"...where im from we see a fuckin dead body everyday ..." ~~Lil Wayne~~~
While you are reading this blog you might notice that I keep the "Killadelphia" murder count on the side bar. We are averaging more than one killing a day in 07, and I suspect that before 08 rolls around we will be will have over 400 bodies in the ground . Sad as this is going to sound, I am almost immune to the daily carnage now. When it comes to the murders on our streets nothing gives me cause for pause anymore. Man shot in the head while walking to the grocery store; so what else is new? Boy shot in playground; yawn. Two people shot to death during a drive by shooting; ho hum. You get the picture? Truth be told, the streets of Philly have been redder than the paint on our love statue lately, and no one seems to give a damn. Not the Mayor, not the President, not the the people in the neigborhoods, and saddest of all; not the parents.
But today I read a story that almost brought tears to even my jaded and weary eyes. Not so much for the individual victim, but for an entire race and class of people . It happened in Camden, which for all practical purposes is Philadelphia. Camden is right across the Ben Franklin bridge and I can get there quicker from Center City Philadelphia than to my own Philadelphia home. James (Pee Wee) Coleman was shot to death with a high powered assault rifle while sitting in the back of his parked car. The police know that robbery wasn't a motive because the young man had five hundred dollars in cash in his pocket. Less than 18 hours later his distant cousin was shot and killed about a mile away. Saad Brittingham was 17 and a gun man stepped in front of him while he was riding his scooter in broad daylight and shot him twice in the chest. Thankfully, an eight year old who was riding with him escaped injury.
But back to "Pee Wee". Oh, did I mention that Pee Wee was twelve years old? Yes you heard me; TWELVE! And Pee Wee unlike many twelve year olds that you might know did not aspire to be a fireman, a doctor, or a teacher. No, on a corner right around the way from where Pee Wee was shot he was immortalized on a graffiti scared wall. "GUN BOYZ, Pee Wee 10th Street." Apparently Pee Wee had his first encounter with the law about a year ago when he was ELEVEN! Police suspected at the time that Pee Wee and two other young boys were dealing drugs.
I know you are asking all the obvious questions. Why did Pee Wee live in a car? What was Pee Wee, at twelve years old, doing with five hundred dollars in cash in his pocket? And who would want to execute a twelve year old? I will leave all that to your imagination. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pee Wee was living in his car because of a rocky relationship with his twenty six year old mother. Yes you read that right; TWENTY SIX!
Now here is where the other members of the village dropped the ball. Apparently officials weren't sure if he was living with his mother, the Camden school officials could not confirm if he was in school, and the state Division of Youth and Family Services have never encountered him. So tell me folks, what type of society are we living in? I mean even by Philly and Camden standards the story of Pee Wee is pretty f****d up. So who do we blame? The institutions of the village or the mother that brought Pee Wee here? A mother who was more than likely overwhelmed with the burden of motherhood, and left it up to the streets to raise her child. And trust me, these streets are mean. Even for a twelve year old...no, I take that back, especially for a twelve year old.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, some neighbors in the Camden area where Pee Wee was from said Pee Wee was generous. Just hours before he was killed, Pee Wee bought six frozen treats for some of the young kids on the street. No one would say where Pee Wee got his money, but still the neighbors "deplored the violence and drugs" in their neighborhood. Memo to neighbors; I guarantee you that if you get rid of the violence and drugs in your neighborhood you won't have anymore Pee Wees running around with pockets full of money. But I can't put all the blame on the neighbors. Or, for that matter, Pee Wee's mom. We live in a country where a dog would have had a harder chance of falling through the cracks than Pee Wee, and where we care more about the Sunnis and Shites than the people in our own cities. We need a "surge" here too. A surge of funding for inner city programs, a surge of resources to train these parents out here, and a surge of great practical ideas for law enforcement. That's the kind of surge I would love to see. When that surge starts working, I am sure the "Killadelphia" murder count will be much lower.
On another note: Thank you my fellow Negroes and honorary Negroes in these fields for keeping me going during my bout with blogger burnout. Your e-mails and comments of encouragement have been just what the blogger doctor ordered.
Thanks again you'll. You'll are my peeps for real :)