Stop Asking Us To Respect the Flag When You Can’t Respect Our Lives

Stop.

Just stop.

Stop asking me to respect the flag and respect the military and respect police when it seems no one seems to have much respect for us. Today I saw a guy that was blowing things up in New York and that shot at two police officers walk away with his life. In the same day I saw a guy who’s car simply broke down shot dead in the street like a wounded dog. Wait, we don’t shoot dogs. Shot dead like a black man.

I’m not a rapper, I’m not a thug, I’m not a politician. I don’t have anything noble to say and I don’t have anything ignorant to say. I’m just a man that is tired of feeling like I have to justify why my life matters? A cop shoots a man with his hands up and the narrative is, “Black guys kill black guys all the time; you aren’t whining about that.” I do talk about that and I also hold men and women that talk oaths to serve and protect us to higher standards.

I’m 33 years old. I have never been in a set of handcuffs in my life. I don’t disrespect police when I’m pulled over. I don’t believe that all cops are bad. I don’t hate America or those that protect her. But I do hate that I and those that look like me will never have the same protections as others.

Last week Sandra Bland’s family got paid 1.9 million dollars for her life. She’ll never laugh at Thanksgiving or take her children to orientation at college but 1.9 million should calm the natives. Today I watched a man with his vehicle stalled and his hands up get shot down, how much is his life going to be worth?IMG_0109

Why Are We So Quick to Demonize Black Women? Why Are Black Men So Silent? The Korryn Gaines Story

korryn You know what I’ve noticed these past couple months, with almost 100% certainty if I say anything praising or defending black women I will get a get a man that disagrees with me. He’ll say something like, “You’re pandering to them” or “You’re just telling them what they want to hear.” I’m often confused because most of my statements aren’t the kind of statements that cause friction but none the less these guys come at me guns blazing.

I know four things about the Korryn Gaines story.

1. She has a 20 minute video where she was pulled over and it doesn’t make her look good. People have seen that video and decided she deserves whatever happened to her.

2. The police lied about getting the key from the super and kicked in her door. They shot first when she was holding a child.

3. In Houston about a month ago the police were shot at and after an 8 hour standoff things ended peacefully. In Norfolk, Virginia there was a 7 hour standoff with a gunman and police and things ended peacefully. But after 6 hours the police that accidently broke a guy’s spine decided this woman was a threat.

4. A woman that lived on social media has all her social media deleted right after she’s gunned down?

I’m a smart enough man to know two things. The first is I’m not going to sit on this computer and condemn police for a murdering a black woman when I don’t know what happened in that apartment. The second is I’m not going to condemn a black woman for provoking police when they kicked in her door over parking tickets. I have a ticket for an expired inspection sticker, should I expect a SWAT team to kick in my door, shoot my dog, pull my girl half naked into the front yard and handcuff me? That’s what we’re doing over parking tickets? We get so caught up into wanting to make people victims or heroes that we tend to forget most of these violent encounters start over the smallest things. Parking tickets? Selling CD’s? Selling DVD’s? A broken taillight? When does common sense overtake the need to be right?

“Korryn Gaines used her son as a shield?” “Korryn Gaines should have never had a gun?” Even though she was in her own home. Korryn Gaines wanted to fight with the police even though they kicked her door in. Do I believe black men need to stand up and scream Black Lives Matter and get angry over Korryn? No, not at all, but I do believe that we should just accept she was in the wrong and move on? When police shoot someone they often lie about the circumstances, especially when there’s no video. This is a fact. So why are we so quick to throw this woman away?

People will accuse me of pandering to women for saying what I’m about to say but I know it’s the truth. Had that been an attractive black man in a room protecting his cute son with a shotgun from officers that kicked in his door over parking tickets black women all over this country would be shouting his name! Black men would be posting Malcolm X quotes and talking about how he went out protecting his family! We would give him not only the benefit of the doubt but even if he was in the wrong we’d make him a legend. Not only are people not waiting for the facts to come out but they are calling this woman everything from a fool to a coward to a crazy person. I don’t need anyone to answer me but I’ll ask anyway. If the roles were reversed would black women be this silent for us?

How Much Is A Life Worth?

batonThis past week has opened up my eyes to what so many people see me as. When you get caught up in being in your bubble you tend to forget that there’s a world out there that will always see you as a nigger. In my 6 years of writing this blog, this may be my first time saying this word.

