Is Lee McCullum’s death part of pattern of abuse in this country?

Neil Newton: Author of “The Railroad” on Amazon

While I realize that I am not a star blogger and my reach may not be great, some of you who have read my blogs may notice a pattern; I call a lot of things abuse. I suppose that if I was looking in at me, the blogger, I might invoke the phrase “To a hammer, everything looks like a nail”.

To me abuse is what other people would call injustice. Or unconstitutional behavior. The link I see is between these various types of “abuse” is that all of these horrible phenomena, domestic violence, the killing of unarmed young black men, child abuse, etc. is that in each case, there is a psychopath or sociopath who is illegally pushing their agenda, destroying someone’s life, terrororizing men women and children, taking people’s choices away from them and really emulating dictators like Qadafi and Assad, even if they only control a household. Having these little fascist empires in our country, if you open your eyes to the reality, is enough to make any real American’s blood boil.
Understanding this I can only make a case that I think is important to make, both for people who consider the effects of injustice and also those who may be less concerned about protecting people at risk who are the victims of these psychopaths and sociopaths. Those who are less concerned, in my opinion, are having their society and economy destroyed by the collateral effects of social issues in our country that end up costing us in terms of social instability, crime, and a number of other problems that cost us money and promote the deterioration our society.
So what does Lee McCullum’s death have to do with abuse and your society and your pocket book? First, if you haven’t heard about the Chicagoland incident, McCullum was a young black man in Chicago who was featured in a CNN documentary. Involved in gang activity and homeless for quite a while, McCullum tried to turn his life around by throwing himself into his studies and his improving his grades. The result was the he was voted prom king and was accepted to a university that he never was able to attend.
The fact that Lee became a target because he wanted to change his life cuts right to basis of what Abuse is. I will ask you to imagine, as an example, a woman who is in a domestic abuse situation. She is subject to a situation that flies in the face of what we say our country is. She is not able to make her own decisions and she is subject to terror and threats of death if she exercises her constitutional rights. I bring this up because I know that most of you will accept this situation as an abusive situation. McCullum is weak in the face of enemies who are able to control his life and, in the end his death; it’s their decision, not his.

For some of you the idea that Lee McCullum is a black man in a violent city is the whole story and it ends there. I have to wonder if some people might see this as the outcome of already bad situation: a damaged city and damaged neighborhood that is pretty much standard for the inner city. In other words, people who are cursed by having the bad luck or bad sense to be part of a poor minority in a bad place. End of story. Not our problem and not something that we can be asked to worry about. It’s such a big entrenched problem, how could anyone possibly be asked to consider it a social issue that can effectively be addressed. Easier to attack problems like the deterioration of American Eagle Habitats; Eagles don’t have gangs and drugs.
I will continue to assert that our constitution and our culture does not allow for these “they asked for it” conclusions that seems to mass around abuse issues like flies. No one asks for these things to happen. And I they don’t, they deserve our support and protection. That it has become “institutionalized” in the form of a criminal society such as a gang, in this case, doesn’t justify it.

Lee McCullum had dreams which, from the word go, should have caused us to jump on the bandwagon. This is not just about a disadvantaged black youth who tried to pull himself up by his bootstrap. This is a story about an American who wanted to get himself together and go to college. And, as little as some people would like to consider it, he wanted to live. Not jumping on that bandwagon and allowing this to happen over and over again is part of our path to ruin. It is tacit support of abuse and terrorism at its most fundamental level.
Do our bold words in the bill of rights serve as a nice talking point but become inconvenient when we are called to act on them? For those who really don’t care I will offer up these facts. Hundreds of domestic violence victims die at the hand of their abusers each year. This from the Huffington Post: “Black Americans are four times more likely to be murdered than the national average. What’s more, four out of five black homicide victims are killed with guns.” Adult survivors of sexual abuse run into more than 40 million in number in this country.

Really don’t care? The ACES study and other studies document a striking connection between even relatively mild negative childhood experiences with crime and incarceration. There have also been a surprising number of studies that deal with prison populations; these studies show a major connection between adult criminals being in prison and child abuse. So the behemoth prison population that we have in this country and we all pay an immense amount for, is likely driven by pointless abuse in childhood. While not as well documented, the depression, mental and physical problems that are part and parcel of the collateral damage of any form of abuse and neglect, costs us dearly in the form of disability payments, insurance, and decreased productivity in the job force. While not measurable, I can’t help but wonder what Einsteins and Teslas have been lost to us through this senseless destruction of human beings in abusive situations.
Back to Lee McCullum, who will never have a chance to make another choice about his life, I don’t see gang tats and videos. I see Lee’s parents depressed and helpless. I see children and adults walking scared in their own neighborhoods, a perfect manifestation of hopelessness filling their minds in the form of Lee’s death. I see his daughter growing up without him, knowing that power and terror won the day and ruined her life. I see that people will see that no one cares enough to intervene. Abuse won the day Lee and his girlfriend were killed and what makes it worse is that he knew it was coming, as unstoppable as an avalanche. Can you blame some people for not embracing the American dream and sharing your flag waving enthusiasm for the boot-strap theory, the Horatio Alger story?


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