Saturday, July 17, 2010

Memories of Marcus: A sad Saturday in Berkeley

Every Saturday morning, me and my granddaughter Mena do pretty much the same thing. First we walk over to Sconehenge on Shattuck and buy Mena a carrot-zuchini muffin. Then we walk up to Whole Foods on the corner of Telegraph and Ashby and get some bacon and eggs from their "salad bar" breakfast buffet. For just two or three dollars, you can pick up enough bacon and eggs to keep you going all morning.

And then it's on to the Claremont branch of the Berkeley Public Library for the toddler story time. Mena loves books. Plus they've got a great Lego table in the children's section.

After that we walk up on College Avenue to pick out a balloon at Sweet Dreams toy store. Today Mena wanted an orange balloon. "Watch out for trees," the sales clerk said. Right you are. Last week's balloon ended up getting popped by a balloon-eating tree.

Next we turn right on Russell Street, go to Nabalom Bakery, get a nice slice of cheesecake for only two dollars and listen to a jazz band playing oldies on a keyboard, ukulele and slide guitar. And then we walk back home down Stuart Street.

That's pretty much been our schedule every Saturday for the last year or so, rain or shine. But today was different. Today me and Mena were on a mission -- everywhere we walked, we collected flowers. Sorry, Stuart Street gardeners, but it was for a good cause.

After the library and the cheesecake and the walk, we went home, got some chalk and went over to write "I love you" on the sidewalk where young Marcus Mosley had been killed Friday night.

I've known Marcus since he was four years old. He used to play with my son Joe. Joe and Marcus were born just three months apart. Joe will turn 31 this October. Marcus will not. Hearing about Marcus's death was like a punch in the gut for me -- but it must have been so much more terrible and even a whole lot worse for his mother. I can't even imagine what it would be like to lose a son. I can't even imagine the anguish that his mother must be going through right now.

I remember Marcus when he was seven years old, playing football with Joe and Nigel out in the play area next to Nigel's home. I remember it like it was yesterday. And now Marcus is gone. Shot and killed in a drive-by. "Maybe Marcus was up to no good," someone said. I don't the freak care! I don't care if he was a saint or a devil or an avatar in disguise or whatever. I just want Marcus back here, back home -- and ALIVE.

Today at a benefit concert for Arnieville, Michael Parenti spoke about the tragedy of Marcus's death and equated Friday's waste of human life here in Berkeley with the daily waste of human life that is constantly going on all over the world -- as the oligarchs and corporatists who own America spend all our wealth on weapons, guns and instruments of death instead of on life. And Parenti is right.

Imagine a world where guns and weapons are no longer allowed to be manufactured and sold and promoted as being the best way -- the ONLY way -- to solve disagreements or settle feuds. What if mothers all over the world no longer had to cry out for their dead sons? What if the only loud, scary, popping sound we were to ever hear again would only be caused by Mena's balloon running into a tree?

What if all of us mothers in the world finally united together and said, "No more! Enough! Not one more mother's son more will ever have to die under the gun."

I think that Marcus would have liked that.