What happened in Alabama is nothing short of a tragedy. 11 people dead including the gunman’s relatives and strangers. However, this sort of stuff happens everyday, it just doesn’t always make national news.
The thought is that the gunman, Michael McLendon, killed his mother and set fire to her house, killed his grandparents, his aunt and uncle, the wife and child of a sheriff’s deputy, and three other people, over the loss of a job. A job authorities said McLendon was either fired or resigned from at a metals plant in 2003. And because of this the nation is fixated on Alabama today.
Well I’d argue, this has been going on in urban communities for years.
I think rapper Jay Z said it best in “Say Hello” from the American Gangster movie soundtrack.
We ain’t thugs for the sake of just being thugs
Nobody do dat where we grew at, nigga, DUH!
The poverty line, we not above
So out come the mask and glove cause we ain’t feelin’ the love
We ain’t doing crime for the sake of doing crime
We movin’ dimes cause we ain’t doin’ fine
One out of three of us is locked up doing time
You know what that type of shit can do to a nigga mind?
My mind on my money, money on my mind
If you owe me ten dollars, you ain’t giving me nine
Ya’ll ain’t give me 40 acres and a mule
So i got my Glock 40, now i’m cool
And if Al Sharpton is speaking for me
Somebody get him the word and tell him i don’t approve
Tell him i’ll remove the curses
If you tell me our schools gon’ be perfect
When Jena 6 don’t exist
Tell him THAT’s when i’ll stop saying bitch—BIIITCH!
All I am saying is that when a white boy goes mental and embarks on a killing a spree over the loss of a job, it’s national news. But brothas in the hood killing each other on a regular basis because they can’t get jobs (to even lose) is just business as usual and not breaking news…unless they happen to kill a white boy.
Again, it’s unfortunate about what happened in Alabama. But this shit happens on the daily around the country. It takes some longer to crack than others and depending on who and where they are, the ending results may look different to the untrained eye. A depressed mentally ill white boy who kills 10 before offing himself is no different in my eyes than the brothers gangbanging in the streets of Los Angeles because since the diffusion of all groups Black and political (Black Panthers, SNCC, US, etc.), the introduction of crack cocaine, Prop. 209, a fucked up public school system, and Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, “they ain’t doin fine.” Same spark, same outcome…someone or someones are dead. And depending who did the killing and who died, is the difference between local or national media coverage.
What’s going to change in America to reduce the occurrence of incidents like Alabama and in urban communities around the country? That’s the real question.