Many African Americans are culpable for the mass killings taking place in cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. Yes, you heard me right; there are individuals in their late 40’s and 50’s that set the stage for these current killing fields. I am one of those individuals. In Chicago, during the 70’s and 80’s, you learned about vice and violence early. It is obvious this goes back even further than those decades. Nonetheless, in Englewood, where I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s: You; learned to fight, steal, and bully before you learned to read. This rite of passage was mandatory, you fight, or you die. Crime and violence was in our DNA.

In present times, the young Black males that slaughter innocent lives received their training from individuals like me. Of course, some will argue they never gang banged, shot, or robbed someone, and neither have I. Nonetheless, I protected friends and relatives who were married to the gun, drug trade, or murderous dispose. I’ll admit I also did my dirt as well but just more on a softer side.   As a point, the young Black male who murdered my nephew last week in Chicago learned his violence from someone. He learned terror from someone…he was not his own teacher.  Who taught him or them to kill without remorse or care?

I know numerous people who grew up during the 70’s and 80’s like me. Some of these individuals live a good life now, God, and Jesus Christ flow through their veins. Yet, their past lives’ reflect a contrast that challenges their current piousness. In the hood, most cheated in some form or another, rather our parents, relatives, or friends, we were instructed on how to ‘get over’. Whether it was the racket of ‘picking numbers’ or buying stolen meats and produce from a thief, we did anything necessary to survive, and get ahead. Yet, now we pretend to scorn our young Black brothers for their violence and crime-ridden affairs that has a similar objective: To come up.

I forgive the young brother who took my nephew’s life because he learned his violence from someone like me…just like me. He may have lost his father as I did or refused to grasp love in a proper manner. Regardless of the matter, he saw Black brothers and sisters who are now cops, firefighters, pastors, coaches, and teachers get over. He saw a brother claim righteousness yet steal another man’s wife in the dark. He witnessed the good sister in the day and her crack addicted twin at night. Worse, he may have witnessed the sexual abuse of his sister by relatives or friends. Let me not forget, he watched everyone come up but him. This young man learned his hate and violence from someone.

Another young brother replaced my nephew in the news headlines within a few hours in Chicago. The matter at hand is to remind you, that your crimes, whether soft or hard, helped these young brothers take it a step further. We are not innocent as we grasp tighter our nearing retirement pensions, or Facebook our latest vacation. We are to blame; I know so many brothers and sisters who now sit back and say, “What a shame how they’re killing each other” while they buy their ounce of Kush, bootleg laptop, or flat screen television. You know damn well, how these young cats got their deadly desires…They watched us growing up.

The Invisible Dragon