Do YOU Recognize Me?
CC: Dr. Bobby Manning
Subject: This Little Guy Says It AllHello. Don’t recognize me?
That’s OK; I understand.
My name was Antonio West. I was the 13-month old child who was shot in the face at point blank range by two black teens, who were attempting to rob my mother, who was also shot. I think my murder and my mommy’s wounding made the news for maybe a day, and then disappeared.
A Grand Jury of my mommy’s peers from Brunswick , Georgia ruled the black teens who murdered me will not face the death penalty. Too bad it was me who got the death sentence from my killers instead, because Mommy didn’t have the money they demanded.
See, my family made the mistake of being white in a 73% non-white neighborhood, but my murder wasn’t ruled a ‘hate crime’. Oh, and President Obama didn’t take a single moment to acknowledge my murder. Attorney General Eric Holder didn’t come into town and start a Federal investigation. Neither one have any children who could possibly look like me – so why should they care?
I’m one of the youngest murder victims in our great Nation’s history, but the media didn’t care to cover the story of my being killed in cold blood. There isn’t a white equivalent of Al Sharpton, because if there was he would be branded a ‘racist’.
So no one’s rushing to Brunswick , Georgia to demonstrate and demand ‘justice’ for me. There’s no ‘White Panther’ party, either, to put a bounty on the lives of the two black teens who murdered me.
I have no voice, I have no representation, and unlike those who shot me in the face while I sat innocently in my stroller. I no longer have my life. Isn’t this a great country?
So while you’re out seeking ‘justice for Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown’, please remember to seek ‘justice’ for me. Tell your friends about me, tell you families, get tee-shirts with my face on them, and make the world pay attention, just like you did for Trayvon and Brown.
I won’t hold my breath. I don’t have to anymore.
Subject: Re: This Little Guy Says It All
Thanks for sending this e-mail. It represents an excellent example of our blindness to the way we think about recent events.
I do not mean to sound insensitive to the tragedy that baby Antonio suffered an needless and heinous death. I grieve with his family and pray for their peace in Jesus. The person who committed such a horrible crime should be arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced. He should be tried for the horrible crime that he committed. Our penal justice system should exercise itself fully in order for justice to take place for baby Antonio.
Wait… it did!
What the writer of this e-mail doesn’t point out is that in August 2013, De’Marquise Elkins was arrested, tried, convicted AND sentenced for the shooting death of baby Antonio. Elkins was arrested AND indicted within days of the shooting. As tragic and needless as his death was, the justice system found the person who did it guilty. The justice system worked for baby Antonio’s family. In the shooting deaths mentioned in this e-mail, the perpetrators were not convicted. In one of the cases, the perpetrator never even had to face a jury trial.
What the writer of this e-mail also doesn’t point out is that this story DID get national attention. This has nothing to do with Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, or President Obama (three people that the writer of this message clearly has disdain for), this has to do with the consistency (or inconsistency) of our justice system. The justice that was achieved for baby Antonio was NOT achieved for Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, or even Eric Garner.
We should be horribly grieved that baby Antonio is dead. However, we can hopefully take confidence in the legal system that worked properly on his behalf. This is not the case with the aforementioned men.
This is why people are marching. This is why there is national attention. This is why people feel the need to say things like “black lives matter.” Not because someone of one race killed someone of another race. Because when the victim is white, the system seems to work (arrest, indictment, trial, conviction), and when the victim is black, it doesn’t always seem to work.
~Dr. Bobby Manning
PS>> The baby boy’s name is Antonio Santiago, not Antonio West. His mother’s name is Sherry West. He’s hispanic, not white. I’ll resist knee-jerk assumptions here about name-changes and intended audiences.