|No more lies: It’s time to get honest about what (not who) killed Jesus "Chuy" Campos|
|Written by Elena Miramar|
|Wednesday, 20 April 2011 00:00|
The murder of well-known and well-loved Oakland merchant Jesus "Chuy" Campos is a true tragedy. His family and the community are still grieving and looking for justice. I want to see the people responsible for his death brought to justice but there is a bigger issue that needs attention whether or not the murderer is ever found. And what if the murderer is never found? What will the family and community do with their frustration, anger and feeling of helplessness? While the police department is putting special effort on the case,
there is a larger question and the answer could bring both healing and true change: What (not who) killed Mr. Campos and how do we change the violent reality? If we don’t ask this question with honest intent, nothing will change.
For myself and many people, there is no secret about what creates people who commit heartless or selfish crimes. Or what creates the environment that enables the attitudes that lead to a total disregard for family, community, and life.
What killed Mr. Campos?
It was those parents who neglected their responsibility to raise their children properly. It was the disabling policies of governments that feel they should have a leading role in the family or community. It was the disabling lies from people in the community that poor or uneducated or minority people don’t have an equal chance in life – ‘the system is against them’. It was the people who provide every lie and excuse a person needs to go down the ‘easy’, cowardly path of crime. It was the families that chose not to make education important for their children. It was the ignorant, cowardly, politically correct talk about crime, poverty and racism. It was everyone who let prejudice affect their beliefs and actions.
It was an education system that cares more about money and jobs than providing quality education. It was a police department that cares more about money and jobs than protecting people. It was those politicians who care more about their power and careers than serving the people who elected them. It was those community organizations that care more about money and jobs than making real progress on the social problems they claim to address. It was the news and entertainment industry that sells media products and lifestyles based on crime and death.
But ultimately, what killed Mr. Campos and other innocent victims is the community’s failure, the people’s failure, to take leadership of the institutions and agencies responsible for our safety and quality of life. The community allowed self-interested people and agencies make an industry of public safety, poverty, and education. We can blame these people and agencies, but ultimately we can blame only ourselves. Mr. Campos worked honestly to address crime in Oakland, but he needed the honest efforts of a lot more people. More people need to get involved, but first they need to involve their minds and their courage so that they don’t become part of the problem.
We owe Mr. Campos and other innocent victims our honesty and courage when speaking about crime and its causes. Fear, apathy, ignorance, and competing political and economic interests make change difficult, but I believe a community can create change if they understand the true causes of crime, lose their fear of speaking honestly about those causes, and stop repeating other people’s lies.
True tragedies should move us to true change, and I hope that Mr. Campos’ death does bring about true change for the sake of his family and the community. Your role in creating that change can start with your next thought or word. Let the lies be put to rest with Mr. Campos.
- Fruitvale merchants, Oakland police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering as much as $30,000 in reward money for information leading to the gunman's arrest. Anyone with information may call police at 510-238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572 or 510-777-3211.