Elsewhere in America, another kid gets shot in Chicago.
The story of Antonio Smith is a short one. After all, he was only nine years old. He wasn’t a celebrity. He accomplished no great deeds. He made no enduring mark on the world.
Then again, most nine-year old kids don’t. They’re real busy just being kids.
Until someone takes their life. Then they’re a statistic.
Antonio lived a short life. He died a quick and violent death.
CHICAGO (WLS) —Antonio Smith, 9, was fatally shot in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood, his family told Eyewitness News Wednesday night.
The victim’s relatives made a plea to the shooter, who remains at large on Wednesday night.
“He was just a child, just a baby, still had a whole life ahead of him. And like, why? Just a child,” said Kenya Eggleston, victim’s cousin.
Smith was shot multiple times in the chest around 4 p.m. Wednesday in the 1200-block of East 71st Street.
“At first I didn’t know if they were really shots or not. I just heard pop, pop, pop, pop, pow. So I just kept doing what I was doing,” said Dave West, neighbor.
“It hurts my heart, really, to see the young kids just, just killing each other. And school is getting ready to start,” said Robert Blake, neighbor.
School’s out for Antonio Smith. Forever.
There are no protests. Al and Jesse aren’t in the streets. Reporters aren’t tripping all over each other to stick yet another hot mic under another agitated person’s mouth hoping they’ll say something raw and juicy.
When he was running for his life whose name did Antonio call? His mother? God? Did he scream for help or plead for mercy? Too many kids like Antonio have survived birth only to be killed by a hard life where there’s no mercy, no forgiveness, and no pity. Too many of us are just like Mr. West. We hear “pop, pop, pop, pop, pow” and since it’s not us we go back to what we were doing.
After all, what’s the big deal? Antonio was a nobody. He wasn’t popped by a White cop (unlikely). He got done in by somebody who probably looked a lot like him (more likely).
I know you’re sick of hearing about it. I’m sick of writing about it. Jesus. Another Black kid got shot? How many does that make this week? And it’s only Thursday. Scratch that vacation to Chicago, honey. When does ski season start in Vail? You know those people hate the snow and cold. That’s why you never see them win anything at the Winter Olympics.
It’s just another dead Black kid. Life ended. Promise snuffed out. The mean streets claim another one. You know the routine. Roll out the yellow tape. Mark where the body fell. Shuffle the paper. Record the name. Bury ’em, forget ’em and keep it moving. Tomorrow is another day and tomorrow is Friday which in Chicago means the start of the weekend and a fresh supply of dead and wounded mostly Black bodies ready to be stacked, packed, body-bagged and toe-tagged.
Oh well. No big loss. It’s not as if any of them were going to grow up to come up with the cure for cancer or run a Fortune 500 company. Fuck it. Antonio Smith might have grown up from being another kid with a crooked, cocky smile into yet another big scary Super Predator like Mike Brown going around stealing stogies, shoving store clerks and being a Menace II Society before he gets put down like the mongrel he was.
We’ve become desensitized to dead kids. A cop killing a brother isn’t rare, but brothers killing brothers over nothing is common. We as a people we’ve become remarkably adept at coming up with ways to divert our attention from the slaughter in our streets.
America doesn’t notice anymore. It can barely tear itself away from its petty partisan politics, worthless entertainments and minor amusement to pay attention to just another dead kid face down in the street or staring sightlessly up at the sky.
Plenty more where Antonio came from. Plenty gone and plenty still to go.
The slaying of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson comes at a perfect time for the news media. Congress is on vacation. The President is on vacation. We’re all sick of hearing about Israel, Ebola, Isis, the Ukraine and Boko Haram. There’s nothing good on TV. Even the NFL isn’t playing any meaningful games yet. It’s a harmonic converge. There’s nothing else going on.
Wonder why it is we as Black people care so much when a killer cop guns us down and care so little when a killer who looks like us does the same thing. Does Black life only matter when its taken by a White man?
I’d prefer it wasn’t so, but I think I’d be lying to myself.