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Love’s Gonna Getcha’ (A History of Violence)

There are a million different ways to say “I love you”. As a male, even if whispered from the softest of lips from the one who holds us in the highest regards, the premise still seems unfathomable; it makes us uneasy. It doesn’t always come in the form of physical contact; it’s frequently delivered in subtle methods such as, “Put on your seatbelt.”; “Watch your step.”; “Did you eat?” or “Get some rest.” So as a man, imagine how uncomfortable it is when one of your brethren conveys that sentiment in any form. The slightest expression of emotion, the least bit of vulnerability is met with resistance or disdain. “Alright!” or “Stop tripping” are phrases that you might typically hear in response to adulation. An often time, a quick change of subject is warranted to re-regulate the testosterone loss by any displays of affection. “The male has paid a heavy price for his masculine ‘privilege’ and power.” According to Dr. William S. Pollack in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, “Although boys have the same emotional potential as girls, their emotional range is soon limited to a menu of three (3) related feelings: rage, triumph, and lust.” Anything else and they risk being seen as a sissy, says Dr. Pollack. Society demands that men display “machismo” at every turn; and culturally, as a black male there are but two (2) reactions that can be made when faced with conflict; fight or flight; there is no in-between.

Long before deciphering the concepts of the Willie Lynch letter – The Making of a Slave (in one case pitting black male against black male), the publication of Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, or understanding the dynamics of the prison industrial complex, there was October 15, 1997. The phrase “black-on-black crime” was first brought to the mainstream media in the early 1970s, which included Ebony magazine using the phrase in a November 1973 editorial titled, “What Can Be Done?” As an individual growing up in that era, as I matured, it was a normal part of my existence. On that overcast October morning, myself and two (2) of my dear friends were involved in a violent altercation. When I reflect upon the run-in, it was incomprehensible. The echo of gunfire reverberated off the surrounding structures as a number of bullets pierced the skin of my fallen comrade. We had all scattered in different directions after he attempted to remove the weapon the assailant pointed at his head away from his face; seeking to deprive him of the currency and jewelry he had in his possession. As the tires squealed from the vehicle that was left idling in the adjacent parking lot, and fled northbound on the major roadway making their escape, I rushed over to my companion to discover what damage had been inflicted upon him. There were no tribal screams or acts of rage, flailing arms or legs as depicted in cinema; just a feeling of disbelief and remorse. I had seen this coming; spotted the play as it was taking place, and had done nothing to prevent it. I would like to think my skepticism about the events even taking place would relieve me of any guilt I may have had, but honestly we were slipping; I was slipping. We took the fact that we were in our neighborhood for granted and thought our stature in the community made us immune to incidents such as this. That was a lesson I’ve never forgotten.

The paramedics quickly arrived on the scene and our friend was airlifted to a hospital that managed those types of injuries. I had been out of college almost four (4) years and was three (3) years into my career in law enforcement when the confrontation transpired. So as the police conducted their investigation, numbered cones marked shell casings and yellow tape intertwined with trees and branches, questions needed to be answered. Admittedly, neither I nor many of my immediate friends were cut from a fabric of cutthroats and killers. Like most of Middle America during that period, we enjoyed mimicking the lyrics of our favorite gangsta rap artists and lived vicariously through movie characters like Doughboy from Boys N The Hood or O-Dog from Menace II Society. But after witnessing what had transpired, I believe we were all willing to take penitentiary chances in an attempt to get retribution for the possible loss of our homeboy. A visit to the hospital determined that he would recover and the only thing left was to “get our man/men”. After the laughter subsided, the saline solution was properly filled and administered, bed pan checked and breathing apparatuses were in place, there was a sense of angst in the air; a collective tension that justified action needed to be taken. Traveling to the police station once removing the bullets from my hood after leaving the hospital, I contemplated what measures needed to be taken to satisfy my desire to avenge the earlier proceedings. Was I willing to go to jail and throw away my career for the sake of attaining “street justice” and to not look “green” (soft) for failing to retaliate for an occurrence for which I was involved? It was a no-brainer. I contacted Azreal AKA Samael (the Angel of Death) who was willing to help undertake the task of delivering vengeance. And similar to Dough, Lil’ Chris and Monster, but without the convertible ‘64 Impala, we rode through the streets of then Unincorporated Miami-Dade County looking for our transgressors.

