- Posted September 8, 2013 by
Brooklyn, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
1 yr old killed- An American Tragedy!
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
Last week 1 year old Antiq Hennis was brutally gunned down in Brownsville Brooklyn, NY as he was being pushed in a stroller. The tragic and senseless death of this innocent child has provoked outrage and sadness in a community that is all too familiar with such acts of violence. Community leaders held a peace march in protest of this kind of inner city violence on Saturday which for all its good intentions will not serve to curtail such killings without a drastic shift in thoughts and attitudes of the population, in conjunction with acts of civic engagement.
Brownsville is a microcosm of a national tragedy; which is the systematic self-imposed genocide of American inner city youth. The fact is that violence is so pervasive in Brownsville and anti-violence marches so common place they are seen as little more than par for the course with respect to a violent shooting. It can be argued that Brownsville is a “ghetto” in the literal Warsaw (WW2 Poland) sense of the term in that: its conditions appear constructed and deliberate; escape from the area is rare to non-existent, and a person being killed (while provoking outrage) is not uncommon. The only difference is that in Warsaw the walls keeping people in were visible, in Brownsville the walls of confinement are largely socioeconomic; moreover, the genocide of the population is not the result of an outside occupying force, but is instead self-imposed via the prevalence and normalization of: drugs, guns, and gangs.
One may be prompted to ask: How are the conditions of Brownsville and its population constructed and deliberate? Consider that Brownsville is a relatively small area of Brooklyn and yet it has one of the highest concentration of low income public housing in all of New York City; in addition, it has one of the highest concentrations of homeless shelters in the city (which house destitute individuals and families from all five boroughs). When one consider that fact, it appears that (at least to the powers that be) Brownsville has become little more than a confined area to house those persons that other areas of the city are unwilling to house; as such, one could hardly claim that the creation of the population’s social conditions are anything else, but deliberate and constructed.
Outside influences notwithstanding the perpetual violence of Brownsville will not end with a peace march (history has proven that much). What needs to occur is a fundamental shift in social attitudes and norms of the population. Violence needs to be regarded as something to be avoided at all levels, and not as a means of legitimate justice. The so called “blame game” with respect to the social conditions of the people needs to stop being played by those most adversely affected by these conditions, and an attitude of self-reliance and grass roots regulation needs to be embraced. Education needs to be emphasized both as a means of social mobility, and as a means of facilitating individual growth and understanding. Lastly, the family unit needs to be made a priority. For too long the family unit has been systematically deconstructed in Brownsville. The reasons for this are far too complex to discuss here, but it would not be unreasonable to state that a strong family foundation is the root of domestic stability, which serves the interests of the children of said family.
If the people of Brownsville and the inner-city adopt these attitudes toward their present conditions; as well as become more civically engaged then we as a people will begin to see an end to this horrifying American tragedy that is claiming the lives of far too many of our youth. Consider that in the wake of poor Antiq’s death that his own father was reluctant to assist law enforcement, and that the shooter that killed the boy was fully aware that his intended target (the boy’s father) was with a child in the kill zone, and yet still chose to open fire. These two facts speak volumes about the pressing need for profound ideological change in Brownsville or I fear this brutal form of violence will continue to rule our streets.