The locations change; the shooters and victims change. Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Parkland, Orlando—mass shooting tragedies at so many schools.
Akiel Denkins, North Carolina; Samuel Debose, Ohio; Brendon Glenn, California, Freddie Gray, Maryland, Gregory Gunn, Alabama, Walter Scott, South Carolina, Christian Taylor, Texas, Michael Brown, Missouri, Philando Castille, Minnesota—black men all—killed by police, for little or no reason.
These incidents have shattered our calm, changed our concepts of safety. Students now live in fear of other students; young black men live in fear of the police. Mothers, fathers, widows, siblings, and friends mourn the loss of loved ones. In the aftermath of these senseless tragedies, we unite; we send thoughts; we send prayers. Each time we are left afraid, not just for the fallen, but for ourselves as well.
Public uproar follows every incident, and we hear pledges for change. However, little changes. Police continue to kill unarmed black men; troubled students continue to pray on fellow classmates. Why can we unite in grief, but not in solutions to the epidemic of violence? Until we unite to find solutions, the devastation will continue to plague this country.
As certain as I am that families of the victims appreciate our thoughts and prayers, I am equally certain our violent trends will not be cured by them. Actions speak louder than thoughts and prayers. If you call yourself a constitutionist, if the 2nd Amendment is important to you, so must individual liberty, so must each citizen’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. All rights are not created equal. How can a ‘pro-life’ religious citizen also advance a position that prioritizes the right to carry weapons that so frequently ends lives? Do we protect our guns or our citizens? Isn’t this an easy choice? Can’t we all agree on common-sense change?
Betrayal in Black, my fourth and latest Zachary Blake Legal Thriller, focuses on police brutality and race relations.
In a fictional Michigan town, a man is pulled over by the local police. The driver wonders: “What did I do wrong?” The officer asks for I.D.; the driver casually mentions he legally carries a gun. The officer panics—confusion reigns—shots ring out—an innocent man lays bleeding to death and the incident is captured on video. The shooting becomes the national headline—the dead man is black—the shooter is white. A community is thrown into chaos. Protestors on both sides of the racial divide take to the streets.
A widow struggles to make sense of senseless tragedy. She turns to high-profile trial lawyer, Zachary Blake. Together, they dare to fight city hall. Will police lie to protect the status quo?
This important study of our criminal and civil justice systems in action is currently on sale at Amazon.com. For volume purchases by teachers, administrators, educators, schools, or librarians, please reach out to me at www.markmbello.com. I would love to introduce this novel to your school and will make myself available for an important presentation about how literature can be used as a tool to promote civil, criminal, and social justice advocacy. Visitors to the website are also encouraged to subscribe to my email list for the latest news and special offers.
Coming in spring 2020, I will be releasing Betrayal High, my fifth Zachary Blake Legal Thriller, the story of a school shooting told from multiple perspectives.
Jake pulls out the phone. The buzzing sound is a text from Kenny.
Where are you?
Stay there. Someone has a gun. Lock the door. Tell the teacher.
Where are you?
Central lobby. Five people just got shot, right in front of me.
That’s the last time Jake heard from his older brother.
Can Zachary Blake take on the national gun establishment and corrupt corporate power and achieve justice for the victims?
These important novels are inspired by real cases and explore some of our countries most difficult challenges. Perhaps we can start a dialogue, effect common-sense change, and save lives through literature and social justice advocacy. I’m willing if you are.