Today I was going to post something about my pre-birthday anxiety, but a phone call that I received from a friend last night changed my mind. “So are you going to blog about it?” she asked me. I wasn’t sure at the time, mostly because I didn’t know what to say. What do you say when 4 people are shot execution-style? What can you say when life is so senselessly and brutally taken away? What do you write when they were just kids planning to start a new semester at Delaware State University? Yes they were just college kids, with all the dreams, goals, desires, and challenges that those that have gone before them held. But unlike their contemporaries, they won’t have another opportunity to realize their dreams. And yet we are so accustomed, or should I say desensitized, to these disasters that we just go on apathetically. We shrug our shoulders, sigh, and go back to life as usual. We feel powerless to do anything to change the increasingly violent world that we live in.
I am of course referring to the Newark, New Jersey tragedy where three friends were forced to kneel against a wall behind an elementary school and were shot to death at close range, and a fourth was found about 30 feet away with gunshot and knife wounds to her head. The police still don’t have a motive, though they suspect it was robbery, nor do they have any suspects. Exacerbating it all, these were good kids, who, unlike many of the other homicide victims in Newark, one of the most dangerous cities in the country, had no criminal history. They were just doing what kids do, hanging out together listening to music, when they were gradually approached by a group of men. Natasha Aerial, 19, was listed in fair condition at Newark's University Hospital. Police identified her companions as her brother, Terrance Aerial, 18, Iofemi Hightower, 20, and Dashon Harvey, 20.
What are the political implications of crimes like these? Well many are criticizing Newark mayor, Cory Booker who is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Gun Coalitions, an organization dedicated to getting illegal guns off of the street. But can politicians, who often run on a platform of making our communities safer, really protect us from monsters that commit heinous crimes like these? What are the social implications? Are we to live in a world where people can’t go outside without risking their lives? Must we live in a society so devastatingly inundated with corruption that we must face every second in fear? And what about the barbaric dregs of society who orchestrated this sordid execution? How is it that they became so hardened, so evil, that they could assassinate these youth so callously? Have we as a society failed them too?
Finally what are the spiritual implications? Where is God in all of this? My guess is that he right there with the families whose hearts are probably overwhelmed with grief and anger. He’s there drying tears and encouraging them to lean on him. He’s with us as we leave for work or, run errands, or visit with friends. He’s shielding us from madness like this. He’s has his angels around us to keep those who may wish to harm us away. He has spared your life as you read this post. He has spared mine as I write.
So to answer my friend’s question, I am going to blog about it. I am going to continue to honestly discuss the issues that plague our society. I can’t sit silently. I can’t become apathetic—or at least I won’t allow myself to. So even if nobody reads my blog, or nobody wants to hear what I have to say, I feel compelled to keep right on writing and speaking—even if it does seem as futile as beating a dead horse. Tonight I pray for the families who are burying their loved ones. I pray for the condition of this sin-steeped world. I pray that those who committed this great offense are brought to justice. But not before whispering a prayer of gratitude to Him for giving me another shot a life.