids ages 4 and 5 were shot and killed. You can read about that HERE.

chicago violenceEarly, Saturday morning in Oakland, California, just two hours before a gun buy back program a 37-year-old man shot into a car with 3 people including a woman. Someone from the car shot back.. all four were injured. You can read about that HERE.

On Friday, in Chicago, same day as the Newton massacre, 10 people were shot including 4 teens. By the weekend’s end over 15 were shot. Sadly many upon hearing about this along with the shootings in Oakland and in Birmingham, shrugged their shoulders and thought to themselves; ‘What else is new? This is business as usual‘.

Kids in Pakistan express sympathy to Newtown, Ct victims

Kids in Pakistan express sympathy to Newtown, Ct victims

Fueled by class and racial bigotry, coupled with an overall climate of where many are mean-spirited, our collective societal sickness hasn’t allowed  many of us to see 10 people shot in inner city Chicago connected to those shot in mass shootings in suburban schools, malls and mosques…Our collective sickness doesn’t allow many us to see the humanity in others outside ourselves and our circles of comfort..Seems like many in the hood scoff at the mass murders they hear about going down in the suburbs while man in the burbs are dismissive of the daily killings they hear about in the hood.. And all of us in our collective sickness could give a rats ass about the children killed and carnage caused by drone strikes in foreign lands done in our name.. Our sickness has moved us all in the direction where life is devalued.

Even as I’m penning this article on Sunday afternoon, word is coming out about death threats coming to one of the churches in Newton, Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church was evacuated during its noon mass on Sunday due to a someone calling up and threatening to “kill everyone.”

“My friend didn’t finish the job,” the caller said, according to a church official. You can read about that HERE.

Aurora Theater shooting

Aurora Theater shooting

This year alone over 15 mass shootings taking place this country.  That’s a wickedly high number. From Portland, Or to Aurora,Co to Oakland, Ca to Oakcreek, Wi, to Minneapolis, Mn to the Empire State building in New York City to name a few, no community has been spared. On top of the 15, we have an additional 12 more over the past 4-5 years. there’s been over 60 since the Columbine massacres of April 1999.

Same ole Song Same Ole Script Mass Shootings Are Big Business

One would think our conversations around these tragedies would’ve had advanced over the past 10-12 years. Sadly with each mass shooting incident, we have not moved to heal from the trauma and to take solid steps to make sure such incidents never occur again.. Instead, we’ve seen these mass shootings morph into grandiose  television events.

They’ve become the ultimate, bizarre, morose reality TV show similar to the countless car chases we see in LA, where regular programming is interrupted so much so, that we now watch and don’t give a second thought about the crime committed or the victims of those crimes. We’re all caught up in the chase. In the case of Newtown, Ct as sad as it was, far too many of us were caught up in the drama and politics around it vs the very real need for healing. Very few of us recognize that even though this killing may have taken place far away from many of us, we were impacted. Something inside of us needs to heal. many of us are not as compassionate. Not as caring.. Not as concerned.

The way this story has been covered by our esteemed 4th estate, corporate media  hasn’t helped in the healing. The day of the massacre, the usual script was followed and things became all too predictable. High priced, news anchors were dispatched to the scene of the tragedy where they stood in front of churches, trying their best to look solemn as they grilled first responders and friends of a friend of a friend who may have known a victim about…

Why did this happen? What do we tell the kids? How long will people grieve? Was the victim mentally ill? We’ve heard these questions asked before

Newton MassacreThe whole time they are doing these interviews you can literally see these anchors scoping out the terrain with one eye open, angling to one up the competition. Friday reached new lows as we saw reporter after reporter shoving microphones in the faces of 5 and 6 year old kids who were clearly traumatized, asking them how they feel and what they saw etc..In spite of massive complaints on Facebook and twitter, by late last night you still saw little kids trying to explain what its like to hear or see someone shot or walk by dead bodies.. It’s not about healing it’s about being first and getting ratings at all costs. After all as some in the media like to say.. All this coverage doesn’t come free.

Interspersed between these interviews are heartbreaking pictures from Newtown. It’s scenes from candlelight vigils, people praying and faces of people crying in sheer agony with the words Getty images splattered across them, reminding us that as tragic as things may be, some company owns the rights to it. The sights and sounds are all licensed, copy written and trademarked, underscoring the fact that these mass shootings are big business..

End of pt 1 continue by clicking https://hiphopandpolitics.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/thoughts-on-the-newtown-school-shootings-pt2-hard-questions-we-all-must-answer/

The War on Women: Remember their Names.. Reflect on their Lives… Revolutionize

black-woman

The War on Women Continues: This morning I woke up to disturbing news about a woman who was shot to death while riding her bike near Longfellow school in Berkeley. I’m not sure why she was killed nor do I know her name but what immediately came to mind were the two teenage girls, Bobbie Sartain and her best friend Raquel Gerstel shot over 40 times in Oakland the other week…

What also came to mind was the recent kidnap and sexual assault of an 16-year-old autistic girl, with the mental capacity of a 6 year old. She got separated from her youth facility in East Oakland and was preyed upon by a man who kept her in bondage for 3 days.. Police eventually caught up with 36-year-old  Gary Steven Atkinson, who was long known to be a predator…But the damage is done. Trauma has been inflicted..

All this is compounded by a wave of assaults both within and outside the borders of our city. They range from the recent shooting death of a unidentified woman in Fruitvale 10 days ago, to an attempt by a young man in Fremont, (Cali) to hang his girlfriend in his backyard after an argument,  to shooting death of 25 year old Samantha Holderman of Antioch (Cali ) to a man who beat his wife to death in Staten Island, NY,  before taking his own life.  I can go on and on listing atrocities.

Locally all that I mentioned is underscored recent Facebook status update of long time Oakland activist and mother Needa Bee who posted up a warning about ” a psycho raping and torturing women at gunpoint in Funktown (East Oakland) . Homeless, hookers, crackheads. 2 of the women have gone to the police. And the police have done nothing“. Needa recently update us to note that word on the street is there is some sort of pimp war going on resulting in these men shooting and trying to take out each others girls..Femicide on a whole other level.

Needa Bee’s warnings are frightening because not only have the police been absent but not too many of us in the community are speaking on what she reported, but then again many of us are pretty silent on the two girls shot 40 times..Very few of us are asking and how and why? …Sadly, not a whole lot of us are talking about Kasandra Perkins, a young mother shot 9 times in front of her 3 month old child and his own mother…No one is talking about the fact that Kasandra may have been pregnant again…

Kesandra perkins

Kesandra Perkins

What we are talking about is Jovan Belcher, the Kansas City Chief football star who killed his girlfriend Kasandra and later himself in front of his coaches. What we are talking about his how the KC Chiefs demonstrated ‘inspiring courage‘ and how they ‘played valiantly‘ less than 24 hours after this horrific tragedy…Far too many of us were quoting media talking points about how the Chief’s win was a triumph and start the “healing process

Personally I thought it was in bad taste for the NFL to have allowed that game to be played. I don’t know if any sort of healing was really started.. If anything, I think it prolonged our collective silence.. The least we can do is shed light on the victims and remember their names…

We should also not numb or allow ourselves to be distracted from these recent assaults. They should weigh heavily on our hearts and minds and move us to find ways to end violence against women. Anything less is an indication that we are stepping away from our humanity.

Remember, Reflect, and Revolutionize