A 16-year-old boy was charged with murder early today in the shooting death of a University of Chicago graduate student during an attempted robbery last week. Meanwhile, charges were pending against at least three other suspects alleged to have been involved in the incident, Chicago police said.


“As an African-American male I learned violence was an option in the most trivial affairs where I grew up. On the Southside of Chicago violence was and still a norm in the African American communities. I harbored the notion violence will give me the upper hand in any situation well into my forty’s. In the summer of 2005 violence nearly ended my freedom and another African-American male’s life. This gentlemen and I had a business affair and I felted cheated and humiliated from some of his actions. One day in front of my home the male approached me from his car with a cocky attitude about his dealings. His words were, “Fuck you, I don’t owe you shit and I’m not paying you,” this infuriated me. I proceeded to kick his ass, in plain view of my two sons and my neighbors with my bare hands. As my sons and some neighbors tried unsuccessfully to halt my aggression I continued with more power. After subduing him I uttered the words, “Fuck it, I’m going to kill this motherfucker.” I took his limp body and put him in a choke hold with the intention to end his life so I thought, and hoped at that time. After a few minutes of choking him I released him and he felled to what I thought to be the next life.

As I stood up looking over his lifeless body I noticed his young son was in his car. He had watched the entire episode. The young boy couldn’t have been more than 7 years of age. However, it didn’t distract me from my feeling of accomplishment. As I became to walk away the male started to choke up blood. Damn, he was still alive. He was disoriented to say the least and this gave me some compassion for him alone with the site of his son. I’ll never forget that day. It made me aware of the violent beast I was. The culture of violence I grew up in never left me. I had 20+ fights in my 4 years attending Eastern Illinois University. I had a fight after coming back from Pittsburgh after the draftee dinner with the Steelers. I hit a team mate in the head with a dumb bell in our weight room because he said, “I’m going to run your ass over in the NFL when I get there.” He didn’t even start for our college team and never played. However, my teammates laughed when he said that to me, so I tried to knock his head off. My last football game at Eastern Illinois University, I had a fight on the field with a fan from Indiana State University. It began a 30 minute melee between our team and their team and fans. We were fighting the entire fucking State of Indiana. It was my fault and I should have kept my cool when this fan who had been ribbing me the entire game approached me as I was crying about the lost. I exploded into a human bomb. I felt humiliated from the lost and this immediately affected my self-esteem. So I did the one thing I knew to regain my humanity which I felt was– “Kick somebody’s ass.” This melee was captured in our college newspaper, in 4 frames they have me swinging my helmet and missing hitting the fan in the head, and then grabbing him and introducing him to the turf and my fist. I should have been embarrassed but I wasn’t, I was angered that my university would highlight this dark moment. I wanted to kick the reporter’s ass. Someone should have told me violence says more about your weakness than your strength. But I didn’t know I thought violence worked.

I don’t know if this suspect is African-American but I would venture to guess yes. You see I know exactly where he’s from. My old neighborhood isn’t far from the University of Chicago and I know the environment that he grew up in. Violence was acceptable in my lower- economical community because it shields the inability to deal with shame, humiliation, and low self-esteem. So when you couldn’t read well you developed a defense mechanism to deal with the shame, if encountered by friend or foe about your reading skills, what do you do? Fight! Why are they fighting? Oh, he said, dude’s an idiot because he can’t read.” We fought because:

Someone said something about our mother,

Our dirty cothles and holey shoes,

Being on welfare,

Having no daddy,

Having no car,

Living in a one-bedroom apartment with 10 people,

Not having a dog,

Being poor.

We never learned conflict resolution in our community. Someone embarrass you, “Kick their ass.” Today some of us continue to feed young African-American males the same message, violence works. The genre of their media feed their fragile egos. “Get rich or Die Trying” is popular saying from one of the giant of their generation of music. He is right we’re dying at an alarming rate; I don’t want to quote yet again the dismal statistics of African-American homicides. However, the deaths aren’t from trying to “Get Rich” but senseless killings because of a slaved mind. We are trapped by an inability to migrate into society. We think that we are victims and so we act accordingly. Not just lower socio-economical individuals but anyone. I see it on all levels. When a mastered-degree person feels victimization their sorrows act out also with addictions, despair, depression and sometimes suicide, if you don’t feel there is hope you will do horrible things to yourself and the people closet to you.

People must know there are healthy ways to deal with all situations. You don’t have to respond with the lowest act capable by humans—which is violence. Young African-American males are being assisted by many people to get them to become a part of the society. To think healthy and live according to the norms and morals of civilized people. If guilty of the alleged charges the 16- year old male life has ended just like his victim. Their worlds was as far apart as night and day. However, it was the perception of the suspect that doomed them both. Whatever he was facing he felt violence was the answer. Senseless violence says you’re hurting and don’t know how to feel better about yourself, I know I’ve being there.”