Sixteen-month-old Antiq Hennis is dead—shot in the head last Sunday while sitting in his stroller on a Brooklyn street.
There will be no parade. You won’t see politicians, pop stars and college kids wearing “I am Antiq” t-shirts; you won’t hear anything at all from Sharpton, Jackson, the race-baiters at MSNBC—not even Oprah, who’s too busy griping about Swiss store clerks to notice. Sandra Fluke’s bruised feelings merited a phone call from the President. Antiq’s homicide will not.
The toddler’s murder made the news for a few hours on a slow holiday weekend. The photo of police tape surrounding the empty stroller and blood splattered pavement should chill every American. It hasn’t.
This crime doesn’t further the Left’s demagoguery of minorities dying at the hands of marauding white racists; it also doesn’t alarm conservatives reacting to black-on-white crime. Little Antiq was black. His killer was black. No story here, move along…
But that is not true—there is a story here. This killing has, however briefly, lifted the seamy veil off America’s shattered underclass. What we see is ghastly, but foretelling: Our nation is only as strong as the most vulnerable among us.
If we continue to shroud the cultural morass destroying our poor, we all will suffer. Well, we already are. Our social net is splitting as fewer carry the load of an exploding dependent class; our students trail behind other industrial nations; a quarter of U.S. homicides occur in 12 cities—all Democratic strongholds.
America 2013 is Antiq: The son of an unmarried teen mother and gang member father. The bullet that pierced his skull was meant for dear old dad, who has already racked up 23 criminal arrests and is refusing to cooperate in the police investigation. In a larger sense, this toddler was the victim of parents who shucked the values of responsibility and hard work for crime and expedience; honesty for deception; caring for cruelty.
He is the 16th child under age 16 shot in New York City since May, and the second to die. Even with those grim statistics, local politicians cynically pointed out that murders are down 25 percent in Antiq’s Brooklyn neighborhood this year; Mayor Bloomberg seized the opportunity to blame gun laws. Their craven posturing provides cold comfort to those mourning the violent death of a napping baby.
Leftists blame poverty on social injustice. Conservatives write off the poor as brainwashed wards of the entitlement state. Both are terribly misguided. What is needed is an all-out war on cultural poverty—not the Great Society version—but a full court assault on the disease infecting the moral fortitude of our urban and rural poor alike.
Faith, family and communities need to stop the excuse-making, buck-passing and denials and lead the way back—neighborhood by neighborhood, family by family. We can’t sit on our hands until another empty stroller is covered in blood.
A baby dies in Brooklyn while America sleeps. It is time we all wake up.