A Hundred Million Dollars

January 06, 1995|By Rafael Alvarez

In the child's game of drug dealer, there are no good guys and bad guys.

Only guns.

And the hard-edged hubris of 10-year-olds looking down the barrel of life without mercy.

A little girl happens upon the make-believe and asks if she can join in.

Sure.

She gets to be the hostage.

The old folks say: "I don't remember playing that way."

This is not violence learned from television.

Babies glimpse it from bedroom windows.

Adolescents sit with it on marble steps.

And tough guys keep dates with it down at the corner.

Mama's dead. Papa's dead. Sis is dead.

Last year in Baltimore, 321 dead.

Which is more sad?

That a 10-year-old is gunned down by the stray bullets of greed?

Or that no one is surprised?

Some parents start grieving their children the moment they are born.

For those who choose to stand in the torrent of drugs, guns and money, death is part of the game.

But you don't have to play to get in its way.

Bump against the wrong car: die.

Cross the wrong path: die.

Look the wrong way.

Die.

Do you know how long the Rev. Willie Ray has been begging his people to end the madness?

Since 1984, 3,008 dead souls ago.

And counting.

The preacher cries: "It's demonic . . ."

Light a candle.

Stop the killing.

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