No Country for Young Black Men


Another one gone too soon.

I’m not ashamed to say I live on The Huffington Post. It is there I satisfy my addiction for nearly everything newsy. So when I first ran across yet another story about the shooting of an African American teenager, who for all intent and purpose was minding his own business, it hurt to the core. Once I was over the hurt the anger rolled in like a thick swirling fog, obscuring my thoughts to the point I couldn’t form a coherent sentence in order to comment.

So incensed was I it took nearly an hour to respond to the first article. The article was accompanied by a video with the perpetrator’s daughter and lawyer’s take on the situation. My response was as follow: “Now that bullying has been brought to the forefront of our national consciousness, the deliberate killing of African American boys by grown men who then turn around and invoke this insane ‘stand your ground’ law must gain equal if not more traction in the media. Two young men killed while doing nothing more than minding their own business is two too many. This growing trend must be nipped in the bud before more black teens are gunned down for simply existing by ‘nice’ white men. A foundation is a good start but more must be done before young AA boys end up on the endangered species list.”

Another commenter, describing himself as a young black male, opined there was no greater country in the world in which a black man could enrich himself. He went on to say he’d been discriminated against many times. Black folk, he suggested, should suck it up and not use the incidence as another stumbling block toward personal success. He was responding to another article, this one by Melissa Harris-Perry in which she suggested this country is no place for young black men.

Melissa cited Emmett Till’s death back in the 1950s to make the point that over the passage of American history nothing much has changed: “No presumption of innocence for young black men, no benefit of the doubt. Guilt not determined by what they did or said but presumed to be inherent in their very being. They need not wield a weapon to pose a threat because if you are a young black man, you are threat enough.”

Someone commented the boys should’ve just turned their music down instead of ‘lipping off’. Then went on to say boys like that tend to ‘lip off’ especially when a bunch of them are together. Now these boys were at a gas station minding their own business when the perpetrator drove up and insisted they turn their music down. Allegedly words were exchanged and then the shooting started.

Jordan Russell Davis, who was sitting in the back seat, was shot and killed. Even if the kids had “lipped off” should they’ve been shot dead for it? If that’s the case, many teenagers of all races and economic backgrounds are as good as dead. I mean just think about it for a moment. Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin could’ve been your son, grandson, nephew, cousin, etc. One hanging out listening to music, the other headed home with an iced-t drink and skittles, both minding his own business.

I called on Socrates, who drank his own death and never wrote a damn thing down, when I commented on Melissa’s story: “I remember a time when unruly skateboarders downtown and around businesses used to be a real problem. However, instead of opening fire on these mostly white youth, some cities opened parks specifically for skaters. I believe skateboarding is now considered an Olympic sport. Replace the white youth with black and God only knows how many would’ve ended up in jail or worst. Just one example of youthful indiscretion and tolerance applied to one race while yet another is subjected to intolerance and labeled thugs. By the way loud music isn’t restricted to young black boys. It’s doubtful the tolerance will be there when fools with guns start killing suburban white children. IMHO Melissa is spot on in her assessment.”

The lives of these teenagers unnecessarily cut short, leaving behind grief-stricken parents who never saw it coming. Parents asking why and praying that there is justice for their sons. All the while these two cowards with a gun are attempting to hide behind Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law. A law already proven to make no sense and would offer cover to the likes of George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn if it is to be allowed if and when the cases are prosecuted.

As I pondered the fate of young black men in this country and wrung my hands in frustration over their seeming plight, the letter below appeared in my inbox:

Dear Mary,

It happened again.  Last week, an unarmed African-American teenager was shot and killed in Florida by a person claiming self-defense because he “felt threatened.”

Seventeen-year-old Jordan Russell Davis and three of his friends were listening to music in their car parked outside a convenience store in Jacksonville, Florida.  Michael Dunn pulled up next to them and asked the group of teens to turn down the music.

We don’t know exactly what happened next.  A confrontation ensued, and 45-year-old Dunn allegedly took out a gun and shot eight or nine times into the teenagers’ car.  Dunn’s attorney has claimed that the teenagers had a shotgun in the car, but Jacksonville police said no weapon was found in the car.

What we do know is that Jordan was shot and killed.

