Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Real Story

"A Germantown High School student is dead and an 18 year old from his neighborhood has been charged with his murder after an argument Friday night outside a corner store.

Police received a 911 call just after 7:00 P.M. and found Crawford lying unresponsive on the street near Baynton Street and East Walnut Lane. He had one stab wound in the chest.

'He was a happy child,' said his mother, Kelley Kenner, 41. 'He never bothered anybody.'

Kenner said she had given her son about $200 to buy a pair of Timberland boots and Adidas sneakers Friday night. He stopped at a corner store to get a cheese steak before shopping.

'Fifteen minutes later, he was dead,' Kenner said yesterday in a phone interview.

Police said that Crawford and Jones who knew each other from he neighborhood had been arguing at a nearby corner store when Jones stabbed Crawford and then ran away.

Jones later called 911 and said that he had been robbed and stabbed someone, police said Jones was taken into custody that night.

At the scene Friday night, Renee Fredricks, 16, identified herself as Crawford's girlfriend and said he had often joked with people, asking for money that he didn't really need.

She said a cousin had told her that Crawford approached someone outside the corner store and 'asked for a dollar.' The person rebuffed him and then pulled a knife and stabbed the youth in the chest she said.

'He was stabbed for a dollar' Fredricks said.'I guess the boy thought he had a gun and stabbed him for a dollar.'

No gun was found police said. Kenner said her son, one of 11 children was a student at Germantown High School and enjoyed music and drawing.

He often played basketball at the Wissahickon Boys and Girls Club. Crawford recently learned he was going to become a father."

Before I get to my post; I would like to thank Mari A. Schaefer, a reporter from my hometown paper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, for that story.

The newspaper article I lifted and wrote for you above, is similar to many other articles from my hometown paper. In truth, I could fill this blog every day with similar articles about various killings and violence in the city of brotherly love, -also known as "killadelphia"- on a daily basis. And sometimes folks, you have to look behind the story you are reading to see the real story.

The purpose of this post is not to go off on the ineptitude of my cities leaders, nor the failure of moral courage and leadership by our Churches and social services. Or, for that matter, the disgusting way that we as black folks continue to ignore the growing crisis of youth violence in our community. No folks, it's to see if you can do a little total recall exercise with me.

Quick, without going back and reading the article