Black or White, They’re All Just Kids

A couple of weeks ago, not long after the school shooting in Florida, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesh made this statement while speaking at the CPAC meeting: “Now I’m going to say something that some people will say is controversial. So I’ll say it slowly so all the people in the back can hear me loud and clear. Many in Legacy media love mass shootings, you guys love it. Now I’m not saying that you love the tragedy, but I am saying that you love the ratings. Crying white mothers are ratings gold to you and many in the legacy media in the back. And notice I said crying white mothers because there are thousands of grieving black mothers in Chicago every weekend and you don’t see town halls for them, do you?”

Now lets get past the rhetoric—and also know that I loathe Dana Loesh and the NRA—but she has a point. The coverage you see when White Kids are tragically murdered in schools readily outweighs any coverage of murdered black youth (except when it’s a cop killing). It’s just a fact, not only in Chicago but in nearly every major city in America. You don’t have to like it, or buy it. Just know that it’s real. But that is not the point of this column.

I was struck by the thought of  black mothers and white mothers grieving over the loss of their children. Gun violence isn’t about race or the difference between white school kids in Florida, or Sandy Hook, or black youth hanging out on a street corner in Chicago, or  Boston. It’s about children dying too young with no explanation, leaving their mothers behind to mourn, to have to live with the fact that they will never see them again. I personally know what it feels like to lose a child, there is no greater pain. But my pain can’t even begin to compare to a mother who loses her child for no apparent reason.

Imagine sending your little one off to school, which should be the safest place in the world, right? Imagine in the inner city sending your kid to the store for milk. Now imagine a few days later burying your child who went out to do such simple things. If you don’t have a nauseous feeling in the pit of your stomach, you have a  problem.

So maybe this is where the real healing begins. Mothers who have lost children to senseless violence regardless of race reaching across the aisle to console one another, realizing that they all have something in common. It doesn’t matter if it was in a school or in an inner city. All that matters, all that should matter, is the loss of a child. Even those mothers that haven’t been touched by this tragedy. Even women that don’t have children but have them in your lives, you should be reaching out too.

And as you heal, stand up and demand that those in control do what’s right, so you may never have to bury another child.

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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