Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Snitching and Cassandra

Two years ago, June 5th, my friend Cassandra was murdered.

One night a "friend" of hers beat her to death with his bare hands. She lived in a neighborhood of apartments; buildings which were closely spaced. There must have been dozens of witnesses to her screams and no one called the police.

I've sometimes wondered how that could happen. How long does it take to beat someone to death? Her mother said she was completely unrecognizable, she only knew her by a mole on her neck.

How could people in the homes around her listen to her screams, her cries for help, and do nothing? The police did not know about her death until the perpetrator led them to her body.

So it's been on the news the last few days that 60 mins. did a report in which a rapper, Cameron, was interviewed about the anti-snitching culture. I didn't connect the two, foolishly, until I was almost asleep tonight. That's why Cassandra got no help that night. No one wanted to snitch, and my friend died for it.

You know what, it makes me really mad. And I hate to say this but it is something I absolutely cannot respect about any culture that subscribes to this. Thinking about it... before this realization I would not have really cared too much about the racial composition of a neighborhood I lived in. There are good and bad neighborhoods of every color, but now... now I don't think I could move into a black neighborhood. I would just be too scared that if someone were murdering me no one would help. I know that in every white neighborhood I've ever lived in, a woman's screams bring the police quite quickly.

So I feel bad for saying it, maybe it makes me racist, but it is the truth. I am having a child now and I could not, in good conscience, put that child or myself in a position to be completely devoid of help if we needed it. What is a community, what is a neighborhood, if you cannot even count on your neighbors for a simple thing like picking up a phone if you scream for help in the night?