Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

Can’t Forget ‘Bout You

emmett

My dad enjoys telling stories. Some educational. Some allegorical. Some heartfelt. Some hyperbolic. Some too everything to actually be true.

Each of these stories, though, are now etched in my consciousness to the point that I can start, pause, embellish, and finish them as well as he can. Maybe he’s just a very gifted storyteller. Maybe I’ve just heard each of them too many times. Either way, they’ve become such a part of our relationship that it feels like they’re my stories now too.

Some of these stories are a bit more memorable than the others, though, and one of these involve the first time he became aware of Emmett Till.

He was eight years old when the famous Jet Magazine featuring Till’s horrifically disfigured face hit the newsstands. It was at that moment that the civil rights struggle became real to him. Sure, he was somewhat aware of how volatile things were becoming in the South. And, although Lawrence County, PA wasn’t Jessup County, MS, he’d already experienced racism. No fire hoses and lynchings, but racism still. But, for an eight year old, seeing stuff on TV or hearing your parents, uncles, and aunts talk about it doesn’t compare to the visceral impact of seeing an image like that. In his mind, if something like this could happen to a kid who was only a few years older than him, it could happen to him too.

My dad wasn’t the only one who had that reaction when seeing Till’s photo. For many people—White and Black people who weren’t necessarily on the front lines—the fight for equal rights was a real, but still somewhat abstract battle. The circulation of that picture served as one of the many “Wake up!” moments that occurred in that decade, an instant that shocked people into action.

I thought of this yesterday while reading a few of the articles published this week marking the one year anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s murder. I’m sure we all remember how his death galvanized the nation. I seriously can not remember another time in my lifetime where so many people were so visibly united against injustice. We marched and cried. We organized and demanded. We rocked hoodies.

And, despite what some people seem to think now, this action did manage to achieve the immediate goal. A year ago, George Zimmerman was a free man. Right now, he’s awaiting trail for murder, and I do not think this would have happened without the motherf*cking ruckus we caused.

But, while Martin’s death had unique circumstances, it was a part of a much bigger issue—gun violence in our communities—that still remains epidemic. Yes, violent crime has been on a decade-long decline pretty much everywhere—even Chicago—but saying 600 murders a year is better than 900 is like saying AIDS is better than Ebola.

We’ve collectively tried everything from stricter gun control laws to support groups comprised of ex gang-bangers to stem this tide, and nothing seems to really help. Well, we’ve tried almost everything.

I still read the local newspaper at least two or three times a week. (Yeah, it’s easier to read the paper online, but there’s something about reading, holding, and folding that still draws me to it) Often, I read about murders. Sometimes, people I personally know will be involved in the murder in some way. More times than not, though, I have no connection to the murder victim. They’re nothing more than a name, age, and location. And, while the news will sadden me, I usually forget all about it by the time I get to the sports. I doubt I’m the only one who goes through a similar process.

But, what if the paper and every other magazine, show, program, periodical, and website reporting on the news started running pictures of the deceased along with the stories? Not the prom and Facebook profile pictures that’ll occasionally be used when the story airs on the news, but the pics of how they look right now.

The crime scene photos. The bloodied, bullet-ridden bodies. The shotgun-shelled corpses left with half of a head. The seven year olds with holes where their hearts used to be. The faces with lifeless eyes still open, forever staring until a family member or kind detective closes them. The rotten, unrecognizable blobs laying in woods or underneath a houses, found only because it’s getting warm outside and they’re starting to stink.

I doubt they’d be as forgettable. I doubt we’d be able to turn the page as easily, to let them escape our minds as we read boxscores or play Sudoku. I doubt we’d be as willing to say and continue doing nothing.

