Dead Black bodies are a growth business (and business is good).

michael brown_autopsy_

And we’re back.

I needed some time off and I took off. No mystery to it. I’ve written about dead Black bodies that only came to my attention when they ceased being live Black bodies. I could have lived a happy life blissfully ignorant of Trayvon Martin, Jonathan Ferrell, Justin Davis, Renisha McBride, Hadiya Pendleton, Antonio Smith or Michael Brown’s existence. Now they are part of mine. Despite never knowing them or meeting a part of them lives on in me and their restless spirits travel with me even as I wait for the next name to be added to theirs.

I could write every day for every last day of my life on dead Black bodies bleeding out in the street and never run out of material and I’m tired of it. It makes me angry and then it makes me depressed and then it makes me want to lie in bed all day long with the curtains drawn until its night again. How many words have I written over the past 22 years about dead Black kids where only the names and locations change but the details stay all too similar? I don’t know the exact number, but I know it’s been far too many.

Michael Brown and Antonio Smith were the last dead Black bodies that pushed me to and then over the edge. Ishmael Reed once declared “writin’ is fightin’ “, but these were the murders that made me drop my gloves. It’s not that I’m never gonna stop writing or fighting. How can I when I know I’m not going to throw a brick through anybody’s window or burn down anyone’s store or spit in the eye of any cop no matter how much I might want to.

You don’t have to smell the putrid funk of dead bodies to be sickened by it. I’m tired of writing worthless words which do nothing but make one man feel a bit better about the things he can’t stop or change.   Words are the only bullets in a writer’s gun, but depending on what the subject we’re drawn to and compelled to talk about we can fire for a while before we start shooting blanks. Dead Black boys provides a lot of ammo and Lord, do I wish I could put this gun down and never pick it up again.

Got no justice.  Can't rest in peace.

Got no justice. Can’t rest in peace.

Yet I know I will.   I always do.  In six weeks or six days or six hours there will be another Mike Brown and another and another after that.  Dead Black bodies is a growth industry.  I’m never going to run out.   No matter what else draws me away the certainty of cold hard steel tearing through warm soft flesh will draw me back to this subject time and again.

It will make me angry and it will make me mad and it will make me so depressed I’ll want to lie all day in a dark room with the curtains drawn and I’ll be thankful for only one thing: that’s it’s not my son or daughter.

I’ll pray it’s never my son lying face down in the street or my daughter staring up at the stars with dead eyes wide open that see nothing. I’ll pray for that even as curse living in a sick, sick, SICK world where any parent anywhere should ever have to pray “Lord, don’t let it be mine, let it be someone else”

Maybe tomorrow nobody will die.  Maybe nowhere in the world no trembling hostage will have some sadistic bastard cut his head off.   Maybe a Black teenager won’t get blown away with his hands raised hoping to save his life from a White cop determined to take it.   Maybe no woman will be raped or beaten or strangled.   Maybe there won’t be any war anywhere because maybe both sides decide to take a day off.

Maybe.   And maybe I’ll just wake up and wait for the next batch of bad news to come looking for me.

 

Black Lives Matter. But Not Every Black Life Matters As Much.

Just another day. Just another dead kid

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.

We March. But Not For Antonio.

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.