Mass shooting survivor Wilson Garcia, center, holds a young girl during a vigil for his son Daniel Enrique Laso, 9
Mass shooting survivor Wilson Garcia, center, holds a young girl during a vigil for his son Daniel Enrique Laso, 9, Sunday, April 30, 2023, in Cleveland, Texas. Garcia's son and wife were killed in the shooting Friday night. The search for a Texas man who allegedly shot his neighbors after they asked him to stop firing off rounds in his yard stretched into a second day Sunday, with authorities saying the man could be anywhere by now. The suspect fled after the shooting Friday night that left five people dead. Credit: AP Photo

A tale of two shootings

Never in the history of the state of Texas, and quite possibly the history of the U.S., has a governor lobbied for the pardon of a convicted murderer even before the killer was sentenced. But that’s exactly what Gov. Greg Abbott did when he called for killer and noted racist Daniel Perry who killed a “BLM” protester. In so doing, Abbott gave a full-throated endorsement of people who believe in the myth of white supremacy indiscriminately killing anyone who stands for Black humanity. So, I guess it’s no surprise that when five human beings were slaughtered in another Texas mass shooting, Abbott, even when calling for justice, belittled and demeaned the victims by referring to them as illegal immigrants. In a released statement, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said, “There is no limit to the depravity of Greg Abbott and his Texas Republican cronies. To use a mass shooting, in which five innocent souls were slaughtered execution-style – including an 8-year-old – to fearmonger and lie about migrants and the victims’ immigration status… this type of sick behavior is truly beyond the pale.” And to pour more salt into the wound, after news of the mass murder in Cleveland broke, Abbott tweeted “All smiles this weekend.”

TikTok Attack

If you haven’t seen “Idiocracy,” the 2006 movie about an American society so dumbed down that the most intellectually non-curious, average person you know would be considered the most intelligent human alive, don’t worry. We’re literally living that reality right now. And TikTok is playing a big role. The phrase “That person is so smart they’re stupid” has never been truer. Social media offers a landslide of information: some incredibly insightful and groundbreaking; some asinine as hell. And the asinine is winning. Case in point, our African ancestors thousands of years ago successfully mapped the movement of the stars and planets. Their scientific knowledge/genius wasn’t discovered by European scientists until relatively recently. But this knowledge, this wisdom of the ancients, is being thrown out the window by folk today because they saw some dude post a video on TikTok that says the world is flat. Have institutions, educational and otherwise, lied to us and promoted false information before? Sure. Should we be willing to do our own research? Of course. But somehow, we’ve got to develop the discernment to separate truth from fiction. If not, the “Idiocracy” we’re already experiencing will only get worse.

Mental health check

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. And if any people need a mental health checkup, it’s the Blacks. Anti-Blackness negatively impacts us in a myriad of ways, known and unknown, consciously and subconsciously. The daily stresses, the micro- and macro-aggressions we endure as well as the mountains of anti-Black policies, actions, systems, etc. leave many of us on the razor’s edge, just one bad encounter, one lingering side-eye, one bad day away from going so all the way off we can’t get back “on” again. Before we reach that point, let’s take all the steps to get our mental state in a positive place.

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Aswad WalkerAssociate Editor

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...