Our Enemy is Ourselves.

A game where whomever wins, we lose.

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.

(Left to Right) Edward Christian: murdered, Eric Mack, wounded, Ladarious Phillips: murdered

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.

Too young to die? No such thing.

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.

Desmonte Leonard: on the run, but probably for not much longer.

5 thoughts on “Our Enemy is Ourselves.

  1. LSMFT. Most problems dealing with interpersonal relationships–short-term or otherwise–are the result of the initials–LSMFT.

    It once meant, “Luck Strikes Mean Fine Tobacco.” Today it means, “Low Self-Esteem Means Friction and Trouble.”

    If you’re black, and born in the U.S., that’s one strike against your self-esteem–just for being black and knowing that a large segment of society thinks you’re worthless. Being poor in a nation fond of ostentatious materiality, is another strike. Having parents that have no self-esteem, no education, and no money (recipients of foodstamps, and public assistance), is another strike.

    Living in neighborhoods that have little or know self-esteem is yet another.

    I could go on….

    When all of society–black, white, brown, red, and yellow–begin to care about its youth, regardless of race, value them, and hold them dear, we’ll see an end to this senseless violence.

    Until then, we’ll have shootings and knifings, or what have you, so that some youth–taking offense over the slightest slight to his pride, his manhood, and his self-worth, whose self-esteem is mostly non-existent, who feels that he’s already several “strokes” down in a “stroke economy”–can regain the self-esteem he thinks he’s lost, using the barrel of a gun.


  2. @Introspection…..Again, that type of thinking is a part of the problem. The blame for black on black violence is at the “black” hands that commit the violence and the “black” community that accepts it. Period.


    • Darryl, my explanation is as good as it gets. If I told you what’s really at the heart of what you’re seeing, not only in the black community, but the world, you’d be incredulous, and still insist that my “thinking is a part of the problem.”

      No, Darryl, it’s not my thinking, but your thinking, and the thinking of millions more like you.

      One last thing: No one lives in a vacuum, and neither do they act in one. Everything around them contributes to who they think they are and what they do.

      Every crime takes more than one “hand” to commit it, either through omission or commission. The “black community” doesn’t exist on an island, but exists as an enclave of a larger piece of real-estate called a city, a state, and a nation.

      Unlike you, I hold everyone responsible. Why, because they are: “When all of society–black, white, brown, red, and yellow–begin to care about its youth, regardless of race, values them, and holds them dear, we’ll see an end to this senseless violence.”

      Unlike you, I don’t thing the “‘black’ community accepts it,” I think it just feels helpless to stop it. Got any bright ideas for overcoming helplessness?


  3. Excellent post Jeff. My only critique is that you paint with a broad brush with this sentence: “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.”

    The president has spoken about black on black violence, albeit, he doesn’t do so very often. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have marched and protested black on black violence, though it’s not always aired at 6 or 11 p.m. Part of the problem is, this type of violence happens so often that the Sharptons, Obamas and Jacksons couldn’t possibly talk about every single one of the acts and there still be daylight left after they finished. Plus, who would continue listening if they did? We’re too busy watching Toddlers and Tiaras and Basketball Wives. So while I empathize with your frustration, I just think the sentence is more of a generalization than it should be. For the record, I do think ALL OF US can do more and can do better. But do what….

    Well, I guess if our educational system was better, that could cut down on some of the violence. If there were more advancement opportunities, that could cut down on some of it. Don’t get me wrong, we’d still have a problem with black folks killing each other, but would it be as wide-scale? I’m not what sure what the magic pill is. I wish that I did know though.


    • “I’m not what sure what the magic pill is. I wish that I did know though.”

      Hi, Tracie. We’ve known for years what works and what doesn’t–the “magic pill,” so to speak, although it may be for some a “hard pill” to swallow.

      Many societies have used the “pill” and some continue to do so. The solution has been encapsulated in the saying, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.”

      And so it does.

      As it stands, we have to overhaul how society views its responsibility for the raising of our children–restructuring its role–offering more hands-on than is currently provided. There’re too many single-parent homes, where mostly women are left with the burden of rearing society’s children, and those who will eventually take our places in society.

      Indeed, they are society’s children–our children–and should be seen that way.

      Mind you, I’m not attacking single moms. Men too often leave their seed behind, and little else–abandoning the children, or turning them over to the woman exclusively. Giving their challenges, these moms give it their best effort.

      The nub of our problem: We expect children–literally–to raise the next generation of children, rather than the elders in our society. Contrary to the law, it takes years to grow up, and some never achieve the goal.

      The ratio of elders to children has to be greater than one on one, or two, or three, or even a dozen. The nuclear family concept flies in the face of what blacks used to employ–the extended family notion of child rearing, where children came under the stewardship of all family members, and the community, and, when these children failed, or succeeded, more than just a mom or dad were let down, or basked in their success.

      It was members of the entire community.


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