This isn’t new to us anymore. Oklahoma City, New York, Boston and maybe West Texas, and Mobile, Alabama are all places where terrorists have struck right here on our own soil. And let’s not forget the poison-laced letter sent to the White House, and even though no one has officially confirmed it, the grounding of American Airlines flights for a day.That’s how terrorism is….the acts are horrible and the worry of what they might have been and the fear of what’s coming next is just as bad.
But one thing that comes to mind is how acts like the one in Boston really proves there are two Americas. There’s the part that includes me and a lot of you, the part that lives so far away from violence and police activity that there is shock and amazement at the very idea that a city could be held captive. Then there’s the other part in almost every predominantly Black city in America where living like this has become the new normal. Not to downplay the marathon bombing or its victims in any way. But that one day of terror should make people think about the way so many people of color live every day.
The kind of America that a lot of people fear is on the way — helicopters hovering overhead, curfews, metal detectors and armed security in schools, bars on the windows of homes is already here in parts of Los Angeles, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia and and the list goes on. Now that the Americans who were shocked at the possibility of being shot in their neighborhoods have gotten a taste of how many people of color live, will anything change? Probably not.
The celebration of the capture of the bomber and the great job done by law enforcement closed that chapter, until the next time. Meanwhile, drive-by shootings, armed robberies, and police corruption all keep happening in community after community, and the other America is just relieved it’s all happening on the other side of town.
Exactly one week after the marathon bombers struck in Boston, just blocks away from the president’s Chicago residence, a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed in a backyard. The mother of Cornelius German said she was waiting to pick him up on Monday night on a nearby street corner but he never arrived. Then she saw a lot of police cars race by. “I saw a police officer. He said a little kid got shot. Somehow, I knew it was my baby. I went back there. I saw my baby on the ground in the grass. I saw his gym shoes and his jacket.” Unimaginable for most, normal for too many.