And we know that Dunn, who was arrested and charged with murder, has pled not guilty on the grounds that he acted in justifiable self-defense as defined by Florida’s controversial “Shoot First” law.

Everyday arguments should not turn into armed conflicts in which teenagers are killed — and for which killers can go unpunished.  Tell the Florida Legislature that the Shoot First law must be repealed or substantially reformed.

As Lt. Rob Schoonover of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said, Jordan’s friends admitted their music was loud, “but, I mean that’s not a reason for someone to open fire on them.”

Jordan was killed less than two weeks after the Florida Governor’s Task Force reviewing the state’s Shoot First law issued its report to the legislature.  The Task Force ignored the dangerous effects of the law and recommended only minor changes to the statute.

If we let the Task Force’s recommendations stand as the final word, we’ll only see more senseless violence and more innocent teenagers shot to death.

Tell Florida legislators to make real reforms to the Shoot First law that will prevent needless deaths.

Let’s act now and make sure no one can use this dangerous law to escape responsibility for gunning people down.


Ginny Simmons

Director, Second Chance Campaign


Parents Save Your Children From Honey Boo Boo and Type 2 Diabetes

The other day as I watched Honey Boo Boo slurp down spaghetti and eat cupcakes on some show or other I nearly threw the remote at the tv. Not just because I hate seeing a child exploited to satisfy our insatiable desire for train wreck entertainment, but also because Honey Boo Boo and Mama June are both overweight. It’s embarrassingly obvious The Learning Channel’s (TLC) latest breakout hit show’s popularity stem mostly from mother and daughter physical attribute.

It was pointed out the two were at a fancy restaurant. After the meal, perhaps before too, I didn’t see the whole thing, Alana signed autographs for other little kids who apparently look up to her. I don’t have a problem with Honey Boo Boo being a role model. What I hate is obviously no one cares about the child’s diet. The mother admits to giving her “Go Go Juice”, a potent elixir of Red Bull and Mountain Dew that supposedly contains as much caffeine as two cups of coffee, to get her pumped up for pageants.

Normally I’m of the opinion parents should be their children’s role model. However, speaking from the perspective of a Type 2 Diabetic, and knowing that childhood obesity is fast becoming an epidemic in these United States of America, TLC’s offering of Honey Boo Boo only perpetuates the problem.

It is a highly recognized fact that obesity is linked to Type 2 Diabetes, hence the reason it’s often referred to as ‘adult on-set diabetes’. People tend to exercise less as they grow older. The weight gain and other mitigating factors eventually cause the chronic disease to manifest later in life. Believe me I know from whence I speak.

Now days due to a high carb high fat content diet, often accompanied by a sugary beverage, and plain old lack of exercise, Type 2 Diabetes has become more prevalent in children. Type 1 Diabetes, something a child could be born with is one thing, Type 2, is a totally avoidable boo boo.

To make matters worse, recent studies are finding the disease is much harder to treat in children. Often their bodies quit responding to oral medication. Then if it hasn’t already, the big gun, insulin, enters the scene. Make no mistake, diabetes is chronic and must be managed. Type 2 diabetics of the mind they only had a ‘lil taste of sugar’ have suffered the consequences of their naïveté.

Health issues ranging from heart disease, eye problems, nerve damage, amputations, high blood pressure and kidney failure have schooled many a naïve diabetic the hard way. The longer a person has the disease, the greater the risk. So theoretically, people who develop diabetes as children may suffer its complications much earlier in life than previous generations who became diabetic as adults. The thought of children suffering such ailments earlier in life is sobering indeed.

A lot of folks are of the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ school of thought when it comes to diabetes. Not me. Knowledge is power. If someone had sat me down and had given me the cold, hard facts, I would’ve fought harder to avoid getting diabetes in the first place. As disease goes, diabetes is chronic – I know chronic sounds so doomsdayish – but diabetes is controllable.

While Honey Boo Boo chugs ‘go-go juice’, sucks down garbs of spaghetti, and eats cupcakes, parents realize you and not TLC must be a positive guiding force for your children. Type 2 diabetes in children is an avoidable boo boo. Encourage children to eat healthy foods, get plenty of physical activity and maintain a healthy weight.

