Murdered While Homeless!
The local blog (Uptown Update) and our alderman (James Cappleman) revealed the tragedy on their websites, noting that the victim's identity is unknown!
For whatever reason, they only know so much, but the detectives know more. They know the victim's name, they know that he was homeless and he stayed with us at Cornerstone. All this to say; we know him too, because they came around seeking information. I will not reveal his name, because for whatever reason, his name hasn't been made public.Maybe, they're trying to find or contact a relative first.
There's a perception that homeless men are dangerous thugs, but the reality is; they are more likely to be the fatal victims of violence, than murderous offenders! During my 14 years in Uptown, there have been a number of murders in 60640; gang-bangers shooting at rival gangs, oftentimes hitting the intended person, but also striking innocent bystanders. There have also been fatal domestic altercations, murderous bad business deals and friendships that have gone astray. Since the jealous, revengeful, spiteful Cain plotted and murdered his "favored" brother Abel, sadly the world has experienced passionate violence at the brutal hand of another. This fact is sad, but very true!
Scattered throughout this zip code's relatively small number of fatalities, (which I'd guess averages about 2 to 4 a year), a healthy percentage of those murdered, are homeless folk. I do not have exact numbers, but I can recall too many of my homeless friends dying at the sadistic hand of another human being. A few short years ago, 4 homeless people were murdered within a couple months and a few blocks of each other. 3 were men, 1 was a lady and all were black. 2 of the men were shot as they were peacefully sleeping outside, according to a number of witnesses, the other man had another guy simply walk up to him and shoot him 6 times in his head and the lady's death was the most shocking; after reports of a foul smell, her body was found decomposing in the wardrobe of a local motel room that is now closed. To the best of my knowledge, and despite witnesses and motel records, these cold cases remain unsolved and there remains killers on the loose!
As I write this, I can recall a few other cases, and sadly, the norm is their horrifying deaths also remain a mystery! As the news and media pumps out stories of detectives, police, mass searches and lawyers spending millions to solve cases of the sad disappearances and murders of society's rich and famous, poverty stricken folk see their loved ones just become a statistic in a computer file!
All this, brings me back to the sad snippet I read on a local blog; an unidentified black man was found dead, lying in the grass of Clarendon Park a couple days ago. He was a victim of a horrific crime. We don't know the circumstances, or what led to one person smashing another person's head in with a blunt object. Was it revenge? Was it a hate crime? What was it? We don't know, only God knows! We do know that this homeless man was a helpless victim to something he didn't deserve and that he suffered something that God finds absolutely atrocious.
This man, who's name I know, but I won't reveal, was someone I knew. We had a brief encounter, he was new to CCO, newly homeless in Uptown, and I have his paperwork on my desk. We had just helped this poor fella get his State ID and pay to get his birth certificate. Ironically and sadly, we were helping him begin and find his life and identity again, when his physical life was prematurely snatched away from him!
His story is a tragedy! Plain and simple! How someone can murder another, I'll never know. How society can simply disregard him as another sorrow-filled statistic, I'll never know. How his death will quickly be ignored and forgotten, because his life was invisible, I'll never know. How people can be so callous and cold, I'll never know. This man's story, plain and simply, is a tragedy of epic proportions, because society has made a large potion of our modern world ignorable, invisible and forgotten!
Is there any hope? The only comfort I can muster also possesses epic proportions! I cannot render one's earthly physical existence as merely a worthless experience in the light of one's spiritual life. Just read my blog dedicated to trying to be a voice for the voiceless, fighting against injustices and trying to put a face on homelessness. There is comfort in knowing the love, grace and justice of God. There is irrefutable comfort in knowing that God, through Jesus, is the loving Savior who says "Vengeance is mine, I will repay", "blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" and "blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven". There will be a Day when all the ghastly atrocities and injustices seen in this dark world will be overturned, and a new heaven and a new earth will be experienced. Then, and only then, injustice, oppression and murder will be defeated and cast into the lake of fire!