In the wake of countless mass killings at local schools and universities, a phenomenon that has taken on the characteristics of a runaway train, more and more communities are melding their collective voices and shaking their collective shocked and outraged fists at local, state and federal politicians. Unfortunately, that runaway train has gathered a head of its own steam and sadly, some of the stops it makes are stops that a great many people in this country do not want to see removed from the train’s schedule. Take for instance the more than 500 murders that occurred in Chicago in 2012, where was the shock and outrage for those children? Who raised their collective fists and voices other than those affected by those tragedies? Where were the advocates for the traffic-light that might have saved Hadiya Pendleton, the 15 year-old honor student and band majorette at Kings College Prep School in Chicago who died after a gunman shot her at a park just a week after she performed in President Barack Obama’s inauguration. From the looks of things, shock and outrage does not rear their collective heads until the train makes a stop in neighborhoods that really matter.
This past Tuesday would have been Trayvon Martin’s eighteenth birthday. However, as we all know Trayvon had his life taken by that overzealous wannabe sheriff, George Zimmerman last year. Zimmerman, whose right to supposedly stand-his-ground and kill a defenseless unarmed teenager is being defended by an outraged NRA shaking their collective fists, is being challenged by those who finally had the train stop in their neighborhoods and are shaking their collective fists right back at the NRA. In Detroit this past Wednesday, a 70-year-old high school basketball coach shot and killed one teenager and wounded a second as they attempted to rob him outside the school. This incident will no doubt be used to fuel the gun advocates’ claims that all law abiding citizens be armed if they choose to be.
Part one of this series began by me describing the results of a learned behavioral experiment using apes in a cage. I then went on to substitute and relate the behavior of the apes to that of inner-city children, only for purposes of point, not physical characteristics. This metaphorical use of traffic-lights and the silence of the voices who witnessed the behavioral patterns of those in their communities, knowing that sooner or later something bad was bound to happen, yet said nothing, is much the same as those who never warned the children in part one of this series. It is only after the fact that people raise their collective voices and shake their collective fists. First, the shock and outrage only extends to those affected locally, no attention paid to communities affected beyond. Moreover, while the ear is pricked by the sound of the train’s warning whistle and we raise our heads to try and see from which direction the train comes, we ignore it if makes its stop somewhere else. We do not realize that our ignorance and lack of compassion for others only fuels the fire that steams the engine of that runaway train headed right for our hometown depot. However when it makes its stop, this time the collectively raised fists and the collectively raised voices are accompanied by collectively shed tears.
~~~ Jay Arrington (EMAIL)
Maryland Daily Examiner
See more at: http://www.marylanddailyexaminer.com/the-real-ape-story-part-ii-the-traffic-light-syndrome/#sthash.bbLPLA1Z.dpuf