These past two weeks have opened my eyes to something I was ignorant too. No matter your education, your intelligence level. The way you speak or the way you dress, too certain segments of this population seeing a black face means the same.
The moment I walked into my doctor’s office and told them I had an accident the first question they asked me was, “What lawyer sent you?” Thought that was odd but okay. I go back a week later and tell them I need a refill on my prescription, they ask, “You sure you’re in pain?” Thought that was odd but okay. I tell them my job needs an update and I’m told, “We can make sure you’re off work for months if you don’t want to work. They’ll pay for it.” Now it’s not odd, now there’s no okay. I want my fingers to heal so I can write, I want my shoulder to not feel like it’s in a vice grip every time I sit down or lie down. These implications that I’m a scammer or junkie or don’t want to work are offensive. “But sir, we didn’t ummm…” You didn’t what? Realize that these dumb ass assumptions are either racist or ignorant?

We can tell these boys and men out here to speak better English. To present yourself better, to watch how you talk to people, hold your head down, don’t make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t ask questions, don’t put yourself in a position to be misunderstood and shot. What is it going to take for us to stop asking these questions? To stop going at each other and realize we need each other? Would it be easier if a man like me was shot? A guy with no criminal record and no questionable pictures, a guy that has hundreds of blogs and articles people can quote? Life is life and not everyone’s life comes in a pretty package but they still deserve that life if they haven’t done anything to lose it.

Today I Sold My Guns and I Feel Safer For It

sandy-hook-638x458A part of me wanted to google dates of mass shootings and tell the story of where I was when each one happened but if I’m being honest I’ve become desensitized like most Americans. I see the news, I imagine the horror but it no longer shocks me. That is until this weekend. That is until I was on Instagram last night and I saw that one of the people killed just graduated high school. I started to think about my little sisters and cousins that are around that age, that probably go to clubs and parties and I just take for granted that they’ll come home safely. The same way those victims’ families thought they would make it home safely.

When Sandy Hook happened I cried for the first time in a long time over something I saw on the news. I remember being at work driving and they said on the radio that an elementary school was under attack. And then I remember logging on Facebook and seeing the live time updates and seeing this picture of a little girl that was murdered. I remember looking at that picture and thinking, “Why do I feel like my daughter would look just like that?”

Today I was sitting in my bedroom and I looked over at a .32 Smith and Westin I keep on my nightstand. It’s a simple gun, six shoots, it never jams. I keep it on the nightstand at night just in case some criminal and group of ninjas kick down my door and I’m forced to defend myself. It’s been on that nightstand since I moved into this house and I’ve never shot it. Not at the gun range, not in my backyard on New Year’s Eve, not at a person. As I’m watching the news yesterday and I’m hearing about all the murders and all the violence, it hit me. I don’t know anyone that’s been murdered by a gun. .I’ve never had a family member shot. I’ve never been car jacked or shot. I’m more likely to die in a car crash because I’m texting than I am in a mass shooting.

Today I sold my guns because they’re more likely to be used by my future children to kill each other than they are to be used by me to kill an intruder. Today I sold my guns because I don’t go hunting, because I’m not going to be sitting in a restaurant and a man comes in shooting and I decide to be Rambo. Today I sold my guns because I’m tired of hearing about these mass shootings and just talking and writing. I’m tired of letting the media make me believe that at any moment I’m going to get 11 bullets put in my body when it rarely happens. Today I sold my guns because I’m not a gangster, because I don’t want another mans’ blood on my hands. Today I sold my guns because I feel safer with them outside of the house than I do with them inside of the house.

 

 

 

Changing My Brothers Fate

20140703-065049.jpg“Where is he?” It had been at least two years since I’d seen him. Maybe longer than that. There were about ten or twelve people in the room and I didn’t recognize any of them but his wife. She stood out from the rest of them, her posture and mannerisms were the first thing that gave her away. Even though she didn’t come from where we came from she still played the part. Asking them if they wanted anything to drink or fixing plates. A part of me knew it was all just to keep herself busy.

Rubbing her shoulder, trying to meet her eyes, I asked her again. “Where is he?”

