Michael Jordan couldn’t stop it from happening to his father, James, and former LAPD Chief Bernard Parks couldn’t stop it from happening to his granddaughter, Lori Gonzalez. (That the latter’s grandfather was the chief of police in LA at the time of her murder is one of the cruelest, sickest jokes of all.)
Now professional tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams get the same horrifying lesson in the murder of their older sister, Yetunde Price.
Fame and fortune could not assist these well-known black American citizens in protecting their families from the reaper that plagues the communities of the average black American: We are being murdered, mostly by those who claim to be our brothers.
My great-aunt Alma, who never had children of her body, has many “children” who look to her as a mother figure, including myself. One of these is a woman in her late thirties—Kim—whose adoptive mother and father have long been dead. My aunt made the mother a death-bed promise: that she would look after Kim. Aunt Alma, always one to keep promises, has held true to this one admirably.
As a result, Kim calls my aunt nearly everyday to ask advice and, generally, to complain of her lot in life. Aunt Alma gives good advice; most of it not taken (“get your GED, watch your finances”); but she presses on, nonetheless. Kim will also occasionally come to visit her surrogate mother. Kim, however, has a teenaged son, whom Aunt Alma refuses to allow near her house. The reason? The son is a gang member and a drug dealer. (In and out of juvenile detention, the sixteen-year-old hasn’t quite managed to find the time to get past the eighth grade.)
Aunt Alma fears that the presence of this boy will endanger her life.
Lori Gonzalez and Yetunde Price met their pointless fates through association with this sort. Both were reputed to be nice, educated, upstanding women who had the misfortune to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time and, of utmost importance, with the wrong people.
I can imagine how things played out with Price. She goes out on Saturday night with a friend. The friend wants to stop by a known drug house to buy weed, cocaine or whatever. Though Price was a known non-drug user, she reasons that the stop will be short and that she doesn’t have to go into this den of iniquity. Indeed, she would keep relatively safe by staying in the car. The friend would score and they would be off. And, after all, she and her sisters grew up in the area; survived and prospered there.
Just let him get in, do the deal, and get out. Then, hopefully, she would be home soon.
Well, we know now that things didn’t happen that way, unfortunately for Price and the Williams family. Lori Gonzalez’ murder, done while she was in the company of an old high school friend, turned gang member, occurred under even seemingly less threatening conditions than those of Price’s demise: a stop for fast food. Gonzalez’ murderer was gunning for the friend.
At what point do black people say “enough of this?” Black gang-bangers and drug-dealers seem to have taken over where the Klan of old left off. The homicides of the elder Jordan, Gonzalez and Price were/are only major news due to the notoriety of their kin. However, these cases represent only the pinnacle of a mountain of dead bodies. (Bill Cosby’s son, Ennis, is not included in this number, because he was murdered not by another black, but by a reputed white supremacist; the exception that proves the rule.)
When black gang members kill each other, it’s senseless and tragic. But, when such gang members gun for each other and, instead hit innocents like Gonzalez and Price, it’s more than that. When they try to eliminate their “enemies” and, instead, cut down toddlers playing in their own front yards or fell grandmothers out watering their lawns, the words “senseless” and “tragic” just don’t seem to capture the mood.
When black crooks murder mature black men, like James Jordan, merely to rob him of the fruits of his and his phenomenally talented son’s hard work, the words “senseless” and “tragic” sit like the useless, inadequate descriptions that they are in the mouths of observers, and, very likely, to the Jordan family.
Terrorists once roamed the southern states in droves. Terrorists now blow up office buildings in the US and buses, nightclubs and the United Nations in other countries.
How are we who are black, going to deal with the terrorists in our midst? How are we to deal with the terrorists who look like us, who may be our kin? How are we to process the indisputable evidence that too many of our kin have become our greatest enemies?
Old friends, are we going to have to shun you and bar you from our neighborhoods in order to keep a humbug bullet from going through our heads?
One wonders how soon it will get to that point.
UPDATE: It appears that the suspected killer of Yetunde Price joined the Crips under their Affirmative Action program. Aaron Michael Hammer apparently is white.