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Many Young Black Men in Oakland Are Killing and Dying for Respect

Meredith May, San Francisco Chronicle, December 9, 2007v

{snip}

The body count is woven into the civic consciousness here — a number chased by homicide inspectors, studied by criminologists, lamented in churches, reported by journalists. Every mayor leaves City Hall on broken promises to quell the violence, and the killings continue. An additional 115 have been killed this year, putting Oakland on pace for another gruesome record.

In the last five years, 557 people were slain on the city’s streets, making Oakland the state’s second-most murderous city, behind Compton.

Most victims are young, black men who are dying in forgotten neighborhoods of East and West Oakland.

{snip}

Experts fear that the neighborhoods are only getting more violent. There are entire blocks without a single two-parent family, where drug dealers have become the predominant male role models, and children fend for themselves in crowded, chaotic homes where they are routinely exposed to drugs, sex and guns.

Criminal families are on their third and fourth generations. Grandparents — the ones who have historically stepped in to help raise fatherless boys and instill a sense of right and wrong — are dying off.

Back in the 1980s, drug dealers who first brought crack cocaine to Oakland used to hide their activities from their parents because it was shameful, but now it’s a full-blown family business, said Michelle Gandy, a private investigator who interviews murder defendants for Alameda County court-appointed criminal defense attorneys.

{snip}

Increasingly, the young murder suspects coming to the station for questioning seem to lack basic morality, said Sgt. Tim Nolan, who has been investigating Oakland homicides for 17 years.

“There are more and more families where there’s less and less structure,” he said. “Talking to these suspects day in and out, there’s a higher percentage today with no sense of right and wrong. It’s frightening, but we are creating super-criminals.”

All it takes is a look, a put-down or a lost fight, and bullets fly. Disrespect has become the No. 1 reason to kill.

Killings have been concentrated in these neighborhoods for so long that revenge killings continue for decades. There’s a six-degrees-of-separation phenomenon that happens after each death: The killers and their victims can typically trace a relationship through family, friends, schools or prison stints.

That’s why Oakland murders are rarely random. More often they are the result of historical battles between crews who hold Mafia-like influence on blocks and drug corners.

{snip}

Witnesses are cowed into silence because snitches have been known to disappear. Nearly half of all murders in Oakland go uncharged for lack of a willing witness, so a shooter knows he has about a 50-50 chance of getting away with it.

{snip}

Because witnesses won’t testify, certain Oakland neighborhoods have an abnormally high per capita rate of killers walking the streets. They are known, feared, and have an incredibly toxic influence on impressionable young boys aching for structure.

{snip}

For this report, The Chronicle conducted prison and telephone interviews with five convicted Oakland killers, reviewed the court files of 60 murder trials, listened to police interrogation tapes and talked with homicide inspectors, district attorneys, family members, criminal defense lawyers, forensic therapists and criminologists.

The inmates who spoke to The Chronicle hoped that their stories would dissuade younger generations from following in their footsteps. Their stories, and those told in the court files, show that Oakland killers share many characteristics.

They are young. Most killed before their 25th birthday.

A majority grew up without a father — he was either murdered, incarcerated or abandoned his children.

Mom is typically absent, too, either because she’s working several jobs for minimum wage or because she’s also lost to the streets through drugs, prostitution or prison.

{snip}

Inside the home is pure chaos. Typically, they live with a third-generation relative, an elderly grandmother or aunt, who also opens her home to several other wayward relatives. They all pile into one home, bringing their boyfriends and girlfriends and their children. There’s no particular person in charge, no house rules, and people come and go.

Often it’s in these houses where young boys first learn how to hold a gun, how to break a rock of cocaine into dime and nickel bags for sale.

{snip}

Teachers who work with these boys in the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center say the first thing they do is stock their classrooms with food, to help their students concentrate. Young boys fend for themselves in the absence of structured mealtimes — grabbing what they can from a fast-food restaurant or a corner liquor store when they can scrape together or steal some money.

There is an equivalent of a mafia in Oakland’s ghettos. Some kids are born into families that “claim” streets. Children in these families are expected to put the family’s gang wars above anything else — they skip school when the turf wars heat up and the gang members are expected to stand out on the streets in a show of force.

“Everyone in my family was in the game — my mother, stepfather, brother, cousins,” said Donte Osborne, 28, who is serving a 15-year sentence in Corcoran State Prison for second-degree murder.

