Sen. Hank Sanders

Number 1572 - July 26, 2017


              

               
                Death by violence.  Death by violence of the young.  Death by violence of the not so young.  Too much violence.  Too much death by violence.  Too much. Too, too much.

            I participated in two funerals last week.  Both deaths were occasioned by violence.  One funeral was in Selma.  The other was in Montgomery.  Too much death by violence.  Too much.  Too, too much.

            The first funeral was on Wednesday, July 12, 2017.  The deceased’s name is Christopher Lee.  He was only 17.  No chance to celebrate senior prom.  No chance to celebrate high school graduation.  No chance to marry.  No chance to have children of his own.  No chance to build a family.  No chance to build community.  No chance for long life.  No real chance for life.  Too much death by violence.  Too much.  Too, too much.

            Chris was born May 20, 2000.  His Mother, Natasha Lee, was advised by her doctor not to have a second child because there was a big chance that she could die.  But she wanted to give life to a second child so Christopher would have someone with whom to grow up.  She took a chance.  The second child was name Chance Lee because she took a chance with death to give life.  She wanted Chris and Chance to have chances at life.  Natasha died when Chris was 3 years old.  Chris was only 17 when she died.

            Christopher and Chance were raised by their grandmother Mary Floyd.  Their father lives in Memphis, Tennessee.  He has a serious disability.  Chris was a student at Elmwood Christian Academy.  He was a promising basketball player.  He had recently been baptized.  Chris was not perfect.  No child is.  Chris sometimes sneaked out of his grandmother’s window at night.  But he deserved a chance to live.  He did not get this chance.  Too much death by violence.  Too much.  Too, too much.

            I did not really know Chris.  He lived in our general neighborhood in the Selma Police Jurisdiction.  I am told that he had been to our home with other young people for our Annual Kwanza Celebration.  I know his grandmother made sure Chris got the best start in life.  She sent him to McRae Learning Center, which Faya Rose and I started in the 1970s.  Faya’s mother built McRae into an institution of education excellence.  Too much death by violence.  Too much.  Too, too much.

            On July 3, 2017, Chris was in Selma near Washington Street and Minter Avenue.  He was sitting on the front porch waiting on a friend to go play basketball.  He just loved basketball.  He was being recruited by a number of colleges.  A car drove by the house.  The car drove by two additional times.  On the third time, Chris was shot four times just sitting on the front porch.  He was gunned down.  Chris’ chances ran out.  Too much death by violence.  Too much.  Too, too much.

            The second funeral was in Montgomery.  I did not personally know Eddie Scott, the deceased.  I know his sister Jeanette Scott Thomas very well.  She works for Alabama New South Coalition.  I also know his mother Dorothy M. Scott.  She loves Senate Sketches.  Her daughter reads it to her every week.  Eddie Scott was born June 11, 1961.  He died by violence on July 3, 2017, the same day Christopher Lee died by violence.  He was 56 years old.  He did have a senior prom.  He did have a high school graduation.  He did marry.  He did have children and even grandchildren.  Too much death by violence.  Too much.  Too, too much.

            Eddie Scott was greatly respected and deeply loved.  He served his country in the military.  He served his family faithfully.  He served his community by helping others.  By every measure, Eddie Scott did everything right, but he still died too soon.  His life was still cut short.  He can no longer serve his family, his friends, his community.  He can no longer serve his God here on earth. Too much death by violence.  Too much.  Too, too much.

            Eddie Scott and others were in a barber shop in Prattville about 10 o’clock on the night of July 3, 2017.  A person came to the door and knocked.  The barber shop owner knew the man so he opened the door.  The door knocker and several others bull rushed him.  They robbed and killed the shop owner and two others.  The shop owner, Tony D. Smith, was a cousin of Jeanette Thomas.  The second man killed was her brother, Eddie Scott.  The third man who died by violence that night was called Big Al.  Everyone knew him as Big Al.  Too much death by violence.  Too much.  Too, too much.

            I know God works in mysterious ways.  We cannot understand everything that God does.  How can we truly understand the violent death of a 17 year old?    He is too young to die.  How can we understand the violent death of a 56-year-old, husband, father and grandfather?  He is too good to die.  We cannot really understand either.  So how can we understand both these deaths and two other deaths – four deaths in all – on the same date of July 3, 2017?  There have been too many other deaths by violence in our community. 

We know that God works in mysterious ways for the good of all.  Therefore these must be a method to this destructive madness.  There must be a reason God allowed all these deaths on the same day.  If these tragic deaths by violence move us to seize the moment, organize our communities, and stop the deadly violence rampaging through our communities, then these lives will not have been in vain.  We cannot just hope.  we must make certain that these persons do not die in vain.  I will do my very best.  Will you join me and do your best?

            Now on to the Daily Diary:

            Saturday, July 15, 2017 – I handled various home issues, traveled to Montgomery for the funeral of Eddie Scott, returned to Selma and worked deep into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following:  The family of the Eddie Scott, deceased; Shelley Fearson and Jeanette Thomas of Alabama New South Coalition; and Dorothy Scott, Mother of Eddie Scott, deceased.

            Sunday – I exercised and did Radio Sunday School Lesson with Dr. Margaret Hardy and Radio Education with Perry County School Superintendant John Heard, III, attended Tabernacle Baptist Church, and worked into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following:  Radio Personality Roy Mack and Ainka Jackson, Josiah Jackson, Amadi Sanders and Karen Jackson of Selma.

            Monday – I exercised, handled many matters, traveled to Greene County, returned to Selma and worked into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following:  Greene County School Board Members Dr. Carol P. Zippert, Leo Branch, William Morgan, Carrie Dancy and Kashaya Cockrell; Greene County Superintendent Dr. James Carter; and LaTayna Cockrell of Greene County;

            Tuesday – I was up at 3:00 a.m. in order to be in Birmingham for a back operation.  I remained in the hospital for the remainder of the day and night.  I had many visitors, texts, emails and calls.  They are too numerous to name. 

            Wednesday – I awakened in Birmingham was released from the hospital and traveled to Selma, arriving about midday.  I remained in bed the remainder of the day on a recovery routine.  I communicated with many well wishers.  Again they were too numerous to name.

            Thursday – I remained at home on recovery routine.  I communicated with many well wishers.  They were too numerous to name.

            Friday – I remained at home in recovery mode.  I did a few work items such as Sketches and other urgent matters.  I communicated with many well wishers.  They were too numerous to name.

            Epilogue – Death comes to all of us.  It is always painful to those left behind.  But it is most painful when we believe a life is cut short for no good reason.  Death by violence always cuts short life by the actions of the living.  We can give additional meaning to the lives and deaths of those whose lives were so violently cut short.