Many of the posts for the Critical Thinker are sparked by observations I make as I am going about my day-to-day business as is the case for the post I am writing right now. I was driving on Saturday when I noticed a group of teenagers making yet another shrine with the letters R.I.P. written in spray paint or Sharpie Ink on the sheet with a space at the bottom reserved for the placement of candles. Unfortunately this is becoming or some may even say has become symbolic of the ghetto or hood. It’s just life and in these cases “death” in the hood. No big deal, just another one gone. Upon my return home I posted on Twitter that maybe if the person now being memorialized had L.I.P. (Lived in Peace) that we would not have the need to now be writing on a sheet R.I.P. In a prior post titled “Bang! Bang! You’re Dead (see August 1, 2012 post) I addressed where the gun violence issue begins (another observation while out shopping at Walmart) and in this instance we see where it all ends; a young person in the grave with the rest of his/her peers hanging up a sheet or wearing a t-shirt with R.I.P. inscribed on it. I encourage you to read the Bang! Bang! You’re Dead post to put this one in perspective; I guess this could be considered a continuation, sequel or part II.
Ironically, while driving today on my way home from Barnes and Noble I heard a radio ad that was created by the Corrections Officers’ Benevolent Association, Inc. (COBA) to address the very same gun control issue that I am writing about (Click the Hyperlink within the picture to the left or the script that follows to hear the ad). The attention captivating ad begins with the singing of the very familiar Negro spiritual "This Little Light of Mine" that is interrupted by the sound of gunfire, and then a high-pitched voice says,
"My name was Mark. I was four years old. Can you please tell my mom and dad that I'm dead? Can you ask them who killed me? My friends are up here too. Can you tell the police or a correction officer and help them catch the bad guy? Please, don't let this happen to any more of my friends. We've got to stop gun violence in this city."
After the child’svoice, we hear Norman Seabrook, president of the corrections officers union,remind us that "They're killing kids, our kids in the street and they're assaulting corrections officers every day in the jails. It's time for you to do the right thing and give these thugs up."
Since this is a radio ad, there are no visuals like in a television ad, however, if I were to use my imagination for a T.V. ad, I could see where a R.I.P sheet and candle shrine would be in the ad for four year old Mark. The questions I have for us in this post are........ Are we ever going to get tired of seeing these sheets with R.I.P inscribed with candles burning underneath? And if we are, what are we going to do? Are we ever going to realize that it is not cute nor honorable to find oneself on either end may it be the grave or the ones hanging the sheet? Are we ever going to do anything beyond talk and write? Are our parents going to step up and be parents and teach their children about the deadly dangers of guns and keep their children away from them? Are our parents ever going to teach their children the value of life and that people do not get up again after being shot like in a video game or movie? It’s great to be able to catch the bad guy but even greater to stop the bad guy from becoming a bad guy to begin with. My head continues to shake as the kids can say SMH (Shaking My Head) as I listen to ads such as COBA’s and literally watch sheets being hung alongside fences and walls with little candles being placed under them. I agree with four year old Mark in the ad “We've got to stop gun violence in this city." As always I welcome your commentary in the comment section and you can also follow The Critical Thinker on Twitter @thinkcritical01.