Dear President Obama,
You stated in March of 2012 that “if you had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin.” You also stated, “”All of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out how does something like this happen,” and in this same speech that you exhibited such heartfelt emotions regarding the injustice of the shooting of a youth in a case of self defense, you also stated, “when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids, and I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together, federal, state and local, to figure out how this tragedy happened.”
Well sir, Mr. President, I too am a parent. A parent of two girls similar in ages to your two daughters and I too have two daughters. I felt that the Martin/Zimmerman encounter was a tragedy with the way it ended but, I can also see where self defense can be misconstrued as ‘stand your ground’ and a direct order of cease and desist was not issued in that instance. That perhaps there needs to be stricter rules for engagement conduct with community watch persons, and I won’t rehash that which has been settled, fairly in my opinion, but get to the point of why I’m writing this open letter to you sir. I have two daughters as stated above, and I can state with confidence that they are good girls. Good but not perfect, raised by someone whom was raised with “old world courtesies” to have manners and respect, raised to know right from wrong and if they aren’t sure to seek guidance. They have been attending church before they could even pronounce the word God and say Jesus without lisping. My daughters I am proud to say without boasting are excellent students, they have their struggles at time with school work, but refuse to miss a day at school even when they are sick. Mr. President, with all that said, I have one problem though, I fear your “if I had a son” types that roam among our cities with impunity because they feel they are bored, or misrepresented, discriminated against, and some let’s be clear on this, know the laws geared towards minor better than any wet behind the ears public defender and bank on the punishments being light. I fear “your sons” more than I will ever fear some White-Hispanic Community watch man.
I’m seeing a number of young Black teens, while giving the benefit of assuming that their parents/parent has taught them right from wrong are roaming about city and town streets engaging in an act of violence they refer to as a game by the name of ‘knock-out’! Knock-out from what I’m learning of it in media forums, is a game where you look for an unsuspecting victim and ‘sucker-punch’ them until as the title states they are knocked out! Yes sounds absolutely ludicrous doesn’t it? More so than how it sounds Mr. President, it’s dangerous, and illegal behavior. Let’s be clear this game is assault sir. This behavior also if you want to be frank about it, plays into the age-old-pre-civil rights era of “lord don’t let them be black” fear and stigma of being stereotyped as a thug, rogue, guilty by racial grouping that still crosses so many minds when a news report comes on. I have to be honest sir, I’m one of those that has that thought because I am so sick and tired Mr. President of Blacks aka African-Americans being grouped and perceived as savages when there are so many more important issues to address.
So Mr. President, because of this rampant and rapidly growing trend of violence to cure doldrums, and frankly some seem to just get a sick vicarious thrill from it. I fear when my oldest daughter, a teenager leaves my house to go anywhere without me. I can’t afford private security just as so many others can’t, and she may one day become a target herself by one of those delinquents or someone that is fed up with the lawlessness of Black youths seeking justice. You see unless I have a tattoo etched on their foreheads that states, “I’m not like those other teens”, how would anyone know that my daughter and so many other’s like her at her age and let’s just address the elephant in the room; black teenagers, are not the type of teenagers inclined to run amok like a lawless band of home-grown terrorist looking for innocent unsuspecting people to beat, shoot, and rob for the thrill?
Americans have had enough and are at their wits end with this frightening and dangerous youth violence! There are those I believe that are just a hair from snapping and becoming the sort of vigilantes that Zimmerman was accused of being. Americans have read and watched news reports of many crimes such as that of 88 year old Delbert Belton. Mr. Belton in case you missed this news story Mr. President was a WWII veteran, he was wounded in Okinawa, Mr. Belton sir, was outside to wait for a ride from a friend to go bowling when he became an innocent victim of a beating and robbery. Sad to say Mr. Belton’s story wasn’t the exception the year, this had been a year of crimes against innocent citizens or even foreigners visiting one of our states like the Australian Christopher Lane. Christopher Lane, Mr. President, played baseball ball for East Central University on scholarship and was visiting his girlfriend in Oklahoma this summer. Christopher Lane went out for a jog, and three teens driving around looking for someone to kill for the thrill to drive away their boredom found Christopher Lane. Oh but that’s right you issued a statement on this murder, some say in response because the Prime Minister of Australia called for a boycott on tourism to America. Mr. President, you stated, “there is an extra measure of evil in an act of violence that cuts a young life short.” I couldn’t agree more, but to me Mr. President, that addresses the act only and not the behavior nor the perpetrators of such evil, sorry but I was raised with this rule of thumb, “you reap what you sow and do unto others as you would have others do unto you” period! My mother, God rest her soul also would have followed that up with, “if you go out of this house and forget what you have been taught, and break a law, I will not stand in the laws way to protect you from what you have brought down upon yourself!” I pray that Christopher Lane’s family and friends are finding some solace through God’s merciful and healing powers. I can’t blame Australians or any country’s citizens fearing to travel and visit the U.S. of A., but I would also hate the fact that we are shunned because “America can’t get it’s violence under control.” Not to mention as a huge fan of free-market and capitalism opportunity advocate, the loss of revenue from a tourism boycott would be very detrimental to those citizens that built their business from the ground up, putting all their personal resources and efforts into making it a success!
