Only one week has passed since the mass shooting occurred at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Only one week has passed and we have already moved on to the next episode. Our prayers and well wishes only mingle with the pollutants in the air. A politician’s condolences have become little more than “sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal” altogether “signifying absolutely nothing.” Many politicians or elected leaders have stepped forward with solemn symbols of their faith. However, as the Bible reminds us “Faith without works is dead.” I do not need to hear pseudo empathy. I need to hear that a concerted effort is underway to right the wrong laissez-faire gun laws. America’s very future depends on such action. I say this because children are truly our future. However, in America, we eat our children. We sear them and serve them rare. We even offer them up on our sushi.
What do the following names have in common: Newton, Connecticut; Sutherland Springs, Texas; Ferguson, Missouri; Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois, Sanford, Florida; and Jacksonville, Florida? All these places have emerging narratives of the slaughter of children ranging in age from eighteen months to seventeen years old. In each case there was news of a shooting. In each case, the aftermath yielded nothing. In Newtown, children were slaughtered in an elementary school. Condolences were expressed, but no laws changed. Politicians and elected officials hid behind processes in order to do nothing. Congress could not even pass simple gun control legislation. Some of the children slaughtered were gunned down at the hands of authorities in uniform. Tamir Rice in Cleveland comes to mind. He was a twelve year old playing with a toy gun. Trayvon Martin was hunted down and killed by George Zimmerman. The age difference in this case between the victim and the shooter are similar between the age difference between the Alabama Senate candidate and his female accuser. Just listen to Republicans as they drag the female accuser’s name through the proverbial mud. They are retrospectively slaughtering the image of a fourteen-year-old girl while offering no apologies. Yet, they want us to believe they are the guardians of family values.
Tupac Shakur once stated “If you say there is no hope for the children, then there is no hope for the future.” If America continues to rob our future by slaughtering the children, then America has no future. Congress, led by Republicans, even allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program to expire. This program benefits nine million children nationwide. Let us examine the logic of this situation. Children are slaughtered in churches and schools, but Congress does nothing. Instead of passing laws to protect them from wanton gun violence, our nation condones taking away their health care. What kind of nation exercises such logic as it pertains to its children? What type of nation exercises such logic as it pertains to its future? This question is significant because we know America can do better. We constantly boast of America’s greatness. It is not lost on the populace that America is one of the wealthiest nations on earth. We are reminded of the great wars that we have fought and won. We are reminded of our great humanitarian efforts around the globe. All this greatness is for naught because this nation refuses to care for and protect its children.
Anthony Neal earned his Ph.D. in political science at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). Dr. Neal is an associate professor at State University College, Buffalo. The author of numerous book reviews and journal articles, he has had his work published in the Western Journal of Black Studies, the Journal of Black Studies, and Black Issues in Higher Education. In 2014 Dr. Neal received the university’s Faculty Appreciation Award, was named Instructor of the Year by the university’s United Student Government, and Professor of the Year by the Student Political Society in the Department of Political Science. In 2015, he published The American Political Narrative which is a succinct yet poignant narrative about the development of the American political system and what is needed to maintain it. In 2016, he will publish a book of poetry entitled “Love Agnostic | from 9/11 to Charleston”