By Plemon T. El-Amin
What sense can any of us make of the double murder and mayhem that followed the funeral services of a homicide victimas mourners exited a local church?
All the victims were young, black and supposedly streetwise, but what sense does it make?
Certainly, there are social, economic, historical, psychological and a myriad of other factors that undergird the insanity, but still:
What sense does it make? Is there no limit? Is there any place or time or situation that is off-limits to the violence of guns, tempers, grudges, hates, hurts and stupidity? For some obviously not.
And why not?
One aspect, I’m certain, is that street life, for too many of our young boys and men, has imposed upon them a prideful acceptance of an early death. Ask any young person who is enthralled and occupied by the terrains and codes of crews, boys or posses: “How long do you expect to live?”
Most will respond without hesitation or regret: “I’ll be dead before I’m 25.” They can be any age.
But if they are young, black and really into the streets, 25 is their maximum expectation. That’s sad, often self-fulfilling and it gets worse.
For someone who expects to die a violent death within the next two to eight years, killing someone is always an option. In some warped perspectives, it’s an obligation. Kill or be killed.
The possession of extreme firepower and the pressure to posture and uphold the ruthless image and group allegiances magnifies and intensifies the violence and abuse. In my opinion, though, it is the wholehearted acceptance that life ends at 25 years of age, like Tupac, Biggie and so many others, that gives so-called logic to the madness.
So what can we do?
Spiritually speaking, we can appeal to the minds and souls of these young boys and men, move them to consider that there is life beyond death. That each and everyone of us is held accountable for how we chose to live here. That we reap the benefits of our good and the detriment of our wrong in the next life.
If that perspective is not within your beliefs or comfort zone, then let’s all agree to do this: Challenge their dead-end mindset with concern, alternatives, education, training, real jobs and opportunities, mentoring, vision, hope and a compelling compassion that can convince them that there is life beyond 25.
Abundant life awaits, if they only knew and if we only care.
Iman Plemon T. El-Amin is a member of Higher Ground, four faith leaders who address issues in the Atlanta area.