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By Doshon Farad
I thought it would be best if I allowed some time to pass before I gave my perspective on the recent massacre in Newtown, CT.
First, I join the country in sending heartfelt condolences to the families of the twenty-seven people who had died in the tragedy. It’s always a rough thing to digest when innocent people, especially children, are violently killed.
My issue is this; we keep hearing so many people say that such a tragedy “wasn’t supposed to happen here.” I say, “Ok, then where?” Do you feel Harlem, Chicago, and Newark, NJ or perhaps some other inner-city would have been more suitable for such a catastrophe? How about this wasn’t supposed happen anywhere?
Even during a time of a tragedy we see racism and classism throwing its two cents into the discussion. For years there have been small children dying every day at the hands of violence in the poor urban communities of America, specifically Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Newark, N.J.– to name a few– and there has been no national outcry. This year has been a hot bed of random shootings – the most recent one being, before Newtown, the shooting rampage at the movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado by James Holmes– that has claimed mostly the lives of whites and soon after. folks were hollering about tougher gun legislation.
Inner city activists and politicians have been calling on the federal government for tougher gun laws for years while being virtually ignored. I guess when you’re poor, black and brown, your life isn’t worth much. At least that’s the message I get whenever the killings in these areas—that are comprised mostly of the groups I just mentioned—are not greeted with such national outrage.
I’m glad the president is not basing his decision to re-ignite the gun law debate on class and race. He made it very clear in his statement last week from the White House that the same kind of unregulated gun laws that resulted in the violence that took the lives of mostly innocent children in Connecticut is also proliferating the shooting deaths of many inner-city young people in his hometown of Chicago and across the country.