This type of column is getting old. I’m tired of having to say the same things over and over again. But I imagine if things like what we saw here in the Detroit area over this past weekend continue to happen, I’ll have to keep writing these pieces. Hopefully soon, someone will listen.
Often, we look at the young men that we have roaming the streets these days and wonder, where are the fathers? Valid question. However, it’s time we look at the young ladies that we have in the world and ask the same question. A feeling of “daddy’s little girl” and the protection that particular figure of speech used to provide seems to have gone missing as well. Men have become so consumed with violating someone else’s daughter that they’ve forgotten to protect their own daughters from violation. I’m calling out the men once again. We have to do better.
When we look at this situation in Detroit, where we had a group of 22-year-olds making poor decisions all the way around, you can’t help but wonder what could have been prevented with the strong hand of a good father or father figure.
Latonya Bowman, a 22-year-old pregnant woman from the Detroit area, was kidnapped, set afire, shot and left for dead by 22-year-old Antonio Mathis. This was all allegedly set up by 22-year-old Jamal Rogers, who is the father of her then unborn child and allegedly didn’t want another child (read the story here). Unfortunately for these two (but fortunately for society as a whole), Bowman was able to free herself and get help after Mathis, assuming she was dead, left her in a field. Both men were eventually arrested by police and have since been charged.
One can’t help but wonder why some fathers have shrunk in the face of responsibility, while they’re children run amuck making one poor decision after another. Granted, there are circumstances that prevent some fathers from doing as they should. Some fathers are deceased and some fathers are out of state and hands-on child rearing isn’t as feasible as it is for a father in the same town as his children. Conversely, some fathers are incarcerated, some are unaware of the fact that they are fathers, some are barred from involvement by angry and bitter women, and sadly, some just choose not to be involved.
As men, we can’t continue to go missing during the critical years of our children’s lives. No baby mama issues or failed relationships should keep you from doing your job. Our young men not only need to learn the value of a human life, they also need to learn some responsibility in reference to the lives they create. If you’re irresponsible enough to have unprotected sex with a woman that you don’t want children with, then you have to suffer the consequences when the child is created. If you don’t want to, you can’t have such a disregard for human life that you’re willing to have the mother and child killed by an idiot with just as much evil running through him as you have.
And what of our young ladies? I covered this a few months ago when a couple of local women were kidnapped and eventually killed by two men that didn’t want them to press charges against them for previously trying to kill one of them. As men, we need to be a visible presence in our daughter’s lives. Once upon a time, if a man raised a finger in anger to another man’s daughter, the police were the least of his worries. Fathers were willing to kill or die for their daughters, whichever was necessary. Her life mattered more than his. These days, some of these men operate with as much fear as their daughters do. There’s no longer a safe haven or the protective arms of daddy to run to.
Not only must we give our daughters protection and a good example of a man to measure any potential mates against, but we must be there to offer strong discouragement when they choose the wrong man. Nothing is a guarantee, but when presented with the right role model and someone that generally cares about their well being, children will often make better choices.
Chances are there was some man somewhere along the way that told these young men that women were to be handled (or rather, mishandled) in this way. Somewhere along the way, some man caused this young lady to devalue herself to the point where she didn’t think she deserved to lie down with a man better than one that would eventually try to end her life. There was probably some man in these young men’s lives that told them that they are to have “no love for these bitches”. Or maybe there was no man available at any time in this young lady’s life to cherish her so much that she in turn learned to cherish herself.
The men of today simply must do better as it pertains to our sons and daughters. Our role as fathers has always been simple: protect and provide. Provide your son with the tools needed to navigate through life as a well-intended and respectable man that will someday have a family of his own to protect and provide for. Protect your daughter from someone that doesn’t come to her with that same set of values. If you were to go through the lives of all three of the people involved here, I guarantee you they were all missing positive male role models somewhere.
With positive role models, maybe this young lady doesn’t choose to lie down with someone like this. With positive role models, maybe these young men value the life of a woman and don’t turn into monsters. At the same time, for the sake of this young lady and her now newborn son, I wish this young man had just made the baby and disappeared on her. You can get over a dead beat dad, but just imagine how long it will take to get over the fact that the man that you created the child with tried to kill you and the baby.
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