I try not to let the shootings that happen nowadays be so common that I too, like many others, become neutralized to them. I read the details and am heartbroken that we have become a society so willing to kill one another over the slightest thing.

One story this past weekend out in South Holland caught my eye and gave me a lot of reasons to pause. The story is probably reflective of one of the biggest problems affecting the Black community today. Because the notion of family is becoming so insular, people only think of their immediate relatives as family and not the extended version that is also “true family.”

A family reunion gathering was being held at a local park. In attendance was an off-duty Palos Hills police officer. According to published news reports, one of the family members, a male, shows up with his current girlfriend. There is a dispute with a former girlfriend. The man and his current girlfriend leave. The man then returns and begins shooting. The off-duty officer had a better aim, and shot and killed the alleged shooter.

All of this happening while all the participants of the family reunion have on the purple family T-shirt. What does that say about the family and the event? It says to me that the symbolism of family isn’t family to everybody in attendance when one of them got a gun only to return to shoot up the place! It also says a lot about the tolerance of criminal behavior within a family to the point that the alleged shooter didn’t care that it was his family he was coming back to shoot at.

I have a favorite line I like to use on Facebook. When I post a story of criminal behavior, I ask the question, “Whose relatives are these?” In this case, because it was a family reunion, we know who the relatives are. And it should be a very devastating situation to them to know that they had a relative who hates so much that he will leave, drive to get a gun, come back with it, and even use it without a second thought.

I wonder who the matriarch/patriarch of that family is? I wonder how the other family members feel, knowing that the alleged shooter was willing to take out people wearing purple T-shirts even though they are members of his family? I know there were a bunch of children there, but that did not appear to make a difference. The stupidity of wanting to get revenge took precedence!

I am at a point in regard to violence, when a person is killed during the commission of a crime, and that person is the alleged perpetrator, that person’s body should automatically be donated to science. No funeral for them. No fictitious obituary claiming they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, or photoshopped angel wings, when everyone knows damn well that the deceased was a living, breathing disciple of the devil!

We are in a time and on the precipice of going over a moral cliff from which we will never recover. I long to see and hear decisive words taken by those who would speak as a moral authority. Sadly, we don’t seem to have any.

And therein lies the problem!