U.S. Bank to Take Family’s Farm No Matter What

U.S. Bank versus Gearing Family


This is just one example of the thanks many ordinary Americans have gotten from the banks after banding together to bail out the wall street shysters. Remember back in ’08 when our great leaders told us allowing certain banks to go belly up would plunge us into a depression the likes of which we’d never known. Who could forget? After all, the message was just that dire. Fearing a great financial plague befalling our great nation, even though it made us throw up just a little in our mouth, we kept those Whores of Babylon from tumbling into the dark abyss.

Well, lo and behold, it was but a short walk to the gallows. In other words, it didn’t take long for financially stricken ‘regular folk’ to learn the favor would not be reciprocated. In fact while the rich one percent grew and continue to grow in largess from the American public’s generosity, people like the Gearing hit a brick wall of indifference when it comes to their own personal bailout. According to Jeannette Gearing, the family’s matriarch, the family’s home is in foreclosure. Even though the Gearing’s now have the money to buy their farm outright, come November the bank still plan to evict them. Apparently, the banks have regulations and rules when they apply to others. Not so much for themselves. Nor do they want them. In the end ‘the little people’ and their suffering is simply collateral damage at the expense of those considered too big to fail.

As in all things, there are usually two or three sides to a story. I usually side with the underdog so I’m opting to give the Gearing family the benefit of the doubt by joining my voice to the 100,000+ who’ve already signed the petition.We can bring about change if we, ‘the little people’, work together. We are only going to get more of the same if we remain divided. Something tells me that top one percent wouldn’t mind that one bit. Please read Jeannette Gearing’s heartfelt letter below:


After my husband’s business went under, it broke my heart when we couldn’t pay the mortgage on our family farm, where we’ve lived for nineteen years and where my seven children grew up.

But we turned things around — we’ve pulled together the money we need to buy our farm and family home in cash. Yet we can’t, because our bank won’t let us. U.S. Bank won’t even consider an offer from us to buy our home until after they evict us on November 5th. I can’t let this happen to my family.

I started a petition on asking U.S. Bank to accept our offer to purchase our own home — before we’re evicted on November 5th.

Click here to sign my petition.

We’ve been trying to work with the bank for months so we can keep our home, but every time we call we’re forwarded along from representative to representative, and all of them just say they can’t negotiate with us.

I’m hoping that this petition will make a difference in helping my family keep our home. We all have been so humbled by all the love and support from everyone. I can barely read the comments people leave on my petition each night through the tears.

Will you add your name too? Click here to sign my petition to U.S. Bank, and help our family keep the farm.

Thank you so much for your help.

Jeannette Gearing

The U in Jesus and The Second Coming by Yeats (Blend-Up)


Before U were thought of or time had begun,

God stuck U in the name of His Son..

And each time U pray, you’ll see it’s true,

You can’t spell out JesUs and not include U.

You’re a pretty big part of His wonderful name,

For U, He was born; that’s why He came.

And His great love for U is the reason He died.

It even takes U to spell crUcified.

Isn’t it thrilling and splendidly grand

He rose from the dead, with U in His plan?

The stones split away, the gold trUmpet blew,

And this word resUrrection is spelled with a U.

When JesUs left earth at His Upward ascension,

He felt there was one thing He just had to mention.

“Go into the world and tell them it’s true

That I love them all – Just like I love U.”

So many great people are spelled with a U,

Don’t they have a right to know JesUs too?

It all depends now on what U will do,

He’d like them to know, But it all starts with U.

This poem was emailed to me by a friend. Thanks so much for making my day, by the way. Don’t know who authored it. Not a poet myself so I really love it when someone gets clever with a poem as is the case above.  This poem got me to thinking about the first poem that touched me deeply.  A classic by William Butler Yeats.

This poem is so deep even to this day it’s taught in psychology classes. If you are a smarty-arty in high school, chances are this bad boy has manifested itself in your existence and could be standing between you and college. I, Mary Brown, am even considering using ‘Things fall apart’ as a possible book title. All over the net and beyond you can find some reference to this poem. And yet, put it together with ‘The U in Jesus’ and you still have a beautiful mix or blend of words. Words that may make you think and feel, oh, I don’t know. However, you end up thinking and feeling.

The Second Coming

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?