{snip}

In this world, challenges cannot be left unanswered. A boy who is jumped, robbed or insulted and doesn’t respond is labeled “soft,” or a “punk” or a “bitch.” He becomes prey. Once he is perceived as weak, the attacks keep coming. He loses not only his honor, but his friends and his personal safety, until he fights back and wins — sometimes via homicide.

{snip}

A majority of the men studied by The Chronicle had criminals in their families. Most had juvenile records, the majority for selling or carrying drugs. Many developed their own chemical habits and a little more than half dropped out of school.

Their role models are the drug dealers on the corner who have the cars, clothes, girls, money and most of all — respect.

{snip}

Respect is money, money is power and power is masculinity. Violence defines you as a man.

{snip}

Inmates told The Chronicle that it was the drug dealers who gave them their first sense of belonging. The gang on the block is the first group that wants them, that pays attention to their whereabouts, that asks what they are doing and what they think about things. Sometimes there’s a girl out there who thinks they’re cute. All of a sudden the neglected boy has a posse — the first place that feels like home.

{snip}

“You see these guys who are three or four years older than you, who are not doing kid stuff anymore, not playing tag football in the street. We watch him and all of a sudden he’s got a car, he’s dressing differently, and we want that too so we approach and say, ‘Wassup, man?’ “

At first, the older guy will likely shoo the youngster away, telling the boy he’s not ready to get in the game.

Then one day he’ll ask the boy to ride in his car. It’s the moment that the boy has been aching for.

“You’re there, it’s nice, the music is playing, and he’ll run an errand. He’ll say ‘Here, hold this.’ It’s a gun or some dope. He’ll jump out and then jump right back and then he knows he can trust you. He’ll turn to you and say, ‘Hey, you hungry?’ and go get you something to eat. You are part of him now.”

Now the boy is loyal, even if caught selling drugs for the older dealer. The code of the street dictates never telling on the man who is providing for you.

“When you get out of jail, you’ve got street cred,” Spears said. “He sees you, knows you stopped him from going to jail, and he’ll respect you, take you and buy you a couple of outfits.”

{snip}

While this is a common strategy in court to claim self-defense, there is an element of truth to it. Many of the killers studied by The Chronicle killed enemies who put word out on the street that they were going to kill first.

In this warped environment, killing someone can actually protect you. It’s a way to keep others in fear.

Gun laws can’t reach places like East and West Oakland. Rarely do boys go get a gun and kill — the gun is already there. Guns are as common as cell phones. Friends give their friends guns for protection after losing a fistfight. Every day, drug addicts trade guns for a fix. Groups of boys share guns, keeping them hidden in abandoned homes, in empty lots, in the rain gutters and under their beds.

Boys don’t think they will live past 25, so they don’t live their life as if they will. None of the convicted killers told The Chronicle that they were worried about their futures or the consequences of their criminal lifestyle before going to prison. To be a square, to go to school, work for minimum wage and shun the “game,” takes an enormous amount of patience and personal risk in the middle of what is, in effect, a war zone. The payoff is too far off for someone who doesn’t plan for middle age or a career. At the time, the quick buck didn’t seem like a bad choice, inmates said.

{snip}

Original article

(Posted on December 10, 2007)

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Comments

The description of the sociology of this part of Oakland is how blacks live wherever they are, as J. Phillipe Rushton so poignantly described.

Posted by St. Louis CofCC Blogmeister at 6:27 PM on December 10


From the original:

Gun laws can’t reach places like East and West Oakland. Rarely do boys go get a gun and kill - the gun is already there. Guns are as common as cell phones. Friends give their friends guns for protection after losing a fistfight. Every day, drug addicts trade guns for a fix. Groups of boys share guns, keeping them hidden in abandoned homes, in empty lots, in the rain gutters and under their beds.

Yet, this won’t preclude California’s two U.S. Senators, many of its House members, it’s state politicians, nor the editorial staff of the SF Chronicle itself from promoting a public policy agenda as if they could.

Posted by St. Louis CofCC Blogmeister at 6:48 PM on December 10



Are Africans the byproduct of a bad environment — -or — - is a bad environment the byproduct of Africans?

I vote for the second choice.

Posted by RJS at 6:59 PM on December 10


“Experts fear that the neighborhoods are only getting more violent. There are entire blocks without a single two-parent family, where drug dealers have become the predominant male role models, and children fend for themselves in crowded, chaotic homes where they are routinely exposed to drugs, sex and guns.”

