Jazmine Barnes’ Life Issues

On Dec. 30, Jazmine Barnes was murdered in a seemingly random drive-by capturing because the 7-year-old was on her approach to the shop along with her mom and three sisters. The tragedy in Houston was as soon as believed to have been perpetrated by a white man (presumably in his mid-30s to 40s). However over the weekend, two black male suspects of their 20s had been arrested in reference to the capturing.

Following the arrests, the general public outrage over Jazmine’s loss of life has already begun to dissipate. Within the days instantly after the capturing, there have been candlelight vigils and fundraisers for her household, however now suspect has been caught, it’s possible the momentum will lower. In some methods it’s a aid that the capturing could not have been the hate crime we feared and that it was extra possible a case of what the police are calling “mistaken identification.” Now that two individuals are in custody, a few of us could also be prepared to maneuver on to the following factor, as we are likely to do.

However we shouldn’t merely transfer on. No matter who did it and why, a killer took a little bit lady’s life. Whether or not it was a hate crime, rage geared toward a distinct particular person, a problem within the household’s historical past or a very random capturing, the very fact stays little one is lifeless.

And when a baby is killed in an act of violence, it ought to be abundantly clear that now we have an issue on this nation.

We should always have a look at the historical past of violence on this nation … that permit such an assault to be seen as commonplace, normative and forgettable ― particularly if the victims are black.

To make sure, motives matter and provides us a window into our tradition and world, however specializing in selective empathy can carry actions for justice solely to date. Whereas we ought to reply with especial concern to a white supremacist assault, we also needs to acknowledge how this case has, extra broadly, uncovered the darker aspect of the truth we reside in.

Incidents like this are sometimes thought of one-off assaults by explicitly hateful individuals (and which will very properly be what occurred right here) who’ve held onto backwards ideologies. Nevertheless, these backwards ideologies don’t come out of nowhere they usually don’t simply result in one-off incidents. They come up from a tradition that normalizes performing out one’s rage with violence in opposition to different individuals.

We should always have a look at the historical past of violence on this nation and the problems round weapons, poverty and poor policing that permit such an assault to be seen as commonplace, normative and forgettable ― particularly if the victims are black or different minorities.

From the failure to behave after the Sandy Hook and Marjory Stoneman Douglas college massacres to the obtuse responses to the deadly shootings of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, Individuals have been lifeless set on ignoring our personal historical past and the political elements that contribute to the violence that we write off over and over.  

Individuals say: We don’t have an issue with gun violence; there are only a few mentally unwell outliers. We don’t have a racist police system; our law enforcement officials are color-blind and typically they legitimately worry for his or her lives. We don’t have a tradition of identification politics that results in violence in opposition to locations of worship and LGBTQ golf equipment and Deliberate Parenthood facilities; we simply have individuals with sturdy beliefs (who’re emboldened by a racist president).

It’s simpler to imagine this and neglect concerning the individuals who die than to simply accept that America has at all times been a spot the place violence can lurk round any nook, any college, any Walmart car parking zone.

Jazmine Barnes was a baby, a second-grader. Her life mattered.

Jazmine’s assassin could not have shot at her household as a result of they’re black (we don’t have all of these particulars), however this little one was nonetheless killed in a tradition that may chalk up her loss of life as collateral harm to the best way issues are. And so, her story could fall into the class of ignored, forgotten or excused away, like many earlier than her.

To downplay Jazmine’s loss of life is to lean into this nation’s legacy of violence and rage. To normalize her loss of life is to dehumanize all black loss of life, to imagine that Individuals as an entire are typically unaffected not solely by the killing of youngsters but additionally by the on a regular basis, commonplace violence that presents nice dangers to all of our lives.

With the federal government shut down and President Donald Trump’s rhetoric about brute drive on the border permeating the media, Jazmine’s loss of life has largely been a blip within the information cycle. However she shouldn’t be a political object; she was not a bystander. She was not within the incorrect place on the incorrect time, as a result of in America at this time, anyplace could be the incorrect place and any time could be the incorrect time.

Jazmine Barnes was a baby, a second-grader. Her life mattered.

Brandi Miller is a campus minister and justice program director from the Pacific Northwest.