“There’s a war going on outside no man is safe from” are the famous words of the song “Survival of the Fittest” by Mobb Deep.

Summer is wrapping up, the economy is still bad, jobs are difficult to come by, natural disasters are abundant, people are panicking—it all seems like the plot of a movie about the end of the world as we know it.  No need to check your local theater to see when it’s playing.  just tune in to CNN, FOX or NBC at noon, five or ten.  You are sure to get your fill of destruction and drama, with updates every hour on the hour.

And locally, there is a familiar stench in the air.  Kids are killing each other.  The streets are their battlefield, so the summer breeze brings with it the scent of death.  Many of us have made up our minds that our towns are really just THAT bad now, that there is no hope, that THESE kids are just THAT crazy!  Many of us have forgotten that these are OUR kids.  Many of us have forgotten that “it takes a village…” and settled on “as long as it’s not mine…” and this is the primary problem.  We are all sitting around with the attitude “as long as it’s not someone I know, a family member of mine, someone I deal with regularly being affected, it’s not much of an issue.  Let’s leave it to Cease Fire or the police….”  This is flawed thinking.  If it is happening in OUR community, then it directly affects each and every one of US.

We are fostering the idea that murder is acceptable…or at least tolerable.  We are harboring criminals…so long as they don’t commit a crime against us.  We are teaching our kids to sit idly by…or, worse, teaching them some crimes, murder included, merit no punishment when committed where we live.  We have to be PROactive, not REactive…thinking someone else is going to come into OUR neighborhoods and help US is absurd! Why would they? What incentives do they have to do that? And those of us who desire change, while seeming to be few in number, are actually the majority. It’s time for more commUNITY! Malcolm X said “You’re living in a time of extremism–a time of revolution…people in power have misused it, and now there has to be a change and a better world has to be built, and the only way it’s going to be built is with extreme methods. And I for one will join in with anyone, I don’t care what color you are, as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth.”

I’m honestly tired of fingers being pointed. Tired of funerals. Tired of hearing a kid died. Tired of knowing a kid killed him. We aren’t raising “tough” kids; we are giving their lives away. If the police won’t do something, SOMEBODY has to.
If we want freedom, employment, to not be oppressed by capitalism, decent housing, decent education, health care, no police brutality, ceasing of wars of aggression, equality in prosecution, land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, peace and control of modern technology—all of which are (generally) what the Black Panthers were calling for with their Ten Point Program, I’m wondering if we are willing to go to the lengths they went to organize and ACT on these things to make them available in their communities.  Decatur, Springfield, Champaign—Central Illinois in general—seems to be the battlefield Mobb Deep is describing in “Survival of the Fittest”…If there truly is “…a war going on outside” then who are we going to depend on to fight on our behalf?  Even more, who are we fighting this war against?  Most importantly, what part are YOU going to play in making it end?

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A.D. Carson


I'm just a little south of the Windy City...