Roosevelt Cooper was a promising athlete as he graduated from Kansas City high school Hogan Prep. More importantly, Cooper was a promising human being. All the athletic promise and potential he had as a human being were taken from him when he was shot and killed on August 18.
Kansas City has developed a reputation as a high murder city. This fact doesn’t make Kansas City much different from other metropolitan areas across the country but that shouldn’t mean that we accept the killing of others as a way of life.
Cooper was friends with Missouri football recruit DaRon Davis. This doesn’t make the death of Cooper more impactful than it rightfully is, but it does add visibility to the travesty. This was also the case back in December 2010 when Marion Denmon was caught in the crossfire of a rolling shootout. Denmon was the cousin of former Missouri basketball player Marcus Denmon. The irrational behavior surrounding the killing of Marion extended to the funeral where Marcus himself was left unharmed as shots were fired from two vehicles driving past the church.
When I wrote that there are plenty of issues for our country to focus on that are more important than the name of Traveler the USC Trojan horse, it was the lives of people like Cooper and Marion Denmon that I was referring to.
[Merenbloom: Traveler the USC Horse Doesn’t Represent the Confederacy Any More Than the Coliseum Represents Slavery]
Cooper, Marion Denmon, and countless others have had their lives taken from them. Davis, Marcus Denmon, and entire extended communities have felt the impact of these senseless killings. The tearing down of statues and changing the names of animals will do nothing to fix the true problem that affects our country.
Colin Kaepernick was correct when he said, “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” How Kaepernick is choosing to exercise his right of free speech may be up for debate, but this part of his grievance is legitimate.
What are we going to do about this problem?
The focus needs to be on the real problem and that’s the senseless killings of innocent people. I don’t care if you consider yourself to be a Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, classical liberal, or any other label you choose to represent your political belief system with.
I also don’t care what country you’re from, what color your skin is, what your birth gender is, or what gender you identify with. The problem is only magnified when we attempt to pigeon-hole ourselves and others into an ideological and surface-level representative corners. This “us versus them” mentality must stop.
These ideological and surface level representative corners that we’ve backed society into are what the problem is.
There’s no need to view yourself or others as anything other than individuals. I’m not better or worse than you based on my political beliefs or my heritage. I am who I am and you are who you are. You even have the right to be stupid. Just don’t let your stupidity infringe on the rights of everyone else to be thriving individuals.
It’s not “us versus them.” Please, stop all the senseless killings.
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