When I watched the video of Alton Sterling being assassinated by two police officers, intellectually I understand the decision of Micah Johnson or Gavin Long to retaliate with violence for violence, with murder for murder. But violence & mayhem are not the answers. Violence simply begets more violence & the level continually escalates.
I often seem to be sharing my reading material with visitors here. Right now I'm reading Fist Stick Knife Gun by Geoffrey Canada.
Canada is an American educator, social activist, & author who since 1990 has been president of the Harlem Children's Zone in Harlem, New York. Harlem Children's Zone's goal is to increase high school & college graduation rates among students in Harlem. Geoff recently received the prestigious National Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, for his commitment to improving education & fighting poverty.
I am reprinting the preface…
"It was a bad summer, the summer of 1993 in New York City. Late August saw a sixteen-year-old mother accidently shot by a thirteen-year-old boy. He was trying to shoot a sixteen-year-old boy. The young mother was trying to save her baby, who was playing a few yards away. She was climbing a small fence that surrounded the playground. The bullet entered her head, killing her instantly, leaving her draped on the fence. Several days later the police arrested two other boys, both teenagers, who were accused of killing a thirteen-year-old girl. The girl was raped, cut several times with a knife, then as she lay half dead and moaning, one boy stomped on her neck, over and over. She was placed in a large box, carried to an abandoned lot, and hours later one boy came back to set the box on fire. The girls body, burned beyond recognition, was discovered by firefighters who came to put out the fire."
"Then, on August 29, a ten-year-old boy was shot. Two men had another man, their intended victim, in hand, guns out, when he broke away and ran for his life. They managed to shoot him in the thigh, also managed to shoot ten-year-old Luis Rivera in the head. The last the papers reported, Luis was in very critical condition."
"America has long had a love affair with violence and guns. It's our history, we teach it to our young. The Revolution, the 'taming of the West', the Civil War, the World Wars, and on and on. Guns, justice, righteousness, freedom, liberty---all tied to violence. Even when we try to teach about non-violence, we have to use the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., killed by the violent. I'm sorry, America, but once you get past the rhetoric what we really learn is that might does make right. Poor people have just never had any might. But they want it. Oh, how they want it."
"It is because most people in this country don't have to think about their personal safety every day that our society is still complacent about the violence that is engulfing our cities and towns. What if I were to tell you that we are approaching one of the most dangerous periods of our history since the Civil War? Rising unemployment, shifting economic priorities, hundreds of thousands of people growing up poor and with no chance of employment, never having a legal job. A whole generation who serve no useful role in America now and see no hope of a future role for themselves. A new generation, the handgun generation. Growing up under the conditions of war. War as a child, war as an adolescent, war as an adult. War never ending."
"Not like Vietnam, where Americans, if they survived, came home. The war today is home. There is not even the hope of getting out. You just survive. Day by day, hour by hour. Year after year after year."
"For the handgun generation there is no post-traumatic syndrome because there is no 'post'. We need a new term to describe what happens to people who never get out from under war conditions, maybe 'continuing traumatic stress syndrome'…The next generation might be called the Uzi generation because of their penchant for automatic weapons. These children, armed better than the police, are growing up as violent if not more so than the handgun generation.”
"And what about the police? The lesson is straight forward and clear. The police don't care. Like many others trapped in the ghettos of this country, I have learned that the police are not the answer when trouble come to your door."
"And the gun manufacturers in their greed continue to pump more and more guns into our already saturated lives."
"Some may think that violence is new, but it's not. Violence has always been around, usually concentrated amongst the poor. The difference is that we never had so many guns in our inner cities. The nature of the violent act has changed from fist, stick, and knife to the gun. But violence. I remember."
preface – Fist Stick Knife Gun by Geoffrey Canada
Gun Club – Divinity 2x12” EP, New Rose Records ROSE262, 1991.
decryption code in comments
decryption code in comments
Side A –
Side B –
Keys to the Kingdom
Side C –
Side D –
Fire of Love