It worked for my dad. I wonder if it would work for us.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Filed Under:
Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • iamnotakata

    I’m not sure how effective it would be today, considering the amount of violence we see on t.v., internet, video game and so forth. I think we are really desensitized to brutal levels of violence unfortunately. It was probably more effective for your dad because that level of brutality wasn’t publicized continuously. However it probably would make things a little more real and possibly propel the effort toward better gun laws, who knows…

    • H.H.H.

      i think it’s one thing to say we are desensitized to the violence that we consume via the mass media…but, this is mass media we are talking about.

      it’s one thing to murk the british in assassin’s creed 3, but it’s another thing when you’re seeing a body of someone that once had life not even 30 minutes ago.

      and i think it’s different when intentionally watching, seeking something gory (for example i remember watching terrorists kill a hostage by cutting off his head with a butcher knife)…as opposed to a grieving mother, who may be inconsolable every time she has to see that picture of her dead child in chicago, but still putting out a picture of her son slumped over…to mainstream media..so everyone is aware that, violence in america’s urban environment is REALLY real.

    • http://fourpageletter.wordpress.com keisha brown

      +2

  • ‘L’

    +1. Perhaps it would make death more real and spark some grass root movements in our communities & the nation. A little less talk and a lot more do!

    • http://www.twitter.com/Bmorebmw Tentpole

      We already have Sandy Point, Aurora, Columbine. There is not one day that passes where the media doesn’t report that someone has been murdered. We have been desensitized to violence. It only matters when it happens to someone you know. Until every killing matters to everyone, this will be life as usual.

      • annette_b

        Reporting on it is one thing. Showing graphic photos of the physical damage that was done to the victims is another thing entirely. I think the NRA would be having a much harder uphill climb to continue to promote the right to own any and all kinds of firearms if the result of the violence were in folks faces.

        • Wild Cougar

          I don’t think it would take long for people to become insensitized to the photos. When i was in Mexico, they would show bodies in the street every day. Some dismembered. It didn’t faze folks, like at all.

          • Marshal

            America isn’t Mexico, where drug cartels and mob bosses are in charge

            • Wild Cougar

              I don’t see how the geographical differences or identity of the killers changes the effect of being desensitized to graphic photos.

              • Marshal

                It makes tons of difference. A body ripped to shreds by an AK-47, AR-15, a machete, grenade or a shotgun looks way different than a .22, .38, .45, or a .9mm.

          • annette_b

            @WC
            This is sad and tragic. The only way this could happen is if there are just an overwhelming number of disturbing photos and videos and people just become hardened to it. I make that suggestion hoping that the gun violence would decrease before it got to that point but yeah, I suppose it could go either one of the two ways; less violence or apathy….

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

            @WC

            I’m not sure that I agree that folks in Mexico aren’t fazed by the violence or images of violence there. I think that when people see overwhelming numbers of those kinds of images the mind has to kick in and find ways of protecting its host.

            And, do we know how many Mexicans are suffering from PTSD and other violence related trauma?

  • http://testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

    I think the time of that is already here, Uncle Champ. With the rise of WorldStar and TMZ, the instantaneousness of the camera phone with the immediate “upload to Youtube” option… We’re a nation who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing and will kill (and be killed) for a week’s worth or press on Nancy Grace. A lot of people can place blame for it, but I’m not sure how to fix it.

    • http://fourpageletter.wordpress.com keisha brown

      +1

  • Malik

    300 less murders is a significant decrease. I agree that people should be far more exposed to the reality of the daily violence that goes along. Just as they should be exposed to organizations like CeaseFire. Any permanent solution addressing gun violence is going to need a multi-pronged approach with the groups/movements working cooperatively with each other to reach outlined and clearly defined goals. Anything less is just another bandaid.

  • Dignan

    Any campaign that is going to succeed at reducing gun violence is going to require a monstrously large allocation of financial and human resources to the communities where gun violence occurs the most. Are we ready to do that? Because we haven’t been ready up to now.

    CeaseFire is great, full respect to them, but they’re a drop in the ocean. If every major city had at least 10 CeaseFire organizations, we might be getting somewhere.

    • camilleblue

      True…and we have people actively getting out of those support roles due to being overwhelmed/burned out…see Yoles’ comment about it….

