Maybe this world is another planet’s Hell.
~ Aldous Huxley
I know I read Brave New World but I don’t remember any of it. It doesn’t seem to me we’re living in a brave new world at all. There’s so many evils still plaguing this scared old world we’re scuffling through day-by-day.
If writing about crime, war, poverty, hunger, disease, ignorance and repression could end them, better writers than I would have rid of us these scourges a long, long time ago.
Just as I don’t have any solutions or suggestions as to what to do about the situation the picture at the top illustrates.
I can’t make it rain in Ethiopia. I can try to educate myself better on what can be done to alleviate the world’s thirst for water and what I can do not to waste this resource more valuable than gold, diamonds or even oil.
The above photo is from Foreign Policy’s impressive and depressing photo essay, “Portraits of Instability.” There’s a lot of bad places in the world where bad things are happening to good people. The power in these photographs is a strong reminder of how lucky we have it here in America.
Which isn’t to say we don’t have our own homegrown kinds of hell.
America is a violent country and no city had more murders last year than Detroit. 339 citizens of the Motor City were killed making Detroit bloodier than Iraq where 314 American soldiers died in 2008.
In the above photograph taken from a video surveillance camera, two gunmen with their shirts pulled over their heads sprayed bullets upon a group of summer school gathered at a bus stop. Seven teenagers were wounded with three in critical condition. All are expected to recover.
Police released their only suspect due to lack of evidence. As it typically goes these days, the shootings are being called “gang related.” A neat catch-all phrase and just as familiar a cop-out as the equally lazy, “drug related.”Wayne County prosecutor Kim Worthy said, “I hope … that when there is a lull in the gunfire that we don’t forget we still have a huge problem. It is, as I said long ago, going to take a long time to change the culture of violence.”
There’s another cliched phrase that needs to be tossed out like yesterday’s garbage. Culture of violence? There’s nothing cultured about violence.
By now I’ve written several thousand words about Black-on-Black crime. Not one of those words has ever stopped someone from picking up a gun and settling a petty beef by spilling blood Something may one day bring about a change, but it’s not going to be by any angry or hand-wringing words I write. Words are powerful but they don’t stop bullets and they don’t change the hearts and mind of those too angry to read them.
Then there’s the story of Jada Justice.
Every so often—too damned often—you come across these astonishing cases of both barbaric brutality, incredible degrees of cruelty and sadism and appalling stupidity all crashing together in a chaotic mess that leaves somebody dead.
And that’s what happened to Jada Justice.
On June 13, the two-year-old was left by her mother in the “care” of her cousin, Engilica Castillo and her boyfriend, Tim Tkachik. Castillo spanked and beat Jada repeatedly over a potty-training accident. Tkachik said he tried to get Castillo to stop but gave up and watched television instead. Later that night while on their way to buy heroin, they realized Jada was dead.
The coupe returned home and put the child’s body in a garbage bag. They drove out to a swamp near LaPourte County, Indiana and tried to set the garbage bag on fire. This caused a explosion that burned Tkachik’s face requiring treatment at a hospital. He would claim it occurred from a propane tank explosion. Driving back to their home, Tkachik put the body in a tub and poured concrete over it. They drove to another swamp and dumped the concrete slab.
Castillo and Tkachik returned home, took some heroin and reported the next day that Jada had been abducted from their car. Following a ten day search for the toddler, police arrested the two addicts.
After their arrest Tkachik led the FBI to the area where Jada had been entombed and dumped. An autopsy revealed she had suffered numerous skull fractures.
Castillo and Tkachik face between 45 and 60 years in jail for the murder.
Jada was laid to rest on July 3. One mourner at her funeral said the lesson leaned was, “You can’t really trust your kids with anybody.”
Her killers have shown nothing remotely resembling remorse. Tkachik was tasered in court on June 29 when he climbed on top of a table and refused to get down despite warnings he would be shocked if he did not.
During an interview with police before her arrest, Castillo became agitated when an officer showed a picture of Jada. Castillo tried to hit the officer saying, “God is taking care of her. God is watching over her.”
Got that much right.
It’s a hell of a thing in a country that prides itself on its quality of life, its system of justice and its love for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, there is so little outrage and outcry when children are beaten toa grisly death by two-legged pieces of fecal material like Castillo and Tkachik.
Maybe when every child is born they should be supplied with diapers, formula and a Facebook page and Twitter account. That way when one of them suffers a miserable end like Jada Justice, somebody other than her family will notice her death.
Where is the justice for the Jadas of the world?
Aldous Huxley was a gloomy bastard, but not totally without hope. As I opened with a fatalistic quote from the author of Brave New World, I’ll close with a somewhat more upbeat one.
It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than ‘Try to be a little kinder.’