Here’s something I know about the shootings of the Auburn football players without knowing anything about the suspect Desmonte Leonard. Whatever reason he had to shoot and kill three young men in the prime of their lives and wound three others, the reason will be stupid.
It won’t be because of a dispute over land nor property. It won’t be because of some great cause or a wrong that could be righted in blood. It won’t be for any of the grandiose excuses nations dream up to justify the spilling of life. It won’t be for riches or a threat to Leonard’s way of life.
It will be because somebody said or did something and someone took offense and grabbed a gun to make everything right again. Only guns are poor tools to make anything better. They are good at making everything much worse.
Two of the dead were former Auburn players, Edward Christian, who had to quit the team because of a back injury, and Ladarious Phillips, who had previously quit playing football. The third person killed was 20-year-old Demario Pitts.
Over the years I’ve written thousands of words weeping and wailing about Black-on-Black violence and it occurs to me that the problem isn’t that the words won’t work. The problem is they are for the wrong audiences. It’s not the gentle reader of this blog that I need to reach. It’s knuckleheads like Desmonte Leonard.
Only thing is guys like Leonard don’t read blogs like this. He probably doesn’t read much of anything else. What’s the solution? Building more jails and locking up more Black men hasn’t stopped them from killing each other. You could execute every brother on Death Row and that wouldn’t make a dent. Writing songs against Black-on-Black crimes and public service announcements don’t deter anyone from picking up a piece and settling a score. Electing Obama didn’t stop it and neither will replacing him with a rich White man who doesn’t think about race at all.
Leonard has two previous convictions with theft and carrying a weapon without a permit or license in 2008 and second-degree assault in 2009. As of this writing he is still on the run having fled the scene with two other suspects in a vehicle later found abandoned. Police have surrounded a home in Montgomery where they believe he is hiding and thrown tear gas in.
While I was reading about the useless life and times of Leonard, I chanced across another senseless Alabama-based tragedy. Jack Mac Girder, 73 was babysitting 9-year-old twins Jordan and Taylor DeJirnett when they went missing along with Girder’s 1986 Mercedes-Benz. The bodies of the three were found on a dirt road in Lourdes Country. Deandra Marquis Lee was arrested and charged with the triple homicide and held on a $3 million bond.
According to the mother of the slain children, Girder attended the same church and acted their babysitter while she worked. Lee was out on bond from another country had been charged with being in possession of a firearm with an altered serial number, obstruction of justice, resisting arrest, and violation of license to carry a pistol.
Girder’s Mercedes-Benz was found with all four doors missing. Lee is presumed innocent until proven guilty–the cold, miserable little son of a bitch.
Not wanting to miss out on all the blood splattering, in Chicago it was just another deadly weekend with 40 wounded and eight killed including 16-year-old Joseph Briggs who was merely sitting on his porch when he was gunned down.
Police believe the shooting was gang-related and Briggs simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Like sitting on the porch of his own home is the wrong place
Briggs’ grandmother who was raising him and his sisters said she would try to move out of the neighborhood. Police said progress was being made in tamping down the city’s street violence pointing to the fact this time last year there had been 17 people murdered in a week.
Malcolm X said a knife buried in your back six inches pulled out three inches is considered “progress” by some. The problem is you still have a knife in your back.
Black-on-Black crime is a knife in the back, at our throats and pointed squarely at our hearts, but nobody seems to care. The president never speaks about the violence in his home city. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton don’t lead protests or threaten boycotts about the problem. All the online petitions in the world can’t stop a single bullet fired in anger.
We don’t have to go to Syria to find people who look each other killing each other. We don’t have to go around the world looking for new wars to fight. The old wars on the street are still taking a heavy toll in spilled blood and shattered lives.
It’s frustrating and it’s scary and the worst thing is if only it were the KKK slaughtering Blacks on this wide of a scale. Then we would see some action. As it stands, the criminal element among African-Americans is doing a more complete job than the most nigger-hatin’ redneck ever could dream of.
- Two arrested in Auburn case; suspect at large (espn.go.com)
- 3 dead, 3 wounded in shooting near Auburn University (cnn.com)
- Alabama: Gunman sought in 3 deaths at Auburn party – San Francisco Chronicle (sfgate.com)