Carl Sharp, a former high school basketball star and a coach and mentor to area youth, lost his life when he was shot allegedly over a dispute over burger.
The alleged murderer is 16 years old.
Carl Sharp was a mentor…and so am I.
The shooting took place just a couple of blocks away from where my mentee lives…this, like too many other shootings and killings.
I don’t know, but the death of a mentor by a youth over such a stupid thing saddens the hell out of me.
One of my favorite radio stations, 104.9 FM, was hosting a discussion about this today and I listened as people called in to talk about how angry chil’ren are today…how violent they have become…how older generations have failed and how apathy towards community involvement is the culprit.
But as someone who volunteers with young people I just can’t bring myself to blame them for their anger…just for the way they express it. I am a witness to the poverty, violence and abuse that too many youth are reared in…if they were not angry then they'd have to be insane.
I do not blame them for mirroring the violence they see adults display…television, music and images carry some of the blame but most of the young people I know learned how to lead with their fist and talk later at home by a parent or guardian.
This isn’t as simple as the problem of hair trigger tempers resulting in violent expressions of anger. It isn’t about blame and it will not be solved through token efforts like some fucking billboard declaring that Strong Marriages Build Strong Families or “leading black celebrities” fussing in clipped tones whilst lounging in air-conditioned auditoriums.
This is about us. Our communities, our towns and our expectations. This is about a lot of people doing what is currently being done by a few.
And I’m not talking race, class or gender…a bitch grew up in a rather fucked up and damaged middle class suburb, so I know that money ain’t the cure and black folk haven’t cornered the market on drama.
What I am talking about is a majority, instead of a minority, of a community really giving a damn.
I don’t know if that’s the answer, but it is the only thing I see consistently missing.
I just don’t know.
May we all be moved to act…to mentor or teach or coach…may that be both a tribute and a legacy.
You might say I’m a dreamer
But please Gawd don’t let me be the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one…
Carl Sharp was 26 years old.