I went to bed around 5 a.m. Monday morning. For some reason I woke up an hour and a half later to turn on the radio and hear the sad news regarding the death of Michael Scott. It was shocking to hear not only that he was dead, but that it appeared to be a suicide.

Many of the people I spoke with were in disbelief and I can understand. No one wants to believe that someone as successful as Scott would kill himself when we have hundreds of folks who have so much less in terms of finances and opportunities who don’t despair.

While I am not going to jump on the bandwagon and agree with the Medical Examiner that Scott’s death was the result of a suicide, neither will I won’t jump on the “black folks don’t do that” bandwagon. Everyone wants people to behave in a textbook manner when it comes to situations that we don’t fully comprehend. We want suicide notes, depressed behaviors and warning signs of impending doom. But if you follow the news like I do, then the black community has graduated from the “black folks don’t do that” school of thought into the master’s degree program of the “I’m no longer shocked that black folks are doing that” university.

Take, for example, serial killers. For years the FBI profile on them would be a white male, middle age, loner, etc. committing such crimes. Consider the D.C. sniper. Everybody was looking for a white man until John Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were finally caught. Because they didn’t fit the profile of someone who would probably be responsible, they were overlooked and their rampage continued.

What about the case of Anthony Sowell? After police went to his house to arrest him on rape charges, they found the decomposing bodies of three women. Further investigation revealed a total of 11 bodies in the home in various states of decomposition. And, yeah, Sowell is black.

How about the thought that only white people are “trailer park trash”? Well we do, too. I don’t know how many of you have followed the story of Shaniya Davis. The 5-year-old girl was alleged to have been sold by her mother into sexual slavery. Her mother, Antoinette Davis called police and told them her daughter was missing from the trailer park where they lived. But the mother’s story didn’t hold water when surveillance footage from a hotel 35 miles away showed the little girl being carried into an elevator by Mario Andrette McNeill at the time the mother claimed the child was taken. Sadly, this little girl’s dead body was found in a wooded area, her pregnant mother implicated in the crime.

In all the stories I mentioned, everyone who can’t make sense out of them profess their disbelief. No one wanted to believe the D.C. snipers could have turned out to be black men. No one wanted to believe that Sowell, who lived in the neighborhood and was known to sit on his front stoop with a beer in his hand greeting his neighbors, was a serial killer. No one wants to believe that a mother can sell her daughter for sex and that the child predator who took the child would be a black man wearing dreadlocks.

Wake up, Black Folks! It’s a slippery slope we tread when we so quickly put our minds forcefully into “denial mode.” That is the same logic Gregory Brooks Sr. used in defending his son, Gregory Brooks Jr., who today stands accused in the murder of the McClendons.

And that is the same logic being used with regard to Michael Scott’s death.

I have walked past the spot where Scott’s body was found a number of times, around 2 or 3 a.m. when my old job called me in due to problems with the computer system. Not once in 15 years did I fear being by myself so late at night. Of course I was cautious, but I never saw the spot as dark and isolated. The railroad bridge where Scott’s body was found faces two huge apartment buildings, as well as a smaller group of condominiums whose backside are composed of floor-to-ceiling window areas.

Like everyone else, I want more investigation into what happened and all security tapes reviewed. That area is also the location where the Dave Matthews Band bus spewed a load of sewage into the Chicago River splattering people in a tour boat below. That bus was captured on the video camera on the southwest side of the East Bank Club and was eventually used to implicate the bus driver.

We should be demanding that all security tapes from the surrounding area be reviewed to shed light on Scott’s death.

Black people are no longer insulated from any mayhem that is committed in this country. And I can understand when people are skeptical. Just don’t be in complete denial.


If you go

Arlene will be in far south suburban Matteson this week from 3 to 6 p.m. doing a book signing at Azizi Books in Lincoln Mall.