Delric Miller IV died in a hail of bullets a month ago. When someone fired 37 AK-47 rounds into his Detroit home at 4:30 a.m., he was mortally wounded while dozing on the couch. He was nine months old. No one made the multicolored teething ring he got for Christmas or his toy hammer into a national symbol of random violence.
Last year, Charinez Jefferson, 17, was shot and killed on a Chicago street. “She begged the shooter not to shoot her because she was pregnant,” a pastor explained. The alleged assailant, Timothy Jones, 18, shot her in the head, chest and back after seeing her walking with a rival gang member. New York Times columnist Charles Blow did not write a column about Jefferson’s killing as a symbol of the perils of being a young black woman in America.
Last June, a stray bullet from a confrontation on a Brighton Beach, N.Y., boardwalk killed 16-year-old Tysha Jones as she sat on a bench. A 19-year-old man, out for revenge after an earlier scuffle on the boardwalk, was charged in the shooting. Tysha’s heartbroken mother was not featured on all the national TV shows.
In January, 12-year-old Kade’jah Davis was shot and killed when, allegedly, 19-year-old Joshua Brown showed up at her Detroit house to demand the return of a cellphone from Davis’ mother. When Brown didn’t get the phone, he fired shots through the front door. No one held high-profile street protests to denounce gunplay over such trifles.
Everything about the Trayvon Martin case is a matter of contention. About this, though, there should be no doubt: If Martin had been shot by a black classmate, if he had been caught in a random crossfire, if he had looked at a gang member the wrong way, his death would have been relegated to the back pages of the local newspaper. Not a cause, not even a curiosity: Just another dead young black man. Nothing to see here. Please, move on.
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