For the last couple of months in Miami-Dade’s inner cities, young people have been dying or shot with such regularity that it makes me feel the battle is being lost.
Residents are in perpetual fear because gunfire, police helicopters and sirens are realities of daily living. Parents are more inclined to keep their children at home rather than have them play at a park for fear of some impending gang-turf shootout. It has become commonplace to drive by a street in my community and see yellow tape several police units, a crime-scene investigative team collecting evidence and another young black body on the ground.
I started a list of the young black men who are dead as a result of recent street violence, my count is 10. I predict by December, given the trend, my list will grow to around 30.
Often, I hear how no one cares about troubled, young black men. That is the biggest lie ever told. Teachers, coaches, mentors, juvenile counselors, case managers and I spend most of our time trying to speak wisdom to young black men who are working hard at being nothing. I’ve asked them on several occasions if there’s anyone they know winning in the streets. Of course, their reply is “No.”
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These young men who are killing other young men have stopped putting forth any effort to succeed. Poverty and lack of family structure are not excuses for their actions. I tell all of them that life is about choices. Those who listen and internalize that lesson are better for it. Those who don’t will suffer the consequences.
So here we are in chaos that doesn’t appear to be lessening in the foreseeable future. Young black men continue to wage war on each other while rejecting all efforts to change their lives for the better.
It’s time for law enforcement and the community to step up their level of engagement.
We have to take back what is being quickly taken from us — our sense of safety and freedom.
Robert Malone Jr., Miami