This is one of those news items that was almost immediately relegated to the category of “local news,” but it really shouldn’t have been. The tragic story in question took place in South Los Angeles over the weekend. The LAPD just announced that they’ve reached the grim milestone of 300 murders in a single year for the first time in over a decade. And there are still five weeks to go. One of the victims of those murders was 15-year-old Carl Jackson Jr. He was an honor roll student at his school with no “police involvement” in his background and what seemed like a bright future ahead of him. Then, while riding his bicycle home, some people drove by in a car and opened fire, killing him right there in the street. (CBS Los Angeles)
A South Los Angeles teen is among the 300 people killed in the city this year alone, and his tragic death has left a community mourning.
Carl Jackson Jr., who was on the honor roll, had no gang affiliation and was just heading home on his bike when someone in a nearby vehicle opened fire on him, his family said.
“His mood, his vibe, they were perfect,” said a friend. “I fear for my life every time I step out of the house.”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to piece together what happened here. It was a drive-by shooting in South Los Angeles. As usual, the police don’t have any solid leads or suspects. The chances that this wasn’t some sort of gangbanger murder are slim to none.
But if Jackson had no gang affiliation and wasn’t involved in that life, why was he shot? Who can say why the gang members do what they do? Maybe it was a case of mistaken identity. Perhaps it was part of some gang initiation ritual. Jackson may just have been the kid who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But he’s still just as dead.
If Carl Jackson Jr. had been shot by a cop – particularly if it was a white cop – there would already be riots underway and demands for justice. But this was yet more gang violence so the only result is another broken family planning a funeral. It’s just another day in a neighborhood filled with drug trafficking and gang members sporting unregistered, illegal handguns.
We’re seeing the same story play out every day in Baltimore, Chicago, New York City, and elsewhere. You can complain about police violence and racial discrimination until the cows come home, but this is what’s really destroying Black and Hispanic communities in cities around the country. And the even more tragic truth is that every time there are protests and riots in the streets, the gangs take the opportunity to blend in with the unrest and ply their “trade.”
The neverending theme of 2020 in the streets of America has been Black Lives Matter. Well, Carl Jackson Jr.’s life mattered. And now it’s over. Who will be fighting for justice for him and his family?