“Why are you worried now? He blames himself you know. He still talks about you like you’re his bestfriend. I didn’t know bestfriends gave up on each other.” She needed someone to take her frustrations out on. I knew she missed me, they both missed me but I did what I knew was best. At least that’s what I thought, until looking in her eyes.

The woodwork in the kitchen was beautiful, hand crafted. The entire living room was glass on three sides. The last time I was here they’d just started construction and now it was everything she designed.

“Where is he?”

She slammed the glass down on the counter making a few of the men in the room look our way, the look she gave them let them know this wasn’t their fight.

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“One picture. He only keeps one picture in the garage. It’s not of his mother or his brother. It’s not of our children! Who I’m afraid to have around right now because some fool might come shooting! The only picture he has in his beloved garage is of us. You, me and him. It’s not just him you gave up on Alek! You gave up on me, on your godchildren. He’s in the garage. He wanted to be alone but his people aren’t going to leave him. They have their faults but their loyal.”

I know she needed to talk, needed to vent but today wasn’t about her.

They all grilled me as I walked across the living room but they were his dogs and his dogs wouldn’t bite unless they were instructed to. I didn’t recognize the young guys in the living room but the two at the door immediately started smiling and stood up when they saw me.

Aaron and Allen were twins and they’d grown up with us. We all played baseball together. My career ended in high school once I realized my fast ball topped out at 60 mph. Aaron and Allen were suspended for fighting and just said screw school. Niles was the best out of all of us. He could swing a bat like Ken Griffy Jr. and throw a ball like Roger Clemens but once the three of us stopped playing, so did he. I graduated to college and the three of them graduated to the streets.

Aaron and Allen lived Niles because he gave them purpose. They were just being thugs to be thugs but Niles gave them a reason to be thugs. He took pistols out of their hands and told them to use them only when necessary. He showed them how to save money and get what they wanted with respect and not fear. They were his soldiers and even though they were smiling I could see the disappointment in their eyes.

“It’s been a minute Alek, hate for this to be the reason you’re coming to see your man.”

“How is he?”

“You know Niles, he’s ice; but that’s mostly for the soldiers. It was his brother. Outside of us going to the funeral home and the service today, he hasn’t left the garage. The streets are waiting and the goons are getting antsy but we won’t do nothing until the boss tells us which way to rock.”

Stepping past them and taking the stairs down into the garage he saw why he spent so much time down. Calling it a garage was a disservice. There were three cars in there and a couple bikes but there was also a pool table, a bar, a couple couches and full bath. He was still wearing the suit he wore at the funeral, the sleeves were rolled up and his tie was loosened on his neck.

There was music playing in the background but he didn’t know the rapper. He was polishing the candy red Impala. There were two luxury cars and an SUV in the driveway but he was focused on the oldest car in the garage. The one he’d bought from his brother when he was only 16 for 600 dollars. They went all over Texas in that car and got stuck so many times they both learned how to work on cars.

Walking towards him he looked up and threw the rag on the ground before breaking out into a big smile. It started with a handshake before he pulled him in to a hug. They’d been friends since they’d both been forced to sit in church all day at the age of 5. They’d borrowed clothes, fought together, shared women and money. But at some point Alek had to make the decision that the life Niles was living was going to get him killed and he couldn’t watch his bestfriend go down that path. Walking away from his friend meant walking away from the wife he introduced him to and the godchildren he’d come to love.

“They shot him like a dog in a ditch A! They caught him leaving home and going to work and hit him over 24 times. My brother wouldn’t about this life! You know that shit! Everybody know that shit! The police acting like this over a bitch but what nigga you know do ambush him and hit him that many times and be that clean getting away if it was over a bitch?”

He grabbed the bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label off the bar and poured us both a glass before he picked up a football and started throwing it in the air.

“He asked about you a lot. He thought maybe you tried to creep with my wife or some shit like that. Everyone asks about you, even my kids and you know… I don’t have answers for none of them because like them I’ve spent so much time trying to realize why my bestfirend got ghost on me when I needed him the most! When his bestfriend, my wife needed him! I buried my brother today but I buried my other brother the day you walked out on us!”

“You know why I had to leave bro. You have enough money, you got the house and the wife and the businesses, why the streets!? If you don’t get got by whoever hit your brother or the cops, it’s going to be one of those young boys upstairs that want your spot!”

