By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
When is it necessary to reopen old wounds and re-visit things that have been destructive and are causing a malignant divide in our communities?
Langston Hughes asked a pivotal question in one of his most brilliant poems: What happens to a dream deferred? I do believe that the last question in this poem surmises what to expect when all the other interrogations are fully examined.
I do believe that for us to move forward in determining a course of action that is needed for an honest dialogue concerning the questionable treatment of our Black school superintendent and board representative, we need to go back and scrutinize that which was not presented equally.
To try and overshadow the death of anybody with political upheaval is adversarial to grieving family members. A country ran by a lunatic and a society disenfranchised by government and school board officials who use this platform to get elected and use grief as a vendetta to try and punish is a recipe for disaster.
For those who do not know certain circumstances surrounding Nikolas Cruz, the disturbed teen who murdered 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, should know that he demonstrated enough eccentric behaviors to warn authorities, meriting strict observation.
The system missed, overlooked or ignored several indicators that Cruz had a plethora of issues. Some of the students referred to him as a ‘loner’ while some of the members of the JROTC called him ‘wolf’’. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, a former JROTC cadet told The Associated Press that Cruz was a member of a small varsity marksmanship team that trained together after class and traveled to other area schools to compete.
It was a close-knit group. One of the other cadets started calling Cruz “Wolf,” and the nickname stuck.
“He was a very good shot,” said Aaron Diener, 20, who gave Cruz a ride to shooting competitions when they were part of the same four-member team in 2016. “He had an AR-15 he talked about and pistols he had shot. … He would tell us, ‘Oh, it was so fun to shoot this rifle,’ or ‘It was so fun to shoot that.’ It seemed almost therapeutic to him, the way he spoke about it.”
Cruz had been expelled for ‘fighting over his ex-girlfriend’,
‘Nikolas Cruz’ can be seen on YouTube declaring his desire to be a ‘professional school shooter,’ posting photos to his public social media account which showed an arsenal of weapons, including semi-automatic guns. All of this was before the massacre at MSD!
Cruz, known to have mental health issues, had threaten to harm to his family members, coupled with school expulsions, still was not on the FBI’s radar.
An above average shooter, Cruz outperformed the other cadets in an air-rifle marksmanship program backed by a grant from the National Rifle Association Foundation.
How is it that Black school board members can receive the brunt of assaults aimed at those who cause this tragedy to happen?
It wasn’t Superintendent Robert Runcie or Dr. Rosalind Osgood who fed the appetite of Cruz to hone his skills at shooting guns? It was Runcie or Osgood who overlooked his Social Media platforms that highlighted his messages of becoming immortal prior to his killing spree. It wasn’t Runcie or Osgood who dressed Cruz in his maroon shirt with the logo from the Army JROTC program at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when he was arrested soon after the shooting.
As a matter of fact, as far as anyone knows, Cruz acted alone without the HELP of anyone, and I say that figuratively-without the help from anyone! There is enough blame to be shared by all those who knew that Cruz was a damaged child from the abuse caused by physical neglect and dependency.
No other superintendent or school board mem-ber has ever been asked to resign or step down after any school shooting in this country. I do not say this lightly and without a heart that bleeds for those whose lives were taken and those who are left here with the scars of death that won’t easily heal. The scabs are still tender and the hurt pains like a wanting never to be filled.
Yet, who is asked to pay the price of such a tormented soul for which there is no amount of value and penalty that could be paid for the cost of a life.
So why now? Could it be, because the accused accomplices are Black and those that are bringing charges are rich well- to- do white people or because the locale of the grounds of the killing floor is in Parkland and the others represent the intercity where Black lives are lost every day to gun violence and there seems to be no songs for them.
It pains me to say this because I know there are those who wish that some questions would never be asked, and that the answers don’t cut as deep as the death of children, and yet we need to face our fears and deal with the truths as raw and as bare as they may be.
No one wants to send their family members to school or away from their homes, never to see them alive again, and no wants to be accused of that crime, the ones associated with the killings unknowingly as if they were accused of being accomplices in the execution of the crime.
To the powers that be and those who sit in the seat of malcontent, be careful about how you push for control and the methods used in rectifying or trying to fix a problem that is not the issue.
Our hearts bleed for the lost, our prayers are for the living and forgiveness is to be for everyone.
A Dream Deferred
by Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?