  • H.H.H.

    i’ve always wondered about that…because it seems that after a certain date and point…major newspapers stopped doing that (showing crime scene photos, or photos like emmit till). i know that there is a particular reason…and i’m feeling interested enough to search for that reason.

    something to keep in mind…for most of human history…war, for the most part, has been romanticized. the glory of battle, etc. However, that romanticizing of war…started to die down…and i think one of the reasons why, was the advent of photograph technology. as civilization that was no where near the battleground, were able to see the ‘end results’ of war..
    our collective appetites for battle were quickly quieted.

  • AfroPetite

    I wish exposing people to the gruesome side of gun violence would serve as a deterrent, but it seems as if folks are more curious about death than they are fearful of it.

    There are countless videos online of people being brutally beaten or murdered with no less than 100k views. A few years back, a video surfaced of two teens killing a man in the middle of the woods. There are numerous reaction videos to the original in which people watch the murder in its entirety. What’s crazy is that most folks were visibly disturbed by the murder but continued to watch regardless. I will never understand the fascination with watching people being beaten to bloody pulps or worse, actually being murdered :-(

    WSHH is notorious for these fight club-esq videos…..it’s all very unsettling for me but then again I’m a female. Maybe I just don’t understand the hype in the brutality.

  • JellyJam

    I dunno. Just might work. I find that a lot of times what is missing is shared pain. We can all recognize injustice or racism. But strong emotions illicit action…illicit change. It’s that shared pain, shared fear, shared frustration that make people say enough is enough. Maybe seeing a photo of a child who could be your son, nephew, cousin, or brother with a bullet thru his head next to a photo of him during happier times would stir more people to action. For example, I wonder if Congress would dare say they can’t pass an assault weapons ban if the Sandy Hook parents brought crime scene and autopsy photos of their young children in addition to the happy photos?

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

    As long as most of the daily gun violence is within Black and Brown communities then the Nation as a whole isn’t going to do anything real. Yes, there are occasional mass killings in White communities but, the media chalks those up to a mentally ill shooter who just needed some help.

    The violence in Black and Brown communities is seen as pathological, even by many, many Black and Brown people. And, since that’s the case, people tend to tune it out as ghetto craziness.

    There are only two ways to snuff out gun violence in Black and Brown communities.. One, ban all guns. That’s never going to happen. The second, an economic assault on the community. That is, to being in jobs that pay a living wage and have job security.

    Gun and gang violence take place in communities where there is no viable legal economy. And in that vacuum an illegal economy will always exist. With it comes guns and violence.

    But, America does not have the political nor moral will to really end the violence amongst poor inner-city Black and Brown people. It never has. So the slow genocide will continue.

    • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

      As long as most of the daily gun violence is within Black and Brown communities then the Nation as a whole isn’t going to do anything real.

      THIS. RIGHT. HERE. It kills me when Columbine and Sandy Hook happens and it’s like “stuff like that doesn’t happen here.” Um, actually, that’s EXACTLY where that happens. We just treat it like it’s weird when a middle class white kid shoots up more middle class white kids, but a drive by in the hood where little kids get killed? *yawn*

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

        On PBS this week they had two programs on, Nova and Frontline, “examining” why the Newton killer, Adam Lansa, killed those kids and teachers. I have never seen any news program ever take the time to examine why a Black or Brown person killed another Black or Brown person.

        • Aly

          Nightline had an in-depth story about gun/gang violence which touched on what you’re talking about.

          http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/hidden-america-inside-chicagos-gang-war-17523928
          (this is just one part of a lengthier story, you may have to search for the rest)

          Also, ‘This American Life’ has had a couple of good stories recently about inner city violence. One was about the effect violence has on young people – comparing it to soldiers who’ve been in a war zone. Some of these kids are even getting counseling for PTSD.

          http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/484/doppelgangers
          (scroll down to Act Two)

          The other one was a profile of Harper High School in Chicago. I haven’t had a chance to listen to this one in its entirety yet.

          http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/487/harper-high-school-part-one

          I know the ‘TAL’ stories aren’t exactly what you mean, but still worth a listen.

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

            I heard the TAL episodes. But, I wasn’t aware of the Nightline piece, thanks, I’ll check it out.