He threw the football at the wall and got in his face.

“They don’t want my spot! They just want to be on a winning team! They know loyalty, unlike you A. What do you want man? What do you want?”

Putting his drink down on the table he straightened his own tie and looked Niles in the face.

“I know who killed your brother.”

To Be Continued…

It Could Have Been Someone You Loved

youngSometimes we get so caught up in race or the moment that we ignore the injustice. Imagine getting a call while you’re at work or while you’re cooking dinner that he’s dead? Or that she’s not coming home?

He can be your son, your man, your father, your brother…

She can be your daughter, your wife, your bestfriend, your lover…

In May 2009, 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father Raul Flores were murdered in Arizona. Three men walked into their home and killed them screaming ‘Go back to Mexico!’ They followed them, waited until it got dark and killed them. After they shot her father, the little girl screamed ‘Please don’t shoot me.’ And she was then shot in the face. The mother watched shot and bleeding as her husband and daughter were executed for being Hispanic.

The Huffington Post

The family was 5th generation American.

“On March 13 2012 when five men pulled up alongside them in car while shouting anti-gay slurs. One of the victims was hit in the head with a baseball bat four times and lost consciousness, while other man tried to fight back and was caught in the passenger side of the attackers’ vehicle and dragged a short distance.”

These two men were black and weren’t even homosexual.

The Dallas Morning News

On November 25th 2006 Sean Bell was shot on the morning of his wedding. 50 bullets were shot at an unarmed man. The police wore plain clothes and never identified themselves as officers. Charges were brought and they were found not guilty.

No weapon or wrong doing was ever found on the victim’s part.

On February 26 2012 Trayvon Martin was walking in a hoodie with candy and a tea and gunned down in a gated community. No record, no weapon… He was simply black in a neighborhood where his father shouldn’t have been able to afford to live. There was a scream, there was a gunshot, there was silence.

His killer is still at large.

A mother watches her husband and daughter die because they were Hispanic.

A wife buries her fiancé instead of making love to him on their honeymoon.

Two families stand in hospital rooms hoping their sons make it because they were beat with baseball bats and dragged simply because they looked ‘gay.’

A mother and father give interview after interview about their son being murdered in cold blood instead of getting ready for his high school graduation or senior prom. They march and pray that justice comes instead of praying that he makes it home safely from the store.

There’s no color when it comes to discrimination! There’s no sex when it comes to hate! These cowards, these losers hide behind guns and fear and take lives of innocent people! Of children! Black, brown, gay, Jewish! We’re all human and we all deserve to live and be happy and safe! It could have been me, it could have been my little cousin or my brother or my nephews!

It could have been your son or your brother or your co-worker! Shot with candy and fucking tea! Murdered because you’re Mexican and living in America! There are a million cases of Trayvon Martin’s in America in a million different shapes, sizes and colors!

There are evil bitch ass white men in this world and even worst black men! Don’t make this about race, make this about justice and life! We have to stick together and we have to have a voice! If I died tonight all I want to know is that I was loved and that my death meant something to someone!

This kid’s death means something to everyone! So let’s give him the future in death that that coward took from him in life! If you see discrimination or hate or participate in it, STOP! Because the next time it could be someone you love! The more people that speak up the more people will second guess pulling up to a black man or woman or person in a hoodie and pulling a trigger!

RIP Trayvon Martin

RIP Emmet Till

RIP Sean Bell

RIP Matthew Shepard

RIP Countless Others…

“A Sisters Revenge”

381362_610561693495_118401058_31642797_1750460711_n It’s amazing what people don’t see when someone is making you smile. He kept pulling his hair from his face so she could see his eyes. He never touched her or made any aggressive moves, he let the bartender bring the drinks and gave nice tips each time she walked away. As far as she was concerned he was the perfect gentleman. Funny, handsome, charmingly aggressive. But what she didn’t see, what none of the women saw was the small white powder he slipped in the 3rd drink. 30 minutes would go by before she started to feel dizzy, an hour before she started to get sleepy. By that time he would be holding her up, hailing a taxi like the perfect gentleman.

What she didn’t know, what none of the women knew was that it wasn’t just anyone driving the taxi. That in less than 24hrs whatever woman got in that taxi would be all over the internet. Some men raped for the power, some for the fear, these two did it strictly for profit.