In other words, it took barely 3 to 4 generations after the former slaves were freed from their plantations and began migrating toward the cities before they recreate the basic socio-cultural structures of Southern Africa : informal tribes sustained by raiding and trafficking.

On the other hand, one might consider this timeline a proof of America’s cultural strength : it only took 2 generations for African migrants in France to revert to their previous, stone-age mentality and way of life.

Posted by aFrenchman at 7:23 PM on December 10


I can sum this up in fewer words:

Young black males in these types of neighborhoods are domestic terrorists. Period.

Let them keep killing each other over “the game.” It is just one less mouth to feed for law abiding Americans. Lord knows we have to many as it is.

Posted by Jeremy Douglas at 7:44 PM on December 10


You could take the Oakland out of this article and replace it with any big city in America,Canada,Africa or Europe.There is something pathologically wrong with blacks and it has nothing to do with racism.It is their own failings as a people and community that in no way acknowledges a culture that breeds this type of gangster mentality.One can travel to many parts of rural White America where there are Whites as poor or poorer than most blacks and not encounter this type of behavior.I might sympathize with blacks if they could take responsibility for their actions,but that will never happen.I am convinced that blacks, like a psychopath is wired to commit violence,are “wired” to blame anything and anyone for their problems.I was told as a young man that blacks were a “childish” race of people.Thae man that told me that is being proved more right every day.

Posted by NordicPhile at 8:29 PM on December 10


Give the “youths” $50,000 to renounce their citizenship in any black country of their choice in Africa. I’d say that would be an EXCELLENT bargain to to shut down their genetic line in America! As a matter of fact, we could offer this to them when they become 18 y/o after they are “graduated” from high school.

Let them become the intellectual elite in Africa; let the much-vaunted “Flynn Effect” lead to the top leadership posts there…

Posted by at 9:35 PM on December 10


This is what black society becomes when we ask them to be like us and live in a civilized highly developed society. They cannot function here. My heart goes out to these boys and young men who are in the wrong society. They need to be in a tribal society. They need to be in a small farming, gathering, hunter, and/or nomadic society that is tightly controlled by the chief and the witch doctor. They need simple but intensive structure to direct their high testosterone, low IQ, and impulsive personalities. They can also have many wives in these traditional tribes to suit their high sex drive and hard wiring to have many children by many women. They can also battle other tribes for glory and let out their natural “rumbunctiousness”.

They need to be back in tribal Africa!!! This is no different than what Africans today experience in trying to run Western cities such as S. Africa. It’s not how they are designed to function and we need to help them get back to their natural habitat!!!

Since we need to cut welfare and subsidies for these people, why don’t we offer them an option of settling back in lush beautiful Africa with an agreement from few African countries and/or tribes to take and readjust them to the land for food aid? If they were smart, the blacks would take this offer!!

Posted by realist at 10:14 PM on December 10


Google HONORIFIC SOCIETY.

This in principle is what underlies male black interaction. It also typifies the Muslim world, as well. There was a book published recently on this cultural divide with respect to the Middle East and why we don’t understand the way they think. Stoning their family members, murdering others for seemingly small offenses. European Americans are the least honorific, and blacks and Muslims the most. There is a direct correlation between the degree of honor in a society and the level of violence employed for conflict resolution. After reading this book, Oakland is no mystery. It becomes clear why such small things as slights and perceived offenses (hyper-offensibility) result in death and injury of young black males.

Posted by Robin Hoodlum at 12:29 AM on December 11


“On the other hand, one might consider this timeline a proof of America’s cultural strength : it only took 2 generations for African migrants in France to revert to their previous, stone-age mentality and way of life.”

Sorry, the blacks in France are no where near as out of control as the blacks here. Look at the murder rates in US cities with large African populations like Detroit and New Orleans. You would have to be delusional to think the US has somekind of “cultural strength” regarding Africans. Immigrants from Haiti, Jamaica and Somalia are considered well behaved compared to our native Africans. Think about that for a minute.

Posted by Joe at 6:15 AM on December 11


“None of the convicted killers told The Chronicle that they were worried about their futures or the consequences of their criminal lifestyle before going to prison… The payoff is too far off for someone who doesn’t plan for middle age or a career. At the time, the quick buck didn’t seem like a bad choice, inmates said.”

