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Two Tragic Mistaken Identity Shootings
5/13/2015 4:10:55 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch  

Since every day is Mother’s Day for me, I will just get right down to business.  If the police are not killing black males off in record numbers, we are doing it to ourselves.  

Last week Bryant Heyward from Hollywood, the victim of a home invasion, became a victim for the second time when one of the officers shot him in the neck leaving him paralyzed.  What a travesty of justice to have the victim victimized.  After listening to the tape of the police and victim encounter at the scene, it’s still unclear to me as to the events leading up to the shooting.  It’s an unfortunate situation with a long term outcome of pain and suffering for both the police officer and the victim.  

The officers did not go to the home to kill someone.  They were responding to a 911 call to thwart a home invasion after having been informed that two men with guns were in Heyward’s home.  By the time the police arrived, the intruders were gone.  However, the police saw Heyward with a gun and mistook him for one of the home invaders.  After giving the command to drop the gun, the officer fired his weapon striking Heyward.   In a real world, accidents do happen.  
Before the dust settles from the Heyward shooting, another mistaken identity shooting occurred in North Charleston.  According to news report, a 36 year old woman, driving a Chrysler 300, was shot in the neck by a motorist that was chasing and shooting after a similar car and lost sight of it.  When the motorist saw a similar car enter onto I-26 he/she began firing into the driver’s side striking the victim.  The victim, Kedena Brown, died from her wounds.  Two victims miles apart, one paralyzed and the other dead, due to mistaken identity.
Where are the ministers? I know you exist because you were front and center when the cameras were rolling in the Scott murder.  Now that the cameras are gone so are you. Why aren’t you speaking out against Kedena Brown’s murder? The time to be seen is now.  What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?  Kedena represents anyone driving a 300 Chrysler on that fateful night.
The old proverbial African quote “it takes a village to raise a child” has fallen on deaf ears in recent years.  Where is the village?   Are y’all in your big house on the water watching your 60 inch TV?  Do you care about what is happening in your community?  The Bible says, “Where there is no vision the people perish.”  Well, let me tell you, our young people are perishing.  Young visions destroyed by a dual system that led Black children to believe they would not “amount to anything”.  

Many of the young perpetrators are the products of young parents who themselves did not have adequate parenting skills.  That is one reason why we must do a better job of educating children.  I am not casting blame solely on our educational system for the many missteps of our youths but many of the children involved in crimes are those that are uneducated or undereducated.   They come from failing schools or schools that have failed them.  Many live in or take refuge in blighted neighborhoods. They hail from the same neighborhoods that generally go unnoticed by city, county and state government when it comes to spending tax dollars for improvements.
We have got to find a way to save our young black males from street violence, drugs, prison and from themselves. If not, we are going to wake up one morning and Black males will be extinct.  We need to restore in children the same confidence, values and work ethics that successfully guided their ancestors. We can’t throw in the towel because our parents did not throw in the towel with us.
I know it is hard work raising a child but that is what you signed up for when you decided to have a child.  You remember, cute little Johnny?  Let’s stop supporting little Johnny when he is wrong.  You can’t turn your head when you find a gun in Johnny’s room.  And don’t accept money from Johnny when you know Johnny doesn’t have a job. You can’t have Johnny talking back to you and disrespecting you in your home. You have to nail it before they jail your son.

Are y’all listening.  I ain’t mad at you. 

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