“30 men in 30 minutes,” was the name of their site. Once a month they’d find a woman, drug her and record men running a train on her. By the time she would wake up, her clothes would be on, all her money and credit cards would be in her wallet and she’d be lying on a park bench sore and sick. Most had no memory of the night before to even go to the police and the few that did had little to go on.
But what she learned from her father was that every purp left a trail, no criminal was as smart as he thought he was. The police didn’t care about rapes that didn’t have bruises and crime scenes, most of the women just wanted to pretend like it didn’t happen but I can’t do that.
I started to walk towards them, I unbuttoned my top button and raised my skirt just enough. I blinked my eyes to make sure the eye drops gave them that watery, glossy look. Right before she took a sip I bumped into her and knocked the glass out of her hand. I saw the anger flash in his eyes but she didn’t.

“I’m soooooo soooooory, I didn’t mean to knock that down!” I slurred my words and tried to dry her clothes off even though there was nothing on her, then I turned to him and tried to dry his clothes off. Just like that the light came back to his eyes and he offered to buy me a drink.

“Ummm, you’re just going to forget about me for her!?” She really liked him, even though she was drunk I could tell she thought I was snatching a winning lottery ticket out of her hand.

Little did she know I was saving her life.

“Walk away bitch! I told you I was sorry for knocking over your drink!” She stomped off and I told him I didn’t feel and held on to him like
I would fall at any minute.

“My friend left me because her boyfriend needed a ride home from work. I didn’t mean to drink this much but finals have kicked my ass and I just needed to let loose. I need to call a cab. I need to call a cab! I NEED TO CALL A CAB!”

He rubbed my arm and asked me to calm down. “I can get a cab for you no problem, we can’t have you just going home with anyone now can we?” His smile made my stomach turn.

I saw the bright yellow minivan sitting at the corner as soon as we walked out the club. When he started to look around I noticed him pinch his ear the headlights came to life. As soon as I climbed inside I leaned over in the seat like I was asleep, my eyes weren’t even closed but it was so dark he couldn’t see.

“The bitch is sleep, I’m turning around now.” I heard the door open and shut.

“I thought I’d fucked up the whole thing, right when the bitch I’d been working on all night was about to drink the shit this dumb cunt knocks the glass out her hands. At first I was pissed off but then I offered her a drink and she downed it now problem.”
“You sure no one noticed anything? After the last one you know we have to be careful.”

The last one he was speaking of killed herself after her fiancé saw the video of her having sex with man after man, smiling and begging for more. He couldn’t accept that it was the drugs talking and not her. Her family couldn’t accept that their perfect little girl was a whore so she slit her wrist and the story got national attention for a day or so before it was knocked out the headlines.

“I’m positive! Look at her body, we can charge a thousand a pop for her and can you imagine what the tapes are going to sell for?”

The more they talked the angrier I got by I just laid there, waiting, listening.

“Everything is already set up, as soon as we get to the warehouse I’ll send the blast for the guys to start showing up. First come, first serve.”

The taxi stopped and I could hear a garage door opening. I took the knife out of my garter belt and held it in my hands. I asked God for forgiveness as they started to let the garage door down. How many women laid here and felt helpless, how many women were violated and abused and screamed on the inside for help before their world went dark. The more I thought about it the tighter I squeezed the blade. As soon as the garage door slammed shut I reached around and slit the back of his neck right above the spine at the base of his neck. He wasn’t dead but he was paralyzed from the waist down. He didn’t even have a chance to scream. Before his partner could move I was on him, one eye hanging out the socket and two fingers missing.

The knife was so sharp it cut thru him like hot butter.

Blood all over my face and clothes, his screams silenced by his tongue lying on the floor next to the brakes I saw every woman that felt helpless in their eyes.

Twenty minutes later I was finished and they would never hurt another soul again. My clothes were changed and soaking in bleach, peroxide, tar and sitting in the backseat of the taxi. They were still alive but barely, in a minute they would wish they were dead. Throwing the match in the van I watched as the flames caught their bodies and they shook violently.

Blue jeans, a t-shirt and chucks no one would give me a second look walking back to campus with my backpack on and baseball cap over my eyes. Tonight was a good night, no one else would be hurt by them tonight.