If not enough has been said about slain Milwaukee 13-year-old Darius Simmons, it’s because so few know what to say anymore. When a sixth-grader can be gunned down in front of his mother, in front of their home, on the mere and baseless suspicion that he’s stolen something from his neighbor, it’s hard to shore up the words to reflect, respond, or report without thinking of all the similar cases that have come before it. It’s hard to describe the white 75-year-old neighbor, John Henry Spooner, and the 9 mm shots he allegedly fired: the first–discharged five feet from the boy–was the fatal one, but as the boy tried to run before later collapsing, a second shot–aimed at his back–was a miss, and a third attempted shot was unsuccessful, according to community activist David Muhammad.

It’s difficult to discuss circulating photos of his mother, Patricia Larry, holding a snapshot of her slain son, her eyes bloodshot, her expression pained and bereft with grief. And it’s cold comfort that Spooner is already in custody, charged with first degree intentional homicide. Because no matter whether he’s acquitted or convicted and regardless of his sentence, we’re still left with the disturbing realization that he thought he was well within his rights to shoot the unarmed boy next door, as the child stood before him with his hands raised. We know that very little anyone said or did could’ve convinced Spooner otherwise, even though he had no evidence that the boy had stolen from him, even though Darius was in school when the alleged theft reportedly occurred, and even though firing at close range on anyone when no life is in imminent danger is never the right response.

Cases like these make us feel helpless. Because even if the law prevails, the world seems dimmer.

But we need to speak Darius Simmons’ name. We need to follow his case. And we need to discuss it with others. As we’ve seen with the Trayvon Martin case, too much of society is desperate to explain away senseless racial killing by finding fault with the victim. Too many are so hard-pressed to understand what motivated the aggressor, they’re willing to excuse his actions as somehow justifiable. (In the case of John Henry Spooner, the front-running “justification” is that his home had been a repeated target of theft, that he’d complained to his Alderman and nothing had been done about it.)

If nothing else, understanding cases like these can help us discuss them rationally, and stand our ground about the very obvious racial motivation of crimes like these, a motivation so many are quick to dismiss.

  • http://www.itsoftenbeensaid.wordpress.com Sasha

    this is so disgusting, there is a special spot in hell for Spooner.

  • who run the world?…GOD

    “…too much of society is desperate to explain away senseless racial killing by finding fault with the victim.”

    That statement is subjective depending on the race/gender/age of the victim/offender.

  • MarloweOverShakespeare

    My heart aches for this boy’s mom and everyone in America that is in sheer denial of the enemy’s work.

    Let us not be weary, but wearing the full armor the Most High.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    iCan’t discuss this case, I’ll leave it for others to do it on my behalf.

  • mamareese

    Ya’ll hell is getting full of folks, I hope the max pop is a trillion cause it’s not slowing. The good things if there is such in this cause is that extreme behavior like this…is dying off with this guys older generation that breed this type of racial madness in the 1st place.

  • Jillian

    “If nothing else, understanding cases like these can help us discuss them rationally, and stand our ground about the very obvious racial motivation of crimes like these, a motivation so many are quick to dismiss.”

    Thank you for bringing this story to our attention – so interesting that you use the words “stand your ground” here as the very thought of this happening can be seen as a threat to an aggressor. See, privileged groups, no matter their race, gender, etc, have always been allowed to stand their ground and protect their own. Even under the suspicion that someone caused harm is enough to take someone’s life…however, those from unprivileged groups are not allowed to do this. The question becomes – how dare you stand your ground? Have you forgotten your place? And just like that a life that we may value along with others becomes an example that we must remember our place.

  • Isis

    This is extremely sad but honestly I expect more white on blk crime Cuz racial tension is high. Whitey is angry. Yall better get ready especially if Zimmerman gets off. White folks really gonna hunting to take down a blk person

  • Lady P

    Cases like these do make us feel helpless. But Clutch/Stacia, you’re right, “Let Us Not Be Weary”. When I originally read this post; it immediately came to my spirit, Darius Simmons is “our next” one. Yet another black young man slain due to a senseless killing by “finding fault with the victim”. As mentioned by a previous poster, the John Henry’s generation is dying out. However, some of those ideologies are going to be left behind. These people are not stimulated by the law or moral persuasion. If they “feel” threatened, they will proceed. It is a natural instinct to protect ourselves. What I would like to know is – does this protection include the “LAWFUL” killing of our sons depending on who “feel” threatened? Will these killings continue to be okay in their eyes? If this is the case, as I stated after the Trayvon’s Martin’s killing, “who is next?” Since we know there’s a strong possibility of another senseless killing occurring, we can’t afford to give up. Regardless of being on one accord or not: discussions, innovative strategies, and community support (unity) must continue.

  • http://cupofjo-jo.blogspot.com bk chick

    “Too many are so hard-pressed to understand what motivated the aggressor, they’re willing to excuse his actions as somehow justifiable.”

    This happens cuz of “belief in a just world.” Basically, people tend to blame the victim because they would rather believe there is a reason for committing a horrendous act rather then just pure maliciousness. It helps us trust our world more.

    That being said, the level of disgust I have with this crime is beyond words for me. And think of all the other cases that get no media attention.

  • Chad Goller-Sojourner

    “To be young, black and innocent is to live in a world full of folks who will always see you differently than you see yourself;” ─ It is to live in a world where folklore, statistics and conjecture deem black boys dangerous until proven otherwise. ─ I began carrying feminine bags around age 13 graduating to full on purses around age 21, and while my love affair with the purse has always felt natural, it became clear early on that when paired with my large frame and dark skin these well-crafted accessories possessed magical powers. Like the power to say “Hey white lady no need to clutch your purse, see I got my own.” or “Hey convenience store clerk don’t worry you’re safe, I’m here to buy” or “Hey officer I’m not the black you think I am, don’t shoot!” — (Excerpt From: Riding in Cars with Black People & Other Newly Dangerous Acts: A Memoir in Vanishing Whiteness)

  • https://twitter.com/#!/clnmike Tonton Michel

    No words.

  • 414

    One thing I’d like to know: why was Alderman Donovan having breakfast with Spooner the morning before the shooting? I understand the city council members reach out to their constituents, but having eggs with the man implies a closer relationship.

  • The Best Anon Ever, Pt. 2

    This whole story just leaves me tired to my bone. My heart goes out to the mother. I just cannot discuss it. I mentally cannot do so.

  • Bridget

    The look on this mother’s face is so heart-wrenching. I can’t imagine the pain she must feel. This situation and so many others like this one make me so fearful for my nephews.

  • Ms. Information


  • Fox

    So. Sick. Of. This. Open season on black males has no age range. 13 years old. What really PISSES me off is that these people (blacks included) believe they are justified in ending someone’s life. This case, however, is very painful because he was so young. It seems hopeless sometimes. I wish our communities were more unified.

  • truth is more than color

    @MarloweOverShakespeare you speaking my language. Hopefully our people will wake up and realize this destruction is no accident. Shalom

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