In retrospect, I am glad we never found the culprits that dreary, fall evening. There was a case of mistaken identity and misinformation. It is amazing how a series of events can cause a chain reaction which could plummet an individual into the pits of purgatory. I still have the deposition that reads, “State of Florida v. (insert name)”. The charges were Robbery, Gun/Deadly Weapon 1st Degree Murder/Premeditated and Robbery Gun/Deadly Weapon. The funny thing is we, myself in particular, have had plenty of opportunities to have our revenge; if death were our intent. It is common for most people not to recognize individuals that they have casual to little contact with. Perhaps either of them could not identify us; maybe they did not care and thought we were not going to do anything; just some clean cut rabble rousers living their lives and not causing trouble. On one remote Sunday afternoon years later, my friends and I were all together, ironically at the scene of the crime by the basketball court. The primary suspect in question was in our view, less than one hundred (100) feet away; none the wiser to who we were and our possible intent. I spoke with the individual who nearly had their life taken by this person; identified the individual as the perpetrator of the offense and asked him what he wanted to do. Any answering would have been acceptable while awaiting his reply. He had lived through that unpleasant experience; had to endure the pain and heal both physically and emotionally. If he would have said, “Let’s duct tape that shit and put his ass in the trunk”, I would have gone along and help commit the dastardly deed. Being raised in a broken home or lack of formal education would not be the justification for my decision making; as I enjoyed the benefits of being raised in a two (2) parent home and being an academic scholar. Anything that would have help make him whole again, although wrong and knowing the ramifications, I would have prayed to have had the courage to undertake the task, and would have done so because of my love and loyalty to him. I would not have asked for anything in return because in my mind, that’s what you’re supposed to do as a friend; be all in. With adrenaline rapidly coursing through my veins, I reluctantly awaited his response with anticipation. “Nah…!! I’m good!” We never asked for the reasoning behind his answer, just a retort of, “You sure?” And from that point, the subject was never broached again until the writing of this piece. The entire incident has been lost to the annals time; only raised when expanding the mythology of the individual who was summoned to help swing his scythe as the Grim Reaper.

The phrase “black-on-black crime” makes sense only if you understand our propensity to commit crimes against people of our own race as inherently different from the way other racial groups commit crimes. There is no difference; crime is crime. In our case, look at how many lives a continued cycle of violence would have damaged. We may not have lived or been free from incarceration to have careers, be a presence in our children lives, create generational wealth for our families, or be mentors and educators. That is what is lost in the equation of violence amongst our own. If I get into an altercation with someone and as a result kill them, then essentially there are two (2) or more people no longer apart of society; unless it’s determined I committed the action in self-defense, there is a strong likelihood that I will be incarcerated for an extended period of time. As males, without our presence and the ability to reproduce, there would not be children. If children were had prior to the incident, there is no fatherly guidance. Without a male figure present, there is no family dynamic or structure. Upon release from a correctional facility, there is now an economic toll that has to be paid; the inability to get public housing, food stamps, student loans; one’s ability to succeed is hindered. In whichever case, there would have been either a choir singing or commissary bringing. At the time of the robbery, neither I nor any of my immediate friends (seven of us) had children; collectively we now have seven (7). I cannot speak for any of them, but his decision to say no definitely saved my life. In my twenties, I would have thrown it all away to get the respect from my peers by retaliating for the incident; to show my loyalty and prove myself as gangsta as any tattooed, grill wearing so-called “real nigga”; never thinking about having to retain an attorney to fight for my freedom or how any of us leaving the block (by death or incarceration) will allow another soldier to fill our shoes. If jailed, perhaps the continuous changing of the months on the calendar would have provided a sense of regret. For those armchair quarterbacking saying, “It couldn’t have been me!” it is easy to utter foolish rhetoric until placed in that life altering position. The prospect of taking another’s life weighs heavily on the human psyche. Who wants to send “kites” from cell to cell as a form of communication or use mirrors as an instrument for social interaction; or have family and loved ones mourn a loss clad in black attire? I am eternally grateful for the opportunities I have had to live and see my friend recover and move past that moment in time. I have never inquired if there were any psychological scars as a result of being shot; I am sure he would not tell me the truth if asked. On many occasions I have told the harbinger of bereavement how appreciative I am for him always being there when I have appealed for his services; it was not until I reached this state of consciousness that I realized how valuable my friend’s decision was to my current existence. The thoughts of our possible response play out like a nightmare in my subconscious and often times haunts my existence. Love comes in any many different fashions. Who would have ever thought the word “No” would be so reinvigorating. Thanks for making that decision King; for that, I love you.

Note: I have spoken to the victim involved in this incident prior to me sharing this story, and he said if he had to make that decision again, he would do so a thousand times. That in itself shows you that the cycle can be broken and people can rebuild themselves when tragedy befalls them. He is a better man than me; I pray I could be that forgiving. “‪‎We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)‬

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Boy Meets Girl

Boy meets girl, and falls in love.
In this world of hate and war…
Girl meets boy, and falls in love.
So let stay together, play together, days forever babe… (Boy Meets Girl – Scarface *Made*)

We all know the story, according to scripture, in the beginning there was the WORD. And from that juncture, the Grand Architect of the Universe created all that we see and hold dear. Adam was produced and according to the Holy Bible, Genesis 2:18-24, and the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And from the deception of the serpent in story until this very moment as you read this manuscript, the “ying and the yang” which is the relationship between male and female has waged forth.