          • Marshal

            I’ve been looking for part 2 ever since that first part was posted online. That only scratched the surface to what ails Chicago with low resources, discrimination, and having to dabble in crime just to get by and stay above water. Community policing was supposed to be the alternative to assuming everyone is Guilty before Proving Innocence, but for some reason this hasn’t caught on; instead it’s the 1-2 punch of “Stop Snitching” and law enforcement being extra aggressive and condescending to the inner cities BECAUSE Nobody in the Community Wants Justice Served, kinda like Congress was and is under the Obama Administration

          • Ani-Q

            Wow. That is so encouraging. They came! Even though, they said that stopping the violence is hopeless, showing up to the interview spoke volumes.

          • Dignan

            I listened to both episodes of This American Life earlier today, and I have to say that I’m flabbergasted. I had no idea that the game had changed like that. And now that I know it, I don’t begin to know what to do about it, and it’s depressing as hell.

            It was bad enough seeing our kids killing each other with the profit motive driving it. Seeing the killing being driven by seemingly no motive is just……just…… I have no words.

    • That Ugly Kid

      “There are only two ways to snuff out gun violence in Black and Brown communities.. One, ban all guns.”

      Although I’m not a Pro-Gun nut, I disagree with this method. Why? Take a look at Chicago. We literally have the strictest gun laws in the ENTIRE COUNTRY. But look where we stand in gun-related injuries/murders. We’re in the Top 3, if not number 1 in the country.

      Why do you think that is? Simple. Because criminals don’t give a sh*t about following the laws. Criminals are already using banned weapons (fully automatic weapons are banned, yet guns such as the AK47 and Uzi are a staple in any gang). Whether the weapons are banned or not, criminals will always find a way to procure them, much like illegal drugs.

      All banning guns does, is disarm law-abiding citizens and deprive them of a more efficient way of protecting themselves/family/property should they be faced with a gun toting criminal. However, criminals will think twice about running up on you if firearm carry is legal, as you may be armed.

      • AfroPetite

        Exactly. Since when did the law deter any criminal from doing anything illegal?

        • SweetSass

          Why have laws against murder when murderers break them everyday?

          Come on now.

          Clearly you see the logic fail here.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

        When I talk about banning guns I mean like in Great Britain. No guns at all. No shotguns, no pistols, no guns at all in private hands. And, no guns even manufactured in this country for private use.

        This means no grandfathering in guns people already have. Everyone has to give up their guns or go to jail.

        And for criminals, add on 30 or 40 years for possessing a gun during any crime.

        Like I said though, this is never going to happen.

        • That Ugly Kid

          Except a significant amount of illegal guns are purchased outside of the area in which they are banned. And again, while law-abiding citizens most likely will give up their guns, criminals won’t. Putting us back at square one. And adding harsher sentences will do little to stop the bleeding. Apparently, if you get caught with a loaded gun in some cities (I think Chicago is one of these cities, not sure), not only do you get the initial sentence of 10-15 years, but you also get an additional 10 years added PER BULLET. Meaning you can get upwards of 100 years in jail if caught with a fully loaded pistol. But, the violence continues.

          Interestingly enough, cities that have Concealed Carry gun laws tend to experience less gun-related murders than cities with stricter laws. Which as stated above, can be because the 50/50 possibility of someone owning a firearm deters alot of criminals from committing whatever crime they were planning, as their life is legitimately in danger.

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

            “Interestingly enough, cities that have Concealed Carry gun laws tend to experience less gun-related murders than cities with stricter laws.”

            Oddly enough most of the people who have permits to carry concealed weapons live in relatively safe communities. That’s why there are less murders.

            “Except a significant amount of illegal guns are purchased outside of the area in which they are banned…”

            “if you get caught with a loaded gun in some cities (I think Chicago is one of these cities, not sure), not only do you get the initial sentence of 10-15 years, but you also get an additional 10 years added PER BULLET.”

            That may be true somewhere but not in Chicago. I just saw a news report about a guy in Chicago that was arrested on a gun charge and got probation and then murdered someone.

            I’m talking about a Nation wide ban.

            Anyway, there’s never going to be an outright ban on guns in this country. So this is kind of a moot conversation.

