Young black teens in a 95 percent black high school in Kansas City, Missouri’s inner-city believed they would not live to reach the age of 30. Why would they feel any differently given the amount of death that surrounded them? In a class of 25 students, one boy spoke about his sister’s boyfriend killing her — the day before. Another was sitting with his two best friends when one picked up a gun and killed the other — the day before. These kids were expected to go to school and learn, which was impossible. To learn, one must be open and receptive. After the murder, people close down. Here is another horrific example.
Elijah el Amin, 17, was stabbed to death at an Arizona gas station over the Fourth of July holiday. A white man approached him and then murdered the black teen. The suspect said his motivation was that el Amin was listening to rap music, and he felt “unsafe.”
According to police records, he believed that anyone listening to rap music was a “threat to him and the community.” He stabbed the teen in the back and then slashed his throat. He claimed that the murder was a “proactive” action to deal with what he perceived as a threat.
A court affidavit said Adams blamed the “rap music (not the victim),” according to ABC News:
‘Adams further stated, people who listen to rap music are a threat to him and the community. Adams stated the rap music (not the victim) made him feel threatened and Adams felt he needed to be “Proactive rather than reactive’ and protect himself and the community from the victim.”‘
Adams continued with his excuse:
‘…rap music makes him feel unsafe, because in the past he has been attacked by people (Blacks, Hispanics, and Native American) who listen to rap music.’
Twitter users used the hashtag #JusticeforElijah to draw attention to the case. The tweets compared el Amin’s case to a “loud music” dispute. Jordan Davis, 17, was murdered over his music.
El Amin worked at a local Taco Bell. One of his coworkers and friends said that he was “passionate about his music:”
‘(He) always said that rap artists spoke to him, and that it just gave him a sense of purpose in a way that he went through a lot of things that they went through, too. He had a lot of dreams that he told me about, that he really wanted,” Areanna said. “I just wish, like, if I could talk to him one more time, I’d be like, “Dude, go follow those dreams that you want to do.” Everybody deserves that.’
Elijah’s father talked about his son’s dreams, according to The TeenVogue:
‘He wanted to be [in] hotel management, he wanted to move to Seattle, he wanted to move different places. He was a good kid, a very good kid. Always wanted to help kids or help people in general. He was just a clown, kind of like just always being happy-go-lucky.’
The night of the murder, his father waited up for him to return after visiting his girlfriend at her home. As the anxious minutes ticked by, this father knew that something had gone wrong. Mr. el Amin said the gas station had a surveillance video of the attack.
Two days earlier, suspect Michael Adams, 27, was released from prison. His attorney Jacie Cotterrell said that his “13-month sentence left him” living on the street. That meant he had no access to mental health care or medication.
The Arizona Department of Corrections spokesperson said that the justice system had given Adams the contact numbers for all the local resources. That included housing and counseling. Plus, Adama was not “designated as seriously mentally ill.”
The suspect was being held on a one million dollar bond and charged with first-degree premeditated murder. He will go to court July 15.
President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Kirsten Clarke tweeted that the killing should be investigated by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as “a hate crime.”
The featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.
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