More Gun Violence
As I watched Tiger Woods wrap up another major golf title, I noticed a news crawl at the bottom of the CBS broadcast. I couldn't imagine it being a whether alert, unless it had said, "It's still hot as hell!" But as I read, it was the disturbing news that 4 officers had been shot in the Johnson County town of Midlothian.
The report suggested that the shooter was still holed up in an apartment, and that the standoff continued. While flipping channels, I saw that CNN was showing live on the scene footage of the events in Midlothian. My initial thoughts were what I assumed many others reading this blog were thinking: "I wonder is he black?" The name of the suspect, Richard Miles, Jr. could go either way.
I thought back to another Sunday 4 weeks prior, where Samuel Jones led local authorities and media helicopters on a three county chase in an 18-wheeler (See my blog, Were We The Only Ones Watching). However this time shots had been fired, officers were down, and the situation seemed more urgent. Still I wondered about Richard Miles.
I read news accounts last night of Mr. Miles seeming on edge in recent weeks. He was reportedly having problems with family members and having a hard time finding a job. I reflected on recent shootings; Navy officer Kameron Pratt shot in his driveway for rims, or the shootings at Club Angel (See No Guns No Glory). And now another front page shooting.
When I saw the picture of Mr. Miles and a former girlfriend, there he stood, a young white man with an unsure grin on his face. The fact that Miles is white doesn't make the story any less sad. It doesn't make me feel any better about the four officers shot, who were just doing their job. Robert Miles fits into a category that I talk about often on this blog, and that is the focus of the book Reconnecting Disadvantaged Young Men: males 16-24 years old, unemployed, and ill prepared for a changing workforce. He's described by the former girlfriend as having a volatile temper, sometimes showing a violent streak.
Richard Miles ended the standoff by taking his own life; self-inflicted gunshot wound. Just another young life wasted. When I speak of young black men and their struggles in this country, it doesn't mean young whites or Hispanics don't have issues and concerns. And it's not to say that black men are necessarily more important. But the alarming rates at which young black males fall into these categories (poverty, homelessness, joblessness, incarceration) calls for immediate action, or the claims of genocide and extinction will come closer and closer to being a reality. Any help provided to disconnected black men, will help the plight of all young men, men like Richard Miles.