            • LMNOP

              I think a nation wide ban (while admittedly, never going to happen) would be much more effective than a city ban, because its not like there are border stops when you leave or enter a city.

              • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

                Yeah, that’s the only way a ban could work.

              • IVR

                “I think a nation wide ban (while admittedly, never going to happen) would be much more effective than a city ban,”

                To me it seems even a nationwide ban wouldn’t work . . .especially seeing the innovative ways folks manage to get stuff here from our neighbors

                This is a cultural issue. As long as folks want to shoot people they will find a way to shoot people. Personally, I would prefer to be armed

            • That Ugly Kid

              Oddly enough most of the people who have permits to carry concealed weapons live in relatively safe communities. That’s why there are less murders.

              Cities in Texas, Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina, and Arizona would like to have several, several words with you.

              I’m talking about a Nation wide ban.

              I know you are. More than 90% of the guns used in Chicago’s gun-related incidents were, you guessed it, unregistered/illegal. A nationwide ban won’t do much, as it won’t stop people from obtaining guns illegally. Just like it didn’t stop alcohol from being obtained during the Prohibition, you know, the NATIONWIDE ban on alcohol (fun fact: Chicago was notorious for being a large source of the bootlegging of illegal alcohol). Nor does it stop people from getting their hands on drugs.

              • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

                It depends. There are countries in the world where it is, if not impossible, very difficult to get a gun.

                It can be done but, there has to be a true will by the people to do it.

                As for prohibition; that was only supported by a very few people. So, that’s why it didn’t work.

                • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

                  Prohibition didn’t work because people wanted to get drunk. Overall I’m with TUK on this one. Making something illegal doesn’t stop ppl from getting their hands on it.

    • Lia

      Everything you said is spot on! My friend’s little brother was murdered in their hometown yesterday, 19 years old gunshot straight to the chest. A lot of the comments on the city paper’s website were absolutely disgusting. No one cared about the loss of a human life because it was on the bad side of town and it’s par for the course in that area.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

        Wow, sorry to hear of your loss. I’ve read those comments. You can find them on any major news site on any story involving violence and a Person of Color.

      • camilleblue

        Truly sorry to hear that….

    • That Ugly Kid

      “As long as most of the daily gun violence is within Black and Brown communities then the Nation as a whole isn’t going to do anything real.”

      I wholeheartedly agree with this right here, though.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

        A sad reality about how little value is placed on the lives of Black and Brown people and, how little empathy non-People of Color have in this country.

        • curlygirl

          don’t we bare some of the responsibility of placing value on ourselves though? We are killing each other, if we don’t see value within ourselves, why would we expect “outsiders” to?

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

            When you are poor and see no hope of doing better and everyone around you is and has been in this state for generations you begin to see yourself and those around you as worthless. This is the case even more when you are young. And, it’s young people who are being violent.

            And, trust me, if the majority of folks living in these communities didn’t value Black life, then things would be much worse. Only a small percentage of people are doing the killing and the entire community is not complicit, despite what some think.

          • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

            @curlygirl
            I’ve seen your comments in past posts regarding this issue, and vehemently disagreed, and still do!

      • Marshal

        There’s a huge disconnect to all of this too; while the Black Community wants guns Out of the Neighborhood, Rural and Suburban America wants More- to Defend against the “Government”. Black folks just hate Corrupt Cops, but Gun Nuts hate Law Enforcement that do anything outside of “keep minorites, specifically African Americans in their place”. The Alex Joneses and Wayne LaPierrres of America don’t include Black folk for this very reason, and we Black folks just shoot each other up like crabs trying to get out of being at the bottom of the barrel.

        • Dignan

          You’re close, but not exactly on it. There are a small (but not small enough) number of gun nuts who believe that they will one day need to use their guns to rise up against the tyrannical US government.

          The majority of white gun owners, though, if they’re not buying their guns for hunting, they’re buying them because they believe that some day in their life they will have a need/opportunity to shoot a black or brown person, legally. And deep in the deepest recesses of their hearts, in places that they don’t discuss with you, or even with me, there’s a part of them that is looking forward to that day. (To be fair, if they end up shooting a white person instead, they won’t be terribly disappointed.)

          • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

            Then there are some “gun nuts” of all races that want guns not to shoot black people or to “fight against a tyrannical government” they just want to protect themselves in the event that sh*t got real and they or their families were in danger (ie a home invasion). We exist too

            • Dignan

              True, but I was mainly referring to white gun owners who live in the safest suburb of your town and mine, who are unlikely to ever be victim of burglary, armed robbery or home invasion, and yet they still don’t feel safe. Deep down, these people firmly believe that the day will come when they will have to shoot someone. There are tens of thousands of people like this in America.

              I guess it’s kinda like people who firmly believe that they will win the lottery someday, mathematics notwithstanding.

              • SweetSass

                Having grown up in a lily white burb, I cosign this statement.

              • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

                Oh ok, yeah I don’t doubt that at all. I just don’t like how people frame this discussion like everybody who’s opposed to the idea of removing gun ownership rights from American citizens is a racist white person in the suburbs who hates black people. They’re just the most vocal about it

    • Royale W. Cheese

      “The violence in Black and Brown communities is seen as pathological, even by many, many Black and Brown people. And, since that’s the case, people tend to tune it out as ghetto craziness.”

      Not only that, it’s a soul sucking vortex of hopelessness that will turn the most optimistic social worker into a drained zombie. The ecosystem of violence in the hood resists change. You can’t blame a person for throwing their hands up when trying to “help” people who think your “help” is impractical, irrelevant, b.s.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

        “You can’t blame a person for throwing their hands up when trying to “help” people who think your “help” is impractical, irrelevant, b.s.”

        Yeah, that’s true. It’s all circular. Social workers work within systems that are promoting programs that are oft times counter-productive. The people they are trying to help, because of generational poverty and dependance on those programs, have become cynical about any help offered.

        The social workers and the poor are all on the same merry-go-round.

        • Yoles

          one of the many reasons i changed careers… the burnout and hopelessness is real

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

            Yep, social work will burn one out quick.

    • Dignan

      “The second, an economic assault on the community. That is, to being in jobs that pay a living wage and have job security.

      Gun and gang violence take place in communities where there is no viable legal economy. And in that vacuum an illegal economy will always exist. With it comes guns and violence.”

      We’re going to have to do more than bring in legal jobs. Illegal jobs will always pay better than legal jobs. Only through comprehensive changes to our drug policy will those illegal jobs dry up.

      The mafia used to make tons of money off of running numbers. Then the governments got into the lottery business, and nowadays the mafia doesn’t make as much as they used to.

      I’m not saying “legalize all drugs.” The answer is a lot more complicated than that. But legalizing drugs will take tons of money away from the gangs, no question. It might even take away their reason for existing.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

        ” Illegal jobs will always pay better than legal jobs.”

        Only in the very, very short-term is that true. Most drug dealers spend so much time in jail that over the long run legal jobs pay much more.

        If you took 100 drug dealers and offered them permanent jobs making $20hr. I’m pretty sure the majority would take them.

        I think most people would choose a legal well paying job over one that will probably get you killed and surely put you in jail.

        • Dignan

          If you can get the drug dealers to see the big picture, then you’re probably right.

          But given the high percentage of drug dealers that are under 30 years old, getting them to take the long view can be difficult. Everybody wants to believe that they’re the exception to the rule.

          • Kema

            Yea it would be a hard sell to get them to give up freedom today for freedom later. Especially since everyone thinks they can outsmart the system.

      • Marshal

        Legalizing drugs Sounds Good until it becomes Capitalized and messed with by pharmacists. I tried smoking medical marijuana once and onl1 once- it made my head feel like I was being stabbed with a milion knives. That’s as close as I ever want to be to being screwed with for the rest of my life dabbling with a drug that was laced or “upgraded”. I have a cousin that is forever mentallygone because a blunt she was smoking was laced with PCP and the drug known as “water”. She used to be full of life and one of my favorite cousins when I was younger but after that I barely recognize her….

        • Kema

          “it made my head feel like I was being stabbed with a milion knives.”

