Casket

 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents,  unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

 

This is one of the hardest pieces that I have ever had to write, and I find that I’m very emotional at the moment. When I began writing this blog I wanted to solely focus on the events of the last days and that according to the word of God. I never wanted to write about current events from a secular standpoint, because there are enough people doing that and it is not my assignment.

I did not want to write about Trayvon Martin, not because his death is not important, but because there have been so many Trayvon’ that never got their names in the news. In most cases their assailants looked just like them and it would not have been news worthy about blacks killing blacks, at least not to the extent of the case of George Zimmerman.

Invoking these like scenarios does not diminish the Martin family pain, nor does it alleviate the pain of those other families that suffered the same loss.  But what is important here is that no one needs to suffer this kind of loss.

Let me tell you a story out of my own past; 1977 my family moved to Las Vegas, NV, boy was that something we did not expect, it was hotter than Haiti’s and I knew absolutely no one. After getting settled in and experiencing the outdoors for the first time and feeling the Vegas heat we began meeting the kids in the neighborhood. We met the people across the street the Nicosia’s who in turn introduced us to the Smith’s and Jeff Smith in particular, it would turn out that he was a cool guy on his way to the 12th grade at the high school that I would be attending in the fall; Eldorado High School located at the base of Sunrise Mountain (property owned by famed actress Fay Wray). Jeff was responsible for getting me a tryout with the Sun Devils varsity football team and I will forever be indebted to him. What I didn’t know is he was one of the leaders on the team and a star corner back highly regarded by other teams and respected by all of our classmates and faculty. Not to mention being a good student.

Jeff would go one to graduate class of 1978, with a full ride scholarship to then Southern Utah State, wow what an accomplishment I thought to myself.  Something I thought that I’d never be able to do. Back then and even now I live in the shadow of others accomplishments. I went on to graduate in the following year class of 1979 and joined the U.S. Navy. I realized something about my friend during the short time we had together, he was very concerned that everyone reached their potential and I can only imagine this was a trait passed down by his own father, who that time was an active member of the U.S. Air force, stationed at Nellis Air Force Base.

 Jeff was the consummate big brother to all of us kids in the neighborhood, and we all looked up to him. I remember vividly as we would be out in the street playing football and when he threw the football left handed even it would whistle from the force and strength of this young man. What was important in our relationship is that I always wanted a big brother, really a father but would settle for a brother and Jeff became just that.

I had been the Navy for a year stationed in San Diego, CA and Jeff away at college in Utah for two years, and we would see each other whenever he came home on break from school and me from the military. I really loved this guy as my brother, but in the spring of 1981 something terrible happened and only getting the facts after the fact the rest of what I’m sharing is sketchy. I understand that Jeff was home on spring break from college and enjoying the family and down time but Jeff would always be Jeff and stepped into his role as the neighborhood big brother. I was told that some of the young men in our North Las Vegas neighborhood trying to form a gang had went to the McDonalds just outside if our sub-division and gotten involved in a fight with some Mexican guys also at the McDonalds on North Las Vegas Blvd. It was pretty bad I was told, and that the police were called.

No one woulHearse and Casket in Heavend be ready for the fire storm that was brewing as these guys wanted revenge, so when the guys from my neighborhood left the McDonalds and came back home they were followed by the equivalent of what amounted to a Hispanic gang, and the fighting would start all over again. This time though it would end in tragedy. Jem told he grabbed one of the Hispanic gang members, who turned in fervor and without looking stabbed him in his chest, piercing his heart with a hunting knife and killing him. There, that night the promise of us all of knowing someone that was destined to be a star in the NFL, among other things screamed as I was told so loud, that it could be heard for blocks. Dropped dead, and everyone was lost in silence as our friend and big brother lie dead in the street with a knife protruding from his chest. Ironically, I was in San Diego at the time this was taking place and was having the one heck of a time trying to sleep and in fact never slept that entire night.

My greatest fear would be realized as my mother made an emergency phone call the next morning, as I ran down to the central office of my barracks complex to take the call, thinking that something was wrong with my immediate family. I was met with the sobbing voice of my mother on the other end of the phone, after calming her down she told me that Jeff had been killed the night before; just then my whole world stopped. Not a sound or any movement was around I felt catapulted in a place of pain that I’d never known as I slid down the wall and tears began to uncontrollably stream down my face, my best friend and brother was gone. I remember coming home for the funeral and looking as the entire cemetery was full of people, you see this guy was somebody special, as are all of our fallen young men. That has died senselessly at the hands of others that give it no thought or thought that their actions were justified for one reason or another.

Now it has been quite a few years since that fateful night and morning, but even now as I’m writing the tears are again streaming down my face. Such a promise had been taken from us and we will never know what Jeff Smith would have accomplished and I know that his natural sisters and brothers miss him even the more.

 

You see the point of telling this story is to show that this thing happens all too often and we are losing far too many sons to this street violence at the hands of people that have decided that it’s their right to deprive others of life. What we’re all failing to see here is this thing emanates out of the spiritual realm, and you can say that I’m trying to spiritualize the Martin killing and I say you are 100% correct. This death or taking of these young men lives is from the pit of hell and does not need to happen.

I want to issue a challenge to all that shall read this and most certainly the fathers out there. Take your sons and those boys in the neighborhood that you know have no father in their lives and mentor them into being positive and productive member of society. No one else is going to do it for us it is most certainly not the government or police responsibility, nor do we need to look to those in the celebrity life for direction. This is a time for action from the church in a whole, I mean the church the Body of Christ every race, creed and ethnicity.

 

This is also an opportunity for the African American culture to step up and learn to walk together, building upon the success of our fallen trumpeter Rev, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who preached non-violence, the message of Agape love.  The indifference that we suffer as a race of people continues because we allow it and are resistant to change. When we learn to walk together lack of equality, that others try and smear us with will mean absolutely nothing and no other child or young man or woman will lose their life!!!!!

 

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