Another Ana Menendez column
which left me scratching my head was published in today's Herald. It's about the tragic death of an 18-month old, Zykarious Cadillon, who was murdered in the front yard of his Little River neighborhood by some unknown thugs. The story has gotten lots of media attention and a lot of indignance from the community at large.
Unfortunately, that's not enough for Menendez. She thinks we, all of us, should share in the blame for Zykarious' death.
Here's the column in its entirety, with emphasis mine.
We must all share the blame
By Ana Menendez
Even before he was born, Zykarious Cadillon faced a life that promised to be harder than most.
As the developing baby of a teen-aged mother, he was more likely to be born below a healthy weight. The chance that he would die as an infant was 50 percent higher than if his mother had been older than 20.
As the son of poverty, he risked a host of problems as he grew, including poor nutrition, impaired brain development and low achievement in school.
As a black child, his chance of dying before adulthood was twice as high as it is for white children.
And it's this final statistic that ended up defining the short life of Zykarious Cadillon.
On Sunday night, as he was playing in his front yard, someone pulled up to the house and murdered him. He was 18 months old.
Thursday, the house on Northwest 82nd Terrace in the Little River neighborhood seemed abandoned in haste. A single black flip flop lay near the front door. At the curb, candles and flowers were stacked next to a pile of stuffed animals. A teddy bear lay slumped over a tiny walker.
So far, no one has come forward with ideas about who killed Zykarious. The reward is now up to $2,000, but even among people as desperate for cash as they are for justice, the promise of either is not enough to overcome a more powerful constant.
A neighbor I spoke to said he wasn't home when the shooting happened. But even if he had seen anything, he wouldn't go to the police. ''I'm scared,'' said Louis Louissant.
It's possible to live an entire life in South Florida and never go into a neighborhood like the one where Zykarious did not finish growing up.
Out of sight, the poor remain out of heart and mind. The problems they face are assumed to be ones of their own making. And most of those who travel I-95 high above Miami's poverty can assure themselves that they have earned their cars and their suburban houses without considering that the rules of the game are set long before we're born.
In the past week, whispers of blame have extended to the family of the little boy and to neighbors who have not told what they know. The emphasis has been on ''conflicting information'' -- was the boy with his father or not? -- and on police frustration in trying to find the truth.
But blame is an untidy thing. Responsibility for Zykarious' unsolved murder starts with the family that failed to protect him and spreads to a neighborhood that remains silent, but it also eventually falls on us who have become numbed into indifference.
Violent crime among the poor barely qualifies as big news anymore. Even at this paper, his murder was confined to the local pages, the front page often reserved for more rare events such as sumo wrestlers and giant cruise ships.
The unintended message is that the story is so common as to have a limited audience. It's not insensitivity. The Miami Herald has run other crime stories on the front page -- most recently the murder of a young high school graduate, who also was black.
But in the paper's search for a good ''mix'' of stories, it often leaves the impression that crime, especially when it affects the poor, is less important. And that makes it too easy to segregate the outrage.
DEMAND FOR JUSTICE
Black community leaders should not be the only ones demanding justice for Zykarious. The problems faced by the poor, many of whom are black or Hispanic, are not all of their own making and not theirs alone to solve. The racism and economic inequalities that lead to injustice and despair are more than minority concerns.
A little boy is dead before his second birthday. It's natural to ask, ''How did they let this happen?'' A more honest society adds, ``How did we?''
We didn't let this happen, Ana. It's not our fault that little Zykarious was born into such a hostile environment. It's not our fault that many people in impoverished neighborhoods continue to make fatally bad choices in life and choose to blame others for their misfortune. Unfortunately, these people aren't helped one bit by columns such as the one above.
For a second there, Menendez started to make sense, but then quickly layed the blame on all of us.
How dare you, Ana, when you sit there in your ivory tower and don't have a clue of what ordinary, law-abiding middle class citizens do or think?
How many of those people who zoom by that neighborhood on I-95 pay taxes which support programs to assist those in need? How many of those same people selflessly give their time and money to those people? Apparently, Ana knows the answer.
No thanks Ana, I absolutely refuse
to share in the blame. Many of us do care and have given both time and money to help those who are disadvantaged, for whatever the reason.
Once, just once, I would love to read an article in any MSM publication by a staff columnist which places the blame squarely where it belongs. Actually, it happened just 2 days ago in the Miami Herald by none other than Leonard Pitts. I have disagreed with a ton of Pitts' columns, but on Friday, he was right on the money
and he deserves credit for saying what needs to be said.
It's not about racism or indifference, despite what Menendez thinks. Those issues have been properly and rightfully addressed. If you want people to care more than they already do, they need to start seeing results. It's time to stop blaming society, move on, stand on your own two feet and make right decisions.