Now I am not letting the brothers (my former students off the hook at all) but how did we fail them? How as a society did we fail them? They were gone before they took their first steps. Gone in the sense their mother laid with their father a known thug/hoodlum and had multiple sons with him. Sons that he would not raise because he was in prison and sons she couldn't raise. Because black boys need black men to lead them. It is just easier that way. How could the personable, friendly, thoughtful boy who arranged a surprise party for me have turned into a monster? A person who could shoot down beautiful black faces in their prime? Where the fuck did he get an AK-47? See we failed him. It is too simple to paint him as a terror and remove ourselves from the equation. I can't believe that he is evil to the core. I knew that other side of him. Why do so many people in those situations live in the extreme. Either the wonderful loving boys I knew or these villains. Either the first of the month and you have food and mom is happy or the 29th and the fridge is bare and mom is on a tare. Where is the middle and how can we help them find it?
I feel like I abandoned them. My 20 something idealistic, going to change the world and take all of my people with them vanished.
And beyond them and the situation, how do I raise my son to be a man in this world. I can instill values in him and love him beyond words and his fate could be sealed by a person who had nothing to live for. It just seems so unfair. So freakin' unfair but so real.
I am rambling. I am mourning for the little boys that I knew and the men that they never will be. I am at a lost. We failed them and when we fail them, we fail ourselves.