          I’m so sorry you had to go through that.

          • Marshal

            Back then smoking pot and being productive meant nothing (Steve Jobs created the Macintosh while on drugs), but to be a U.S. Marshal or FBI agent I can’t mess with weed. I had an internship with Interpol last year but turned it down because I wanted to finish school ASAP (and I’m a Parent), soI take a random drug test once every month since I’m in the employment database.

        • Dignan

          I’ve never taken PCP, but everything I’ve heard about it would indicate that it’s a really messed up drug. I don’t understand the mindset of the people who take it regularly, and that’s saying a lot, because I understand the mindset of people who take every other drug. If you’ve got access to any drug you want, why the hell would you choose PCP?

          (And I recognize that your cousin didn’t choose it. That’s not what I was saying.)

          • Marshal

            I understand, no worries. I only smoked weed and took exstacy, though I cut the pills in halves and took one half. I never took a whole one because I saw a girl almost die from an overdose as a teen. After Graduation and being rewarded with an overseas trip to China, I stopped all of that as fast as the Roadrunner

      • SweetSass

        ” Illegal jobs will always pay better than legal jobs.”

        I disagree.

        Being a drug deader doesn’t some with 401K, health insurance, and paid vacation time.

        There are modest changes that could give these type of benefits to regular jobs along with an increase in minimum wage that would make the risks associated with illegal jobs not worth it. It’s just that things have been so stagnant in terms of working class life for so many years that the bottom is unbearable.

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      I seem to recall the libertarian pundit Megan McArdle opining that we’ll never have true equality in this country, because it would mean telling the richest 20% of the country that their kids will have a 1 in 5 chance of being poor. Last I checked, people tend to want their kids not to be poor and will pull out the stops to make sure that happens, even if it means screwing over poor kids. I’m not sure it’s racism (as I think if you somehow flipped out the various groups, people would act in broadly similar ways) as it is human.

      Besides, we’re at a point in America where a lot of the same dumb stuff that’s been in the ghettoes and barrios for a couple of generations is hitting the trailer parks and working class neighborhoods the same way.

      We got a loooooong way to go.

      • SweetSass

        Yet you are a libertarian… which means accepting that you don’t care if things get better or not and you don’t want any resources put towards that end.

        • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

          Put the word “government” between the words “any” and “resources”, and you’d be right. There are changes that can be made outside of politics.

    • http://snarkyasiwant2b.wordpress.com Snarkychic

      I totally agree with this comment. As long as the perceived gun violence takes place in communities where Black and Brown folk are the majority it will continue to be a perceived Black and Brown folk problem.

      Another issue with total gun ban is the notion that our economy is directly tied to crime. To try to totally eradicate crime would have a lasting impact on the economy. Not that I’d argue against taking the steps to get there but we must understand the right thing is not always the best financial move at least in the eyes of those who sit on the hill.

  • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

    As humans, we have a tendancy of normalizing the abnormal. It will work, BUT only for a certain period of time.

    Look at the pictures of starving kids in Africa with distended bellies and ribs showing, flies hovering over their foamy mouths. We’ve become accustomed to them to the point whereby their stories and pics no longer create a sense of urgency to react.

    Though, in this instance you are talking about very grotesque pics worse than those of the mentioned kids, after some time, I think they’ll be treated as aforementioned. Probably the comparison I made was not the best, but eh…we are bound at some point in time to become desensitized. Our senses only come into being when it is someone we know. I could be wrong….or not. God hammercy.

    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

      “We’ve become accustomed to them to the point whereby their stories and pics no longer create a sense of urgency to react.”

      We were talking about subjects that should be off-limits for jokes yesterday, this is one. Yet, I actually hear comedians making jokes about starvation in Africa.

    • Wild Cougar

      Zackly. Its human nature. Your brain is gonna calm you down whether you longer it or not. Its survival. Otherwise you’d outrage yourself to death

    • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

      CBL, that’s EXACTLY what I was thinking. Seeing something over and over will ALWAYS make you de-sensitized to it. That’s life. Agree with WC too. You’d stress yourself to death otherwise smh