“Too far off” for the short-futured African mind, the mind for whom next year is the equivalent of old age for the long-futured white person. We talk a lot about IQ, perhaps we should talk more about this fundamental difference. Would the liberals find it more of an acceptable subject? Would you, if you’re reading? Please write and tell.

Posted by Eugene at 7:27 AM on December 11


About those black grandmothers.

Both my aunt and my mother’s close friend were social workers in the 60’s and 70’s. They placed black children with the grandmothers when the mothers went to prison or let the boyfriend molest the child or whatever.

Both these social workers acknowledged that placing the child with the grandmothers who raised the disfunctional, criminal and abusive parents would just continue the criminal disfunction to the next generation.

But the grandparents were far, far better caretakers than the black foster parents, so the kids went to the grandparents.

And when I was in college in the late 1970’s I had to read a lot of drivel about the wonderful, powerful, supportive, strong black matriarchy. I didn’t bother to point out that the wonderful strong black matriarchs produced all the feral thugs.

I just read sat in the back and read the latest John LeCarre spy story.

Posted by at 12:30 PM on December 11


>>>Are Africans the byproduct of a bad environment — or — is a bad environment the byproduct of Africans?

>>>In other words, it took barely 3 to 4 generations after the former slaves were freed from their plantations and began migrating toward the cities before they recreate the basic socio-cultural structures of Southern Africa: informal tribes sustained by raiding and trafficking

Two MOST EXCELLENT points raised by two different posters. But I am confident a learned sociologist can find a way to blame it on White racism. Subtle and covert racism, demonstrated in by those evil White racist dominated corporations simply rejecting out of hand, any ghetto tough wearing his outlandish ‘uniform’ and gang colors — should that tough apply for a position as Senior Vice President of R&D or of Marketing — at of course, the normal salary range commanded by such a lofty position.

Seriously, other than blatant rampant racism, why wouldn’t companies just delight in hiring these fine young Blacks — as messengers, office staff, sales staff, for customer service and public relations positions. I mean, why would education, a work ethic, experience, job-related knowledge and skills play any part in the hiring process. Being able to kill without conscience, be conversant with the street value of any type of drug — certainly THAT expertise will more than qualify a Black youth for any type of high-salaried managerial position, right?

Posted by Fed Up at 2:06 PM on December 11


“Gun laws can’t reach places like East and West Oakland. Rarely do boys go get a gun and kill - the gun is already there. Guns are as common as cell phones. Friends give their friends guns for protection after losing a fistfight. Every day, drug addicts trade guns for a fix. Groups of boys share guns, keeping them hidden in abandoned homes, in empty lots, in the rain gutters and under their beds.”

That is what I keep telling liberals. Blacks don’t buy guns legally or follow the rules about carrying guns. So the gun control regs don’t really apply to feral black criminals and their guns.

But liberals are either imbecilic or brainwashed. They honestly believe that criminals will not be able to buy guns if we just enact some more gun control laws.

Liberals seem to think that murderers, serial killers and other career criminals will obey gun control laws when they don’t obey any laws.

Or maybe there really is a liberal Ford Foundation conspiracy to seize all the registered guns owned by Whites and then send the blacks to kill us all.

Gun control works Just ask Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and Mao Tosetung

Posted by at 2:34 PM on December 11


“A boy who is jumped, robbed or insulted and doesn’t respond is labeled “soft,” or a “punk” or a “bitch.” He becomes prey. Once he is perceived as weak, the attacks keep coming.”

The law of the african jungle rules even in civilized society. No matter how we try to tame them, they cannot escape their genes.

Let them kill each other. America will be better off.

George Manuelian
San Jose, CA

Posted by at 3:20 PM on December 11


Oakland Council fiddles while city falls apart
Chip Johnson

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

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It’s appropriate that the Oakland City Council spends one of its last few meetings of 2007 debating another meaningless, unworkable yawner of a proposal that does nothing to assuage concerns about public safety or any of the city’s other serious issues.

Nonetheless, if the council approves the proposal to ban the parking of recreational vehicles on city streets, it will make some residents’ lives a little tougher.

City Councilwoman Desley Brooks’ proposal is presented as a public safety measure.

The staff report supporting the proposal calls the visual obstruction caused by RVs a serious hazard to motorists, pedestrians and children. It has also been alleged that some people use the vehicles to distribute drugs and as brothels-on-wheels.

