As I was scrolling through blogs around the World Wide Web, I was caught off guard by one that was titled “Why Does An Honor Student’s Death Mean So Much More?” The writers blog was about the recent beating death of honor roll student Derrion Albert in Chicago. Someone taking a life always affects me emotionally. I’m even more effected when children are killed but I had to think about this author’s title because immediately in my mind I began to protest. I knew I didn’t think of Derrion’s death differently but I have to admit, that’s not true. My heart sank lower than usual when I watched that video and began hearing his background. I referenced his honor roll status when I talked about it with friends. I mourned his bright future, the places he could have gone and the goals he could have reached. As I read the title of the blog over again I began to wonder if his clean cut background played a part into why it was so highly publicized or was it the brutality of the video footage or was it both? Did I believe that the countless other senseless deaths of young kids were not as important as Derrion’s? If it was one of the thugs in the video that got killed would my heart have been so heavy? Would I have referenced his encounters with the police and affiliation with his local gang when talking about his death? “Man, did you hear the sad news about that young boy who’s a member of the Fourth Ward Disciples that dropped out of school at 15 and has been arrested for attempted murder get beat to death?”
A young persons death due to these senseless murders should be mourned all the same but I can easily see why it’s not. For the most part, we’ve written off these ‘bad kids’ as unsalvageable, unable to be rehabilitated thugs that have no real purpose in society. Why mourn the death of that? We must mourn these deaths because if we don’t then we have no desire in helping them change their ways. If we see their deaths as not really a loss, then we see their lives as not really important. Alot of these unsalvageable kids are living with hopelessness. If you have no hope then you do not care about your future or the future of anybody else.
Yes, I’m guilty for reacting differently. We need as many Derrion’s out there as we can get. I reacted differently to Derrion’s death because he had hope. Just his mere presence can possibly evoke hope in the hopeless. His honor roll status almost guaranteed another bright successful future that could have been looked up too. This country has been so dumbed down that we have made stupid sexy. We needed to see this young man succeed, he was going to succeed and all that was wiped out because of what? Absolutely nothing. This is not a Chicago issue. This is not a Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit or Boston issue. This is a human issue.
On another note, as I watched this video footage I couldn’t help but to yell at my computer as if the person holding the camera phone could hear me. “CALL THE DAMN POLICE INSTEAD OF RECORDING IT!!” What the hell is wrong with everybody? People driving by are slowing down to watch and you have someone recording it on the damn phone they can be using to get cops down there even more quickly! What kind of person is moved to watching a brutal deadly beating? We are so desensitized today. Remember the young lady during the Rodney King riots who threw her body over a trucker that was being brutally beat by rioters? What happened to those days.