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JUST STOP KILLING EACH OTHER

dallas

A PLEA FROM NBA BROADCASTER DAVID ALDRIDGE

What’s on my mind, asks Facebook.

Well…

Something simple, really. I would just like us to stop killing each other. That’s all.

We don’t have to love each other, or live with one another, or go to school together, or get married, or share a ride to work, or eat out on Fridays. We don’t have to go to the same church, or root for the same teams, and our kids don’t have to have play dates together. I don’t have to support your political candidates, and you don’t have to support mine. We don’t have to believe in the same God, or any God, and we don’t have to watch the same TV shows, and you don’t have to like my music, and I don’t have to like yours.

I would just like us to stop killing each other.

The anger in this country is choking us, slowly, like a mutant weed, and it permeates everywhere. I’m a black man, and I am doing better than 99 percent of all black men who’ve ever walked this planet. I’m good. And I’m scared that the next time I’m stopped in my car–for there is always a “next time” for us–a cop is going to look at my skin and pull out his or her gun, and kill me, because they’re scared and they’ve been trained, through history and regulation, to view me as a threat. And I’m terrified that when my two boys get old enough to drive, the same thing could happen to either of them. That makes me angry. When people say “Black Lives Matter,” you know what they’re talking about. Don’t insult me or them by replying “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter.” I know that white people are killed by police, too. But the chance of me or my kids getting shot is a lot higher than the chance of you or your kids getting shot.

I would just like us to stop killing each other.

I saw a video of a police officer in Cleveland, who was crying and upset about the shooting in Louisiana. She was a cop who grew up in the ‘hood, as she said, but stayed in the ‘hood and worked there because she wanted to do good for her community and her people as a black woman. And while she was justifiably angry with the cops who have a “God complex,” as she put it, she also was crying because so many teenage boys of color were shooting and killing each other in her city. Yes, black people know all too well that our young men are shooting one another at an alarming rate, in Cleveland and Chicago and D.C. and communities you don’t know or read about. You don’t have to tell us. We know, because those are our sons and brothers and fathers we’re putting in the ground. And we know that there are lots of reasons that our kids are shooting each other–some our fault, some not. And we decry and protest those killings, every day. That you are not paying attention when we do is not our problem. Some of my black brothers and sisters will say I’m blaming our kids or that I’m a sellout, Uncle Tom, whatever. You can’t do or say anything to me that I haven’t already done or said to myself. I believe I’ve helped some young people see a different path and future, but I think I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded, because my young brothers keep shooting one another. But you’ve failed, too. If calling me out of my name gives you comfort, so be it.

I would just like us to stop killing each other.

A lot of white folks are angry, too. They seem to believe that their country has been taken from them, and they want to take it back. I am not sure who they believe is currently in possession of said country, given the complete lack of wealth in communities of color, and given that women are still paid less than men are at just about every job. But that anger is real and I do not dismiss it or belittle it, for it comes back at me, and my family. I would just like them to understand that, whatever has happened to them or their families, it’s not because black and brown people have taken your jobs or your homes or your money. Trust me. We don’t have them.

I would just like us to stop killing each other.

People of faith are angry, because they often believe their faith is twisted and misconstrued and belittled, and because there is a small but potent minority of people in this world who besmirch that faith and hide behind it to commit monstrous acts, in the name of the truly holy. I do not believe terrorists who kill Muslims during Ramadan represent Islam. (The vast majority of people killed by Al Queda and other terrorist groups that say they represent Muslims are other Muslims. That is almost never mentioned.) I do not believe that that young man who walked into Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and murdered those people in cold blood represents all Christians. And the people that killed those cops in Dallas do not represent me. I do not want white police officers killed any more than I wanted Sandra Bland or Philandro Castile or Eric Garner or Michael Brown or Alton Sterling or Amadou Diallo or Sean Bell killed.

I would just like us to stop killing each other.

We are all getting played, by an arms industry that has turned inward, and convinces us, through its financial backing of its cowardly elected officials, that we all have to have guns to feel safe. And so we all buy weapons that were designed for fighting in war, and bring them into our homes and communities. And the arms industry–whose only goal is to sell more arms–happily provides the police and the compensating and the insane and anyone else who has the money access to whatever rapidly firing munition that can slaughter dozens of people in a matter of seconds that they want. Do not come to me with your technical distinctions without a difference about “semi-automatic” versus “automatic.” You know these guns are not designed to shoot deer, or skeet. They’re designed to kill people, efficiently and quickly. And just about anyone with a pulse can get one.

I would just like us to stop killing each other.

I know who my friends are, and I love them, and they love me. Please feel free to unfollow, or unfriend, if you like. I just can’t take this anymore. I don’t want my children, or yours, to grow up in a world like this.

I would just like us to stop killing each other.

“There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.”

–W.H. Auden, September 1, 1939

About Ed

Ed is one half of the Sports Brothers. He has been in the radio industry for 14 years working in several formats including urban and talk. Upon returning to Miami in 2006 and working at WTPS, he and Jeff Fox were paired up and started The Sports Brothers.