But it’s not OK to snitch

Young black kids are killing and dying in the streets.  Gun fire echoes on quiet nights, on busy streets, in daylight — bodies fall to the ground.  Killers stand over the fallen triumphantly and pump in more and more.  Then they run away.

But it’s not OK to snitch.

Young black kids trying to get an education stay late at school to finish one final project before graduation.  We’re gonna make it, they high five each other.  Then they go home.  Only one comes back to class the next day.

But it’s not OK to snitch.

Young black kids at a birthday party.  Hanging in the front yard.  A car passes by and bullets trail after.  Blood stains on party dresses and suits.  Some don’t make it.

But it’s not OK to snitch.

Young black kid stays indoors.  Girlfriend visits, they don’t go out.  He begs a relative “Please, take me across town so that I can exercise.  I can’t walk or run or shoot hoops around here.  It’s too dangerous.”

But it’s not OK to snitch.

Young black kids not yet 20 have gone to more funerals than their parents and grandparents.  They have a drawer full of t-shirts for all those that have fallen.  They’ve bought their weight in flowers and teddy bears and candles and ballons.  Their tears could rival the Colorado.

But it’s not OK to snitch.

Young black kids screaming WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY fists smashing, gut curling, body crumbling, collapsing, rolled into a ball of lost fetal innocence.  Long faces of adults unable to soothe the pain, to say words that mean anything, to provide answers, to protect.

But it’s not OK to snitch.

In my day, fists were the biggest threat.  In my day, they told you to tell the teacher if someone hits you or threatens you.  But they also called you a sissy and a loser if you did.  So began the mixed message.  Now we have bullets flying, piercing flesh, taking lives.  Kids with PTSD, a soldier’s disease.  They are not in Kabul or Baghdad.  They are down the street, around the corner.  Their faces and words are in the paper, screams for help.

But it’s not OK to snitch.  And the killings continue.

(This post was informed by a very fine series of articles about young inner-city kids dying and coping in Oakland.  Check it.)

© 2011, gar. All rights reserved.


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