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Loss of Jamiel Shaw's Life Transcends Sports

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–“I’m safer, somewhat, in Iraq than my son is on the streets of the United States. …My country let me down.” 

                                             –Sgt. Anita Shaw, United States Army              

March 2, 2008 in Los Angeles, CA was no different than any other in the crime-ridden areas of the City of Angels where the homicide rate has risen by 27% since the same time period in 2007.

What differentiates March 2, 2008 from other days, however, is that in areas not well known to be crime-ridden, where residents in communities try to get by in doing right by their neighbors, there is a war brewing for which they are unarmed.

Jamiel Shaw, Jr., a 17-year old Los Angeles High School football star running back, finishing his junior year in high school as the Southern League’s most valuable player, was celebrated by family, friends and his community.

But Jamiel Shaw, Jr. was not only celebrated for being able to run with a football or beat county records on his track team, but as one who also represented ideals that every family strives for such as his commitment to his education, his devotion to his church and his loyalty to his family.

Unfortunately, on March 2, 2008, Jamiel Shaw, Jr. was slain three houses down from his own home at 6 o’clock on that Sunday evening after returning to his neighborhood by public transportation, following a weekend football symposium in which he participated. In fact, he was talking to his father on his cell phone minutes before he turned the corner prior to walking up his block.

Within minutes, Jamiel’s father, Jamiel Shaw, Sr., heard what he thought was a back-firing vehicle on the nearby interstate, poked his head outside of the front door and saw a crowd gathering in the direction in which his son was walking. Jamiel Shaw, Sr. ran down the street, only to find his son mortally wounded with a bullet hole in his head, lying on the ground.

The national mainstream media and numerous media outlets throughout Los Angeles, primarily the week that Jamiel was murdered, reported it as another ghetto crime as the result of gang violence.

That caption, however, was not only inaccurate and incomplete but was a disservice to the real issues underlying this important story on a number of fronts. But such could not be handily fit into a headline sound bite for sensational purposes. So, the story angle was spun to fit an agenda.

Important to note, however, is that the essence of Jamiel Shaw, Jr. was not simply that of an aspiring athlete, already accepting football recruitment inquiries from Stanford University, Rutgers University and Arizona State University. For Jamiel Shaw, Jr.’s family did not raise Jamiel as a footballer but as a good human being, in order to excel in whatever path he chose for his life and to hopefully inspire his friends to do the same.

The family of Jamiel Shaw, Jr. included his dedicated father, raising him and his 9-year old brother while his mother was serving her 2nd tour of duty in Iraq as a Sergeant in the United States Army. He also had an involved extended family, including school friends and church members, in what is now considered an old-school community, where folks still look after each other.

And no, Jamiel did not live in a crime infested gang-banging ghetto.

The story of Jamiel Shaw, Jr., as reported, is not that of sensation but rather that of the war between our communities and our federal, state and local governments. For they have dropped the ball, not Jamiel, not his family, not his neighborhood.

Non-observation by local law enforcement and corrections officials, in confirming the legal immigration status of prisoners in U.S. county, state and federal prisons violates federal law and puts our citizens at risk. And it goes without saying that the non-arrest of persons illegally entering U.S. borders who then go on to commit criminal acts against Americans is but an act of criminality unto itself.

Such criminal and illegal aliens incarcerated in U.S. jails and in prisons serving time, upon such completion of their served time, are to be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. They are then to arrange for the immediate deportation of such criminals back to their country of origin. Such is a requirement and a duty mandated by federal law.

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Diane M. Grassi is an investigative journalist and reporter providing topical and in-depth articles and analysis on U.S. public policy and governmental affairs, including key federal and state legislation as well as court decisions relative to the (more...)
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