Over this Easter weekend, a Black man named Stevie Stephens (Stevie Steve on Facebook) killed an innocent Black man randomly, in cold blood, on Facebook live.
While most people were horrified at the viral video and sharing subsequent videos of him explaining WHY he did what he did and what he did (sadly), most immediately chalked it up to mental illness.
Using mental illness, especially in this case, as an excuse for the murder of an innocent civilian is thee most cowardly excuse ever created.
The most interesting thing about Steve Steve’s commentary is that he blamed a black woman for his behavior. He even named her, (Jody Lane) and asked his victim to name her before firing the trigger.
This is the same black woman who subsequently released a statement following the incident saying he is a “nice guy” and “good to her children”. Read it Below:
“We had been in a relationship for several years. I am sorry that all of this has happened. My heart & prayers goes out to the family members of the victim(s). Steve really is a nice guy… he is generous with everyone he knows. He was kind and loving to me and my children. This is a very difficult time for me and my family Please respect our privacy at this time.”
So what happened? What caused this unimaginable tragedy.
Definitely NOT mental illness.
He left clues in his videos that he was seeking help. He stated that he talked to his mother who didn’t help. He stated he talked to other people who didn’t help and that he snapped. He wanted them to call him. He was aware of his action and consequence.
He was fully aware that what he was doing was some “sucker shit”. He said that multiple times. He even flashed his work badge. He was also a coward, shown by the fact that he picked a man who was elderly and couldn’t put up a real fight. He wasn’t really about that serial killer life.
He was fully aware and cognizant of what he was doing and what he wanted to do. He knew he wanted to be a random person. He wanted the world to know – via Facebook – who pushed him to do it. This is premeditated murder.
THE BLACK MALE MELANIN EXCUSE:
If you ask a “conscious” black male about blackness, they will immediately rattle off historical and current accounts of black greatness.
They will tell you how much melanin is a gram, how we are the original man, lived righteously as Kings and Queens, are Gods and goddesses and detail the horrors of slavery.
They will tell you how magical we are due to our high concentration of melanin, how we have overcome the slave trade and how physically and superior we are to other races.
Now, I’m not saying none of these things are factual. In fact most of what I recounted is right and exact (shout out to Yada). But, these things are often seen as enough to qualify our individual CHARACTER and PRINCIPLES.
Divinity is not a birthright my brother. It has to be SINCERELY CULTIVATED and REFINED consistently.
You can’t dress divinity up in a dashiki or business suit. You can’t wear a head wrap and lock your hair to achieve it. You cant vegan diet and read books to get it. You can’t go to a temple, church, mosque or shrine to get it.
It MUST come from WITHIN. It takes HARD WORK and DISCIPLINE. Men must do more of this. We gotta get our inner shit together. RBG ain’t enough.
THE FLIP SIDE:
It’s easy to say: “Well he’s an adult. He should know how to cope as a grown ass man”.
But…… What if he’s never been able to talk to anyone about his problems?
What if how he’s coped with pressures since he was a teenager has been weed/cocaine/lean/molly/liquor etc? Who teaches black men HOW to cope??
He did “snap” but not because he was crazy. He snapped because no one was there to help him with his stress. No one wanted to listen to his problems.
He seemed to be tired of being a “nice guy” as he said. He seemed to be tired of having to mask his emotions. He always felt like he was getting “blown off”.
Or as Kendrick Lamar so eloquently put it on the song “Feel” from his recently released album DAMN:
“Ain’t nobody praying for me”.
Black men don’t really have support groups. We don’t talk with our friends about our problems the same way women do. We are taught and socialized to be strong, tough, show no love, be aggressive and never EVER tell someone your feelings.
God forbid we tell someone we are seeing a psychiatrist. The stigma of being CRAZY gets put on you and friends and family start looking at you different.
You get called a bitch or sucker if your emotional or sensitive. You are isolated and left to be strong and figure it out on your own.
What usually happens is Black men “snap” into rampant drug abuse to cope. They become more misogynistic. They become depressed. They show less empathy and conscience and become self-centered and egotistical. They become unstable. They no longer love themselves so how can they properly love another. They become abusive. They in essence self destruct.
They snap cause ain’t nobody praying for them. Sadly, they may not know how to pray for themselves.
THE LESSON IN THE TRAGEDY:
Do I think someone talking to him would have stopped him? Would him going to a church that Sunday, even if he’s not religious, just to dance and hear the choir have stopped him?
Psychiatry? A good friend who could hear him out WITHOUT JUDGEMENT and give him some advice? Maybe a meditation teacher? Some yoga? Took some time to walk with him in nature? Gave him some coping mechanisms? Or just told him “I can relate?”
Maybe. Maybe not. I have no idea.
However, I do know we, the black community, need a change and fast.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among black males ages 15-24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Statistics say that Black adult men committing suicide has dropped but the rate amongst black boys has DOUBLED since the 1990’s.
This means the next generation of black men are dying before they are adults and willingly.
Call a black man or boy and show him some concern. Listen to him. Allow him to be vulnerable around you.
Don’t just tell him to pray. Show him how to cope with life’s pressures. Stay in tune with your son’s. Tell the men in your family you love them. Help them CULTIVATE and REFINE their character. Show him now to nurture his spirit if you know how. Be a good friend.
Let a man cry. Tell him it’s ok and it will be ok. Let him know strength IS in asking for help when you need it.
I’m not saying this would have stopped this tragedy, but maybe, just maybe it would have helped Stevie cope with his own emotions better.
DON’T BLAME BLACK WOMEN. BECOME BETTER.
Oh…To you men on social media blaming black women. Please smack the shit out of yourself. It’s not Joy Lane’s fault or black women’s burden to carry for this individuals maliscious act of savagery.
The one thing all humans, male and female, need to learn and practice is self accountability. No one can REALLY make you do anything you don’t really want to do.
We can be SELF ACCOUNTABLE & SEEK HELP. We can ALSO GIVE HELP. Both are ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for individual growth.
We need to learn to love how to love ourselves in a world where its taught that love can be bought sold and filtered through selfies, likes and hearts and learn to show empathy for others. We need to work on the spiritual and inner parts of ourselves and start shedding the masks of being “strong” when we are hurt depressed and weak.
Seek help and be a person WILLING to help. Go within. Be a better human for the world.
(Sidebar: Yes, conspiracy guy. This could all be a fake ritual designed to tap into the pain body of Black America on the day of Easter and further keep us in trauma and in the “sunken place”. He was driving with a cell phone which pings back and forth to cell towers in a car. Also the recent admission that he went to Philadelphia means he had to go through a toll booth of some sort. But..who knows?)
Peace, Power and Prosperity,