The depth from the vaginal opening to the tip of the cervix is 3 to 4 inches. And as a man, the saying is you’re birthed from it, and all your life you spend trying to get back in it. Ah… P.O.P. The Power of Pussy. An interesting case study when you examine it from afar. I ask you to make an attempt to strip yourself of everything you know. The visualizations provided by magazines, television, movies and video; the influences of music which leads to unconscious decision making. How would beauty then be defined? What is its true definition? Would it still be a matter of appearance or would the attraction be a result of our innate sense as creatures to gravitate to the opposite sex due to unforeseen and unknown reasons? Alas, we live in a time where the exploits of women are never examined in their pursuit of gratification; a taboo subject to say the least. It is the male that is labeled the pursuer, the hunter, the aggressor. However, as the photograph indicates, for a woman’s affection, they are OUR conquerors.

As the late Bernie Mack expounded in one of his comedy routines, if a man could pick up a six (6) pack of p*ssy and head home without the hassle that comes with companionship, there would be a lot of lonely women walking the planet. So go ahead, pick from a treasure chest filled with romance novels, films and love songs. The common denominator is the male persona in pursuit of the female. Sure, “these hoes be acting up and these n*ggas be letting them.” The statement itself is self-explanatory; for the P.O.P. has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s an addiction that has broken up happy homes and caused wars; creates elation and produces heartache; leads to an exchanging of vows & swearing an oath to the heavenly father or having individuals appearing before a judge dividing the family belongings, or coming to an agreement for the allocation of child support. A pimp is willing to share, optimize and profit from it; the disillusioned will kill to prevent anyone else from having it, even at the expense of harming themselves; crime scene, yellow tape, forensic report and grieving friends and family all included. A father will rape his own child and beat her for her disobedience to satisfy his urges. It influences the decisions one makes and the people one associates with. And like most instruments of destruction, can be used for both good and evil. Laughable I know, but when you think about everything you’ve read in its totality, you know the font representing the words are true.

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Though the case can be made for both genders, for that “sack” or glimpse of the “camel toe” a man will exhaust all means to garner a female’s attention; fresh haircut and clothing; the nicest automobiles; an exorbitant amount of money spent on spirits laced with sparklers to garner a vixen’s notice in a conducive environment. A subtle glance in a strip club will cause precipitation of US Currency; showering dollar bills with the chance of a night of pleasure; bills and other obligations be damned. And in a public setting, denied overtures for communications are met with “Fuck you bitch” or “You must be a lesbian!” Yes sir, you wouldn’t believe how fast a THOT (That Hoe Over There) can turn into “bae” with the quickness when it comes to blood flow reaching the head of the penis. And just like the movies, the male persona will impress, search the ends of the earth, avenge the loss or even die behind it. They say there are no rules or restrictions, but OPP (Other People’s Pussy), these chicks belonging to everybody and other slogans are no longer applicable. They’re all lies. Men want their main girls and don’t want others to have access to women they associate with outside of their relationship. So as women post photos leaving jealously, negativity, heartbreak, hate and fake friends behind in 2014; where some women celebrate being professional “side bitches”; where a model receives as much attention as an “around the way girl”; and despite their achievements, the beautiful and affluent sometimes end up lonely, and the underdog is married with children, as a female, they all have equal footing and a male will ALWAYS have the craving for sexual fulfillment with any of them. Assess the lost verse of the song “These Hoes Be Acting Up” found written on papyrus on the outskirts of creation, which was originally composed by Wale & Meek Mill featuring French Montana with production by Rico Love and you’ll see..

“These hoes be acting up, and these n*ggas be lettin’ ’em.”

It’s amazing to me, when a girl see’s a n*gga with grip
All those stankin’ ass skins wanna get on ya d*ck
It’s a trip, before they would tell a n*gga to dip
But like a pocketbook, they wanna hang around by ya hip
Put a wedding band on your left hand, I don’t see that
Double X caught passenger side, they gon’ key that
Run and go tell ya girls, cc: that
Yeah I know, I know, I know I’m broke as f*ck, well I’ll be that
See that, I don’t haveta take that sh*t
N*ggas out here spending money trying to cake that b*tch
Question everything you do, can’t shake that b*tch
How you justify taking a rib to make that b*tch
Hoes up and raggedy *ss n*ggas we let ’em
Turn a blind eye to the bullsh*t and then sweat ’em
Forget ’em, with anotha chance to make that choice
Childe please, get da f*ck out my face, Chad voice!

“These hoes be acting up, and these n*ggas be lettin’ ’em.”

