Thoughts from a soldier stationed in Brooklyn on the shooting of a black teen
Seventeen seconds, that's all it was,
Why not eighteen? Maybe it was because,
Of his age or his race or his financial position,
Or because he was from Brooklyn that they made the decision,
To give him seventeen seconds on the morning news,
Then they took two minutes to discuss the make-up we use.
The latest action movie took up another two,
And that led to a minute of Hollywood who-screwed-who,
But to me the one who got screwed was the kid who got killed,
Only seventeen seconds to cover the blood that was spilled.
After Hollywood they spent minutes on political debate,
But only seventeen seconds for this act of hate,
"Shots fired", "bystander", "half past eight",
"Sedan", "unknown", "police will investigate".
Where is the outrage as they drone on?
If I were reading the news I would have stopped but they just roll on,
Paris Hilton flashes a camera and it makes news for days,
But this kids seventeen seconds have already faded away.
So why do I care? I'm not from around here,
A Brooklyn poseur, lived here only a year.
Why act like this kids death had some impact on me,
I'm not from Brooklyn, never lived in "the hood",
I'm not black, as you can see,
The reason this kids life meant something to me,
Is those seventeen seconds of inequity.
I might not have lived in these streets and lived your pain,
But we have something in common, something the same,
I don't know Brownsville, but I'm familiar with Baghdad,
And the inequities on Court Street is something that we had,
Three thousand of my friends, three thousand of my brothers,
Three thousand husbands and fathers and brothers,
Three thousand letters sent to weeping mothers,
Those seventeen seconds is what we share with each other,
The value of our life or our death on the news,
Whether it happens in Baghdad or on Flatbush next to you,
The soldier's name if it's mentioned at all is forgotten,
Just like this kid, the reporters already forgot him.
They've moved on to steroids or millionaire's car wrecks,
They'll move on to whatever keeps bringing in paychecks,
This kid from Brooklyn, this soldier from Iraq,
It just doesn't sell like some actor on crack,
So I'm in the Army, and I've barely lived here a year,
Home is where you hang your hat and I hang my hat here,
This is what we have in common, this is our bond,
These seventeen seconds that are already gone.
My friends, your friends, my brothers, your brothers,
Maybe tomorrow it's you and me,
Victims of this inequity,
Dropped at the mall shopping,
Or in Baghdad with IED's popping,
Seventeen seconds and stopping,
Lives over, pop the top, news is hopping,
Thirty minutes to cover the day,
Who's to say today we can only pay,
Seventeen seconds for this kid blown away,
One second for each year of his life? Okay,
Well, not me, not my life,
Seventeen seconds to comfort my wife,
And kids when I pass away?
Not me, not going down,
With only seventeen seconds of sound,
I do not accept, do not expect,
Seventeen seconds to comfort the bereft,
So what's left?
What aspect do I present,
To fight this prospect that I resent,
I invite you to inspect what I represent,
Not seventeen seconds, that's for sure,
I want more,
I want for you and me what life has in store.
Isn't this the golden shore?
The lady with the lamp didn't say give me your tired, your poor,
And I'll give you seventeen seconds.