A city in pain

Two year old loses life to Minneapolis violence

ThroughMyEyesnewAs we have warned, without implemented solution plans, summer would bring more violence and death. The latest is a two-year-old baby, Le’Vonte King Jason Jones, shot and killed, and his 15 month old sister, Mela Queen Melzina Jones, shot in the leg but survived.

What madness when a toddler’s life is taken because adults are acting like children playing western-style shootouts, but with real guns, real bullets, and real deaths. It is also madness when community leaders also act like those in westerns, unwilling or afraid to speak up and condemn the violence, leaving it all to police (who then get blamed).

Once again, a family is in mourning with questions but not answers. Why are those eager for violence unable to feel the tragedy of those caught in their crosshairs, crossfires and drive bys? They have become what they hate. We must remember that all life is important, whether one is two or 32, Black or White, Brown or Yellow, male or female, and yes, even blue.

Why must it be left to a journalist to warn of violence, as the outcome of this madness and neglect? Where is leadership besides seeking money for their organizations internal activities? These shootings bring us the kind of international attention no city wants.

On Monday, July 11, 2016, a group of young children from Lucy Craft Laney elementary school demonstrated unity and respect, as they marched from their school, two blocks from the scene of the tragedy, to lay flowers and to memorialize this tragic end of a child and his future.

Questions asked in our community include, “Mommy, daddy, why did Le’Vante die? Why did they shoot him? Were they mad at him?” There is a significant level of embarrassment in Black America, as we try to explain our pattern and practice of violence, death, and mayhem in our own communities.

These are tough questions, especially in a community whose leadership has not yet found the time, as of the writing of this column, to ask these questions themselves. The Good Book says, and the little children shall lead you, as the Lucy Laney students are. It is sad when we need children to help us understand the answers to our questions.

Nothing will bring back Le’Vonte. Nothing will alleviate the pain felt by his mother, grandmother, and family. Although I am a grandfather, I was at a loss for words when my grandchildren called from Houston, Texas, to ask why these shootings are happening. I felt their pain as they struggled to understand.

Leadership has talking points but no real solutions. They let people vent their feelings but do nothing in areas of greatest need: education, jobs, housing. I still cannot dismiss from my mind how a two-year-old baby’s life was cut short because of an individual who will burn in hell for taking a life and wounding yet another. When will thugs think positively of their own communities instead of bringing pain? The good news is that the MPD’s Community Response Team and Federal Oversight group (I serve on both) will be issuing a report with recommended action solutions for our communities.

It was not a good week for America, for Dallas, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and in Tennessee and Missouri. But it was the worst time possible for the Jones family and their two year old child. They should be enjoying the beauties and pleasures of summer.

Pray for peace. Pray for people of all colors. Pray for the killed and their killers. Pray for self and family. May peace reign.

Stay tuned.