And despite all of that, as the great scribe Beyonce’ Knowles quaintly asked, “Who runs the world? Girls!!!” And that’s pretty much sums things up! You have a right to remain silent, however I do not recommend it! “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)

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1492

“1492. As children we were taught to memorize this year with pride and joy as the year people began living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America.  Actually, people had been living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America for hundreds of years before that.  1492 was simply the year sea pirates began to rob, cheat and kill them.”  Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

In a quote made famous by Napoleon Bonaparte, “history is a set of lies that people have agreed upon.”  During my childhood, and I can remember this tune to this very day, “In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue, he sailed and sailed and sailed and sailed to find this land for me and you.”  And with that hymn, students have been taught that Christopher Columbus led a fleet of ships (the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria – common trading vessels) across the Atlantic Ocean and “discovered” America.  Columbus Day, as we know it in the United States, was invented by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal service organization. Back in the 1930s, they were looking for a Catholic hero as a role-model their kids could look up to. In 1934, as a result of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, Congress and President Franklin Roosevelt signed Columbus Day into law as a federal holiday to honor the explorer who opened the gateway to the New World.

The chief source, and on many matters the only source of information about what happened on the islands after Columbus arrived, was noted by a Catholic priest named Bartolome De Las Casas who lived during the time of Columbus.  He transcribed Columbus’s journal and wrote a multi-volume “History of the Indies.”  De Las Casas, quit working for Columbus and became a priest as a result of the atrocities committed against the natives of the land. De Las Casas says that Columbus returned to America (West Indies) on his second voyage with seventeen ships and with more than 1,200 heavily armed men with horses and attack dogs.  Their aim was to obtain as much gold and as many slaves as possible.  He described how the Spaniards under Columbus’ command cut off the legs of children who ran from them, to test the sharpness of their blades. According to De Las Casas, the men made bets as to who, with one sweep of their sword, could cut a person in half. Bishop De Las Casas reported that the Spaniards became so lazy that they refused to walk any distance; and either rode the backs of the Arawaks or was carried on hammocks by Arawaks who ran them in relays. He continued by saying Columbus’ men poured people full of boiling soap. In other cases, the Spaniards had the Arawaks carry large leaves for their shade and had others to fan them with goose wings.  Women were used as sex slaves and their children were murdered and then thrown into the sea.   In a single day, De Las Casas was an eye witness as the Spanish soldiers dismembered, beheaded, or raped 3000 native people.  According to his writings, De Las Casas spent the rest of his life trying to protect the helpless native people. Historians and experts generally agree that before 1492, the population on the island of Hispaniola was estimated to be above three (3) million. Within twenty (20) years of Spanish arrival, it was reduced to only 60,000. Within fifty (50) years, not a single original native inhabitant could be found.  In 1516, Spanish historian Peter Martyr wrote: “… a ship without compass, chart, or guide, but only following the trail of dead Indians who had been thrown from the ships could find its way from the Bahamas to Hispaniola.”  Christopher Columbus derived most of his income from slavery, De Las Casas noted. Columbus is believed to be the first slave trader in the Americas; starting the Trans-Atlantic slave trade by taking 500 of the healthiest men back to Spain to sell into slavery, and the proceeds from the sale helped to pay for his third voyage. As the native slaves died off, they were replaced with black slaves. Columbus’ son became the first African slave trader in 1505. On his third voyage to Haiti, Queen Isabelle’s new Governor, Francisco De Bobadilla, had Christopher Columbus and his two brothers arrested and sent back to Spain in chains as prisoners for their crimes against the Arawaks.

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So with this new found knowledge, some cities throughout the United States have stopped celebrating Columbus Day and in turn are now calling it Indigenous People’s Day.  As of late, Seattle, Washington’s Mayor Ed Murray will sign Indigenous Peoples’ Day into law today (October 13th), and he noted to local media that the day is only a homage that has no municipal weight. The legislation “will honor local Native-American tribes,” the Seattle Times reports. Murray claims Indigenous Peoples’ Day will “add new significance to the date without replacing the Columbus Day tradition,” according to the paper. But when you think about it, how significant is this legislation?  How does this make up for land being stolen and ancestors being murdered?  In October 2008, President George W. Bush signed Congressman Joe Baca’s (D., California) “Native American Heritage Day Act of 2008,” which set a holiday for the day after Thanksgiving. Other than reading this article, or doing your own independent research, did you know this Act existed?  It appears to me that on the days Indigenous People are to be honored are the days of big gains for capitalism (Columbus Day sales/Black Friday).  So when you receive your discounts for those Beat By Dre headphones or that Michael Kors purse, pause and ponder to yourself, should Columbus be celebrated and have equal historical significance as Martin Luther King Jr. or Abraham Lincoln? The answer is evident, however people are taught to blindly reject information that challenges the norms of society.  Question everything!!!  “We Are The Change!”  I’m gone! (b)

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