On October 17th, 2014 Robert Edward Torrence Sr. was shot while standing in the front yard of his home; his life slipped away a few hours later and he was no longer Robert Torrence he was homicide victim 117. Before October 17th, 2014 Robert who was often called King or Tr33z, was more than just a number; he was a father of 4 amazing children, a brother and a son, and he was also my bestfriend. He was not a thug or a drug dealer nor was he the intended target; but the streets seem to take no prisoners and show no mercy.
*This is part one of a two part series. I have written about the violence in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri for a very long time. I have been an advocate for victims of violence since the murder of my childhood friend in late 2006. So this is nothing new for me and I am not jumping on the band wagon. Being a voice for those who have been victimized is my purpose and I fully intend to walk in it.*
“When you tell YOUR story, YOU hold your own pen. Don’t let anyone write YOUR story!~Tracy Martin
As an ROTC flight commander in high school I remember calling cadence, and there were a few cadence we would do so “by the numbers”. I also remember during my time spent in the Army our drill sergeants also called cadence “by the numbers”. I’m sure you are like what in the world is she getting at with this? It will all make sense momentarily I promise.
“What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with
us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!” ~Frederick Douglass
I remember not too long ago sitting in a monthly staff meeting when one of my co-workers, conveniently nicknamed “The Professor” stood up and quoted the above infamous speech of Frederick Douglass. At the time it was comical and we all broke into an uncontrollable bout of laughter. It was last night as I sat watching local news as reports and videos of the riots taken place in Ferguson, Missouri that this quote made perfect sense. Following the unwarranted shooting death of teen Michael Brown, Jr by a Ferguson Police officer on the afternoon of August 9th, 2014 our city was in an uproar. It was following a peaceful protest and candlelight vigil at the scene of the this tragedy that a riot ensued.