Knicks Guard/Forward Cleanthony Early was shot in his right knee early this morning outside a Queens strip club. He was leaving in a taxi with his girlfriend, when the cab was surrounded by three cars, who’s occupants pulled Early out, took his belongings (2 Gold chains, cash and his phone) and shot him in the leg, his girlfriend and the taxi man were unharmed. He was released from hospital earlier today. (H/T Wall Street Journal)
I’m not one to get overly sentimental or political in my writing but I think this latest chapter in America’s tragic story of guncrime was somewhat down my alley of interest. Not that the numerous school shootings, public massacres and gangland killings haven’t been any less moving, in fact they were notably more distressing. This is the most ironic part of this story, that it took the shooting of a reasonably notable character to prompt me to react in this way.
In America there are 88.8 guns per 100 people and an estimate of 270-300+ million guns in total in the entire country. Although coverage on the topic is incredibly biased on either side, if it’s clear to someone all the way over in Galway, Ireland that they have a problem regarding guns and gun control, then I think there is a serious epidemic spreading throughout the United States. Carmelo Anthony has always been an advocate of tighter gun control and has just come out to say that ‘We need to do something‘.
The fact of the matter is that people are losing their lives in America day after day, be they women at an abortion clinic, schoolchildren, black adolescents, mothers at shopping malls, high school or college football players, gangbangers or police. People are people, not numbers, be it you or me we are all the same no matter skin, religion or occupation and if there’s one thing that should be universally accepted it’s that notion. Although there are evil people among us, everyone is born equal and one thing American and western society is showing us at the moment is that they do not believe this sentiment. I can only imagine if Early was replaced by a white and even more famous American, what the reaction would be, all of which shows the real problems and discrepancies in the US and the ‘modern’ world.
When IS militants attacked Paris last month I was truly horrified to the core, like multitudes of people all over the world. It was that particular attack that triggered an international outrage at what the group stood for and their actions, as well their executions of American journalists, however, there was no pray for Raqqa campaigns, no one talking about all of the innocent Syrian people murdered in the subsequent bombing of that region in the Middle East the following day by France, because it was done ‘in the name of all that is good and true’. It was in one way but in another the effect of the bombing on the lives of ordinary Syrians weren’t represented. This was a blatant and disgusting symbol of how the world’s media and powers that be basically covered and are still covering up what are atrocities that’re being carried out by the Western powers on people that are being caught up in the crossfire. This isn’t all too far away of the media’s coverage of the killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Dontre Hamilton, John Crawford III, Tamir Rice, Rumain Brisbon and multiple others, all of whom were shot by the police and all of whom were black males that were unarmed. Some of the cases are still being examined, while in others the police involved were deemed innocent. I’m not discussing the rights and wrongs of all these cases because we will never really know the ins and outs of what actually happened, even though some strongly point to other conclusions than the official ones given, all I’m saying is the media and society in general clearly value some lives over others and often skew stories in one way rather than uphold the truth regarding issues.
Russell Howard’s take on America’s gun problems gives a very clear and human perspective of what is going on. This isn’t a problem which can be argued with statistics and arguments about self-defence. This is about the mentality surrounding guns in a particular society, one which glorifies their use in certain circles and one which has been grossly desensitized to their use, danger and consequences. In the end of the day, the New York Knicks are sure to have fans that are all for the current gun laws in America, but how would they feel if Early was killed, or Carmelo Anthony or any other prominent sports figure that they may idolize. It’s time to throw away the preconceptions that guns prevent deaths and prevent crime, when more and more they are being used to take lives and to harm or put innocent people, such as Early, in danger. The problem isn’t the guns themselves but the attitude around them, the nonchalance of a woman carrying a pistol in her purse or a man with a shotgun in his wardrobe. I can tell you this, in Ireland someone is deemed a psychopath for this sort of thing, not a hero or a responsible human being. I don’t really disagree with this sentiment either, because really what is heroic about having the power to end someone’s life? What is responsible about carrying a medium of sorrow and pain to the families of the victims of shootings; Cleanthony Early’s cousin was shot dead during Early’s childhood and now the Knicks player’s own mother says she doesn’t answer the phone late at night in fear of more bad news. This isn’t a question over whether guns are good or bad but a question as to whether people are in their right minds allowing them to be freely distributed all over one of the largest countries in the world. In Switzerland one has to renew their gun permit 14 times a year and it’s considered to have lenient gun laws. In America you can buy ammunition in Walmart. According to Liam Neeson “There’s too many fucking guns out there. Especially in America. I think the population is like, 320 million? There’s over 300 million guns. Privately owned, in America. I think it’s a fucking disgrace. Every week now we’re picking up a newspaper and seeing, ‘Yet another few kids have been killed in schools.’”
I’m not calling for a left-wing upheaval. I’m not calling for revolution nor radical changes in the world. I’m calling for people to open their eyes and ears and dive deeper into stories, learn about the injustices that go on around us, because only the ones against and involving the people we are familiar with are reported. There are radicals on either side and I can honestly say that I’m neither, I just want people to hear the truth and put a stop to the deaths of innocent people. Multiple Hip-Hop figureheads from Kanye to Kendrick have spoken out against multiple issues discussed so it’s fitting to include one of the latest installments from Pusha T off of his latest album King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude.
Like Rodney King said ‘Can we all just get along‘.