Large commercial vehicles, which also park on city streets, are not included under the proposed ordinance. In addition, Brooks has recommended raising the fine for all vehicle violations of the city’s 72-hour parking limit to $250.

In a city that last month earned the label of the nation’s fourth most dangerous city, I’ll tell you this: When I’m out and about in Oakland at night, it’s not renegade RV drivers I’m watching out for.

Considering all the issues facing Oakland, from crime to growth and housing to abysmal sales tax revenues - all of them serious matters that the council should address - we get a ban on RV parking.

And much like everything else the council has done this year, the proposal is unworkable, unenforceable and pretty much meaningless, although it does have some law-abiding Oakland RV owners in a snit.

More than anything else it’s another benign, insignificant attempt at public safety - like nibbling on the crust without cutting into the pie.

“My immediate reaction is, ‘What is this craziness?’ ” said RV owner Yorick Phoenix, who lives with his wife and children in Montclair.

Phoenix and his family use the RV every week, and park it on the street near their home. Existing city ordinances have them hemmed in: Oakland does not allow residents to park RVs in their driveways.

And now street parking could be out of bounds, which would leave them with few other options.

“This law would make Oakland a no-go zone for anyone who owns an RV or trailer or boat,” Phoenix said. “Even someone passing through, we are on a major freeway system, couldn’t stop for a few minutes. And anyone who owns an RV in Oakland would have a real problem.”

Phoenix, a software engineer, has already put up a Web site - stopoaklandrvban.org - and plans to attend tonight’s council meeting and speak against the proposal when it’s introduced.

Officer Roland Holmgren, a spokesman for the Oakland Police Department, said any new law will be enforced according to priority, the same as usual.

“Officers are still going to respond according to priorities, and priority No. 1 in this town is protecting people’s lives,” he said.

Such problems are typically handled by the department’s cadre of problem-solving officers, who can be suspicious of taking such reports because they often are just the symptoms of larger problems between neighbors, Holmgren added.

In the event the council passes the ordinance, it becomes another low-priority call in a city besieged with high-priority calls for emergency police services.

Can you imagine police citing anyone for smoking a cigarette near a bus stop, never mind that the council just made that illegal?

The RV parking ban is destined to become another throw-away law that can’t be adequately enforced and merely repeats parking ordinances already on the books in one form or another.

The city already attempts to limit parking to 72 hours, especially in the neighborhoods but, as any resident will tell you, it doesn’t do a very good job.

For example, a white mini-van was parked in the same spot outside my house in Adams Point for more than six weeks. After a while, it was like looking outside at a continuous trash fire. If you have a few weeks and a sense of humor, report an abandoned vehicle in Oakland and watch what doesn’t happen.

It was finally moved across the street, but now a Volvo occupies the space.

My point is that the city cannot enforce the laws it currently has, and existing parking laws will suffice without spending an estimated $50,000 on signage for the proposed RV parking law.

Even if the council did limit RV parking, it shouldn’t be something so draconian.

In its current form, the proposal is much too broad and does not consider the predicament of law-abiding RV owners who have to park those things somewhere.

It’s also a bit odd to receive an item on traffic safety from Brooks, who once lobbied the council on behalf of sideshow participants in an effort to legitimize the deadly mayhem as an accepted motor sport.

There were no takers on that one, and I hope that’s the case with this one.

Posted by at 3:28 PM on December 11


As a former resident and business owner in Oakland I can tell you there’s no other city on the planet that rewards incompetence and absurdity as much as Oakland does. This is one town that has taken the notion of wasting time and money to new heights of grandeur. And honestly, what kind of pathetic role models are the Mayor and Vice-Mayor anyway? They both have children guilty of heinous crimes and doing time. Talk about a couple of do-nothings who were incapable of even keep their own family members out of trouble. Oakland is in dire need of some kind of redemptive enema to flush out all the accumulated waste and corruption within its stagnant bowels. Until that happens it will remain, the City of the Damned.

Posted by at 3:30 PM on December 11


Oakland = a disfunctional city run by liberal loonies - even Jerry Brown was better than what they have now — What can one expect from communist Mayor Ron Dellums?

BTW his oldest daughter was a San Pablo Av prostitute. For those of you who don’t know Oakland, those prostitutes are the skankiest of street hookers. His sons are all felons.

