While the chant of “U.S.A.!” and American Exceptionalisms continues to drone on, the other side of American life and culture spin further and further out of control through unchecked aggression. This is the side of America that no politician for 2012 is going to address: Violence, rape, murder, wanton bloodshed in American streets. Osama bin Laden is gunned down in his house and he makes the headlines while countless Americans a shot in the back, both figuratively and literally, by their “fellow citizens”.
So what’s happened to our “More Perfect Union”? Being that Philadelphia is the original capital, it would seem we’d have had more time to get the “More Perfect Union”, well, more perfect than the rest of the country. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Here’s a round up of the last 24 hours. A typical day’s work:
Shots rang out around 2:00 a.m. in a parking lot located on the 1000 block of Christian Street in the city’s Queen Village section. A 22-year-old man was shot in the chest. He was rushed to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital where he later died. Stray bullets also smashed a car window. So far, there is no word on suspects or a motive.
The gunfire erupted around 11:20 p.m. at 27th Street and Lehigh Avenue. Police responded to the call of a man shot and down at that location, and when they arrived officers found the 20-year-old male victim with a gunshot wound to the chest. Medics rushed the man to nearby Temple University Hospital for treatment. He was deemed a trauma alert with unstable vital signs while in transit. No arrests have been made. The investigation continues.
Police opened fire on two armed suspects following a foot pursuit overnight in Philadelphia’s Olney section.
A pregnant woman is hospitalized in critical condition after being shot while sitting in front of a West Philadelphia home.
A man is in critical condition, after getting shot on a Philadelphia street by a gunman who ended up robbing his victim of just $6.00.
Philadelphia police have released surveillance video from a weekend shooting that left nine people injured. “We do believe there was intended target within that crowd, that they were there by design,” Philadelphia Police Captain said.”
Teen and 1-year-old infant hospitalized after Kensington shooting.
A man in his late 40’s was approached by two males armed with guns early Sunday morning when the gunmen demanded money from the victim. During the robbery, the victim was shot at least one time in the buttocks.
A father of three is gunned down in Delaware County. His sister was inside when she heard the shots. “Three more shots rang out, and I yelled to them to get down,” she said. The family ran to the front door where the victim was asked, “Are you okay?”, and he said, “Nah, I’m hit,” as he turned into the doorway and expired. He died in front of his sister’s eyes.
This list is not even remotely comprehensive of the violent crime that has plagued Philadelphia in the last 24 - 48 hours, let alone other cities across the United States. And this is a daily norm here in the “More Perfect Union”. Across the country, police forces are being scaled back, though I do not believe that police presence alone will deter these crimes. The issue is systemic and endemic. It is a sad yet poignant reminder that no matter how loud America shouts to the world of its greatness, some of its citizens, some of its cultural underbelly remain to give lie to these sloganized statements, to the poverty of so-called freedom, equality, and tolerance [can we add justice], to paraphrase Dr. Sherman Jackson. No, if America is truly to realize and actually attain this greatness, then it must do so not in staged camera ops and phony clandestine military raids, but in on-the-ground realities that preserve the dignity of people, that allow for the treatment of social diseases whose roots are always in the heart.
That was the question a co-worker asked me today. Well, first she asked if my wife is from American, even though she speaks with perfect Valley Girl diction. Then she asked if I was going to name my daughter-to-be an American name or a Muslim name. I asked, “Is Muhammad Ali an American?” She replied, “yes, of course.” To which I asked again, “Is Kareem Abdul Jabbar an American?” She replied again in the affirmative. When I asked her what made her think then, if we were using her logic, that “Muhammad”, “Kareem”, or “Ali” were not validly American names if those figures were all American?
Missing Child: Sister Khadijah bint Tariq Blackmon has been missing since 5-10-2011 at 2pm in the Philadelphia area. Please call 215-900-4037 if you have seen this young sister. Please make du’a for her and her family.
al-Hamdulillah, Sister Khadijah bint Tariq Blackmon has been found. The family extends is thanks for prayers.
A good friend of mine reminded me of the Prophetic tradition about gloating over one’s adversaries. I thought I would share. Hat tip to Imam Hud:
Abu Salih relates from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him, used to seek refuge from the toil of tribulation, calamities, bad fate, and gloating of adversaries.” [al-Bukhari: 6347]
عن أبي صالح عن أبي هريرة كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يتعوذ من جهد البلاء و درك الشفاء و سوء القضاء و شماتة الأعداء