Mr. President, I and so many that I know while have serious discussions with lately on the state of affairs in this nation feel a race war brewing, one that none of us want to see come to fruition. I feel that when the deaths of the Trayvon Martin’s and Hadiya Pendleton’s (both tragic and no disrespect intended) of this country are addressed, but the flip-side of teen violence is not in many cases, then people feel as if you Mr. President and those that align themselves with you politically or through friendships, particularly those that go by the title of civic/community leaders are being hypocrites. Yes I know, before someone states, it is not the President of the United States of America, a free republic, to address crimes committed in the streets of cities across the nation, but my answer to that is then please stop doing so with every gun death deemed appropriate towards addressing gun control and illegal immigrant rights. The President and his administration are so tirelessly seeking to reform one and eradicate an inanimate object used by another illegally with disregard to those that respect laws regarding firearm rights as well as the right to defend themselves.
Anytime a youth dies my heart breaks a little bit as I think of the loss to their loved ones, as it does for any senseless murder of a citizen of any age. I have shed many a tears reading the Chicago newspapers and national news stories online, but focusing on your hometown and mine, Chicago for the past several years has wrought more tears and fears for the safety of our youths from me. I am also aware of the fact that many of those murdered, are often times murdered by someone near their age, beaten by one of their peers, robbed, raped, and bullied. Yes many of those crimes too are committed by gangs, but so many are also not reported or front page headlined are by teens not in gangs. Just this past summer our city has had teens running through one of the world’s most well known tourist area for Chicago, and that was on the “magnificent mile”, Chicago’s premier location for hotels, shopping and dining. Flash mobs, massive mobs of teens that through social media pick a location, time and place to not sing and dance like flash mobs of the past, but to “wild-out” and become violent in behavior towards innocent pedestrians.
Mr. President we are approaching the holiday season very quickly in our nation, and I know that with everything that has been going on with the dismal failure of the healthcare.gov website, to the NSA spying upon Americans as well as the OOPS with the NSA caught spying on Chancellor Merkel of Germany. “Houston we have a problem” moments seem to have been compounding, so yes you are a very busy and probably just darn tired as many forget you are just a mere mortal man, made of human flesh as they are, and a man looking forward to a slight reprieve to addressing the fires that keep flaring up. I would love to be able to be thankful this year, or at the very least in the coming year Mr. President for some real solutions and honest answers to how cities like Chicago can address this problem since so many of your political party abhor and abject to the ideas of stiffer legal penalties but believe in providing more benefits, seems like it’s a reward to some to throw more money into coffers that frankly, no one really knows where it goes towards youth “reform” and recreation.
A Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis stated, “There’s something about these folks who love the kids but hate their parents” as well as “There’s something about these folks who use little black and brown children as stage props at one press conference while announcing they want to fire, layoff or lock up their parents at another press conference.” Well Mr. President, I am not one of those “rich White folks” and I don’t care if they are Black, Brown, White, Purple, Green or Orange to care about the direction our youth are headed and the violence they are so attracted to. As far as the press conference stage props, I think that ploy Mr. President has been played out even at the nation’s capital, yes I do recall many a press conference pictures and televised videos of children standing in the scene of a White person with a wealth in income that probably exceeds their own parents and many of those viewing. Thou shalt not covet nor shall thou cut their noses off to spite their face is another lesson I learned early in life.
Mr. President, as I sit down this year at the table on Thanksgiving, I will be giving thanks to those that do care about the youth of America. I will be giving thanks to those parents that everyday police their children themselves, these children unfortunately become prisoner’s sometimes to their homes with very little free-time-outside time, but at least they are safe is the mind-set of some. Sir these children that have to play indoors year round are like those where drone bombs fall upon a target but also create losses deemed civilian casualties from no wrong doing of their own, something Mr. President they didn’t foster or build. I will also be saying prayers for those that will have to face the holidays for the first time without a loved one, a loved one that didn’t die from an accident, or a disease, but a diseased in spirit yet salvageable minor soul. I pray this year for a President I will be clear to state that I didn’t vote for, but one I hope will show with full transparency some sort of response or leadership towards spearheading action for addressing the youth violence raging across this nation that is not always, let’s be clear on this fact, perpetrated without a gun.
Chicago Born, concerned citizen of Illinois, and activist towards making America right again.