Posted by at 3:33 PM on December 11


I love it when either the SF or Oakland governments discuss tourism; my brother-in-law, a Michigan guy, came out here a few years ago and was appalled at SF and Oakland. I think the men’s room in the terminal was the final straw; apparently someone tried to suck him into an alternative lifestyle without bothering to ask permission. At least he now understands that sexual harassment isn’t a joke.

Posted by at 3:35 PM on December 11


This is not normal or natural. Normal people don’t live like this. This is almost the opposite of evolution.

Posted by at 8:37 PM on December 11


And just think: We’re importing MORE of this from Africa (including most of Africa’s “refugees”) and the Carribean. As though we didn’t have ENOUGH already to deal with.

Posted by at 11:19 PM on December 11


I couldn’t imagine being like this, living such a senseless, aimless, pointless life. No ambition. No drive. No constructive ideas, beliefs, goals or values. I couldn’t imagine getting up every day to such mental and spiritual inertia. Unreal. How can they live like this?

Posted by at 7:52 AM on December 12


Dying for respect? It’s a hell of a price to pay. Time was, you got respect by coming first in a race or won a debate or winning a spelling bee. Killing and dying “for respect” in the U.S. projects is as bad as killing “for freedom” in Iraq and Afghanistan. The only result is death.

Only when cities quit the political correctness and get the money, men and resources on the streets to stop this slaughter will they ever see any hope of safety.

Bob Smith
www.natparty.com

Posted by Bob Smith at 1:39 PM on December 12


“It becomes clear why such small things as slights and perceived offenses (hyper-offensibility) result in death and injury of young black males”.

They simply see how these slights eviscerate white men and they’re smart enough to not want that to happen to then. No one wants to be a white man, or to be seen as ‘too white’.

Posted by at 3:12 PM on December 12


There is a direct correlation between the degree of honor in a society and the level of violence employed for conflict resolution. After reading this book, Oakland is no mystery. It becomes clear why such small things as slights and perceived offenses (hyper-offensibility) result in death and injury of young black males.

Posted by Robin Hoodlum at 12:29 AM on December 11

I don’t quite agree with this because when I studied asian cultures and traveled through asia, their traditional culture also is very family honor code oriented. But they don’t have a culture developed around barbaric murders of their immediate families and acquaintances.

I believe it has to do with the IQ gap and there is a correlation between IQ and the level of any people’s civilization. For example, whites who consort with black lowerclass are in generally the same IQ category and live in very similar cultues as are murderous, militant, and anti-law white supremacists.

Most average people, though we might agree with many of their assertions, couldn’t really fit into their culture because from my observation, the lower IQ whites generally pre-dominate in these groups. Average whites who are teachers, ministers, lawyers, business people, etc… need to be part of fair and effective organizations that are civilized, rational, political, and non-violent yet able to handle emergency situations through the military and the police. We need to have groups not seen as a threatening white power thugs but preceived as normal part of the social debate and power structure.

Posted by realist at 7:42 PM on December 12


And when I was in college in the late 1970’s I had to read a lot of drivel about the wonderful, powerful, supportive, strong black matriarchy. I didn’t bother to point out that the wonderful strong black matriarchs produced all the feral thugs.

I just read sat in the back and read the latest John LeCarre spy story.

Posted by at 12:30 PM on December 11

The black grandparents were raised to be respectful of the white social hierarchy but when the younger generation weren’t well trained by society while growing up, they reverted back to their original state of murder, mayhem, sexual promiscuousness, drug addiction, and early deaths.

Posted by realist at 7:54 PM on December 12


And why exactly should WE be bothered by this???? I say leave them alone and let them kill each other off. That’s just that many less thugs out trying to kill us. I couldn’t care less about what they do to each other, I’m ONLY concerned about what they do to my White brothers and sisters!!!!!

Posted by Tom S at 10:21 PM on December 12


“Some kids are born into families that “claim” streets. Children in these families are expected to put the family’s gang wars above anything else - they skip school when the turf wars heat up and the gang members are expected to stand out on the streets in a show of force.”

So, there’s not a total absence of “family values.” These youngsters make the same sacrifice as the students in a high school I attended for a year in Alabama in the mid 1950s: at a certain time during the school year, many students would be absent from school, helping their families with the harvest.

Posted by H. Dumpty at 1:18 AM on December 13



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