I love New Orleans. But I also hate to love New Orleans because it has broken my heart so many times. Yet, like so many of her lovers, I keep coming back. However today, my heart's is not only broken, I'm angry. Saturday night, former Saints defender Will Smith was shot and killed in his car, while his wife was wounded.
I'm angry because if I'm to believe the current 2016 murder count in New Orleans, Smith's shooting was the 31st slaying in the city since the year began. Even more frightening is that these already unacceptable statistics are not even taking into account all the people who have been shot or assaulted in the city in that same time frame who thankfully survived their wounds. I'm angry because the city I love has long been known as one of the murder capitals in the United States and there's seemingly no end in sight to that bleak reality.
I'm angry because I'm certain that New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison and Mayor Mitch Landrieu will tell us that they're doing everything to make things better, yet I feel like we've been told the same thing many times before, but we're yet to see any tangible results.
I'm angry because some real bright, warm and goodhearted people on Twitter were relieved on Sunday morning when learning that the Will Smith that had passed away was not the "relevant" one. You know the one that stars in all those super intelligent movies where he kills aliens and stuff.
I'm angry because some other people couldn't help but ask whether the #BlackLivesMatter movement would also stage protests after Smith was shot to death by another black man. In a country that has the hardest time moving on from its painful past, so many of us still haven't understood that blood is red, be it drawn by the gun of a black or a white man and that the real challenge and goal should be to overcome hatred and prejudice, not dwell on what color the shooter was.
I'm angry because anti-gun militants try to use events like these to push their anti-gun agenda and tell us how guns will lead to the downfall of humanity. Not global warming, not a nuclear war, guns will be the end of us all. I'm angry because pro-gun militants try to tell us that events like these are why we need even more guns. Why don't we all just buy guns? Guns for our sons and daughters, guns for our toddlers, guns for our grandmothers, let's even build collar-guns for our dogs; I'm sure we'll all be so much safer that way.
I'm angry because it takes the murder of a former NFL star for people to pay a little more attention to the senseless violence that has plagued New Orleans for years now. I'm angry because we're probably all moving on already, because this is what happens in this microwave media society.
I'm angry because this is nothing new, as Smith himself noted a few years ago, during another one of New Orleans' much too frequent murder outbursts
Wow, 20 murders in 26 days? New Orleans.. Please Stop the Violence!— Will Smith (@iWillSmith) January 26, 2012
I'm angry because just a few hours ago, Will Smith was enjoying life and the French Quarter Festival in a city that can give as much joy as it does pain.
I'm angry because Racquel Smith and her three children are now widow and orphans, and no matter how much ink or vitriol is spilled, how much speculation and conjecture is used, nothing will bring their husband and father back.
I'm angry, because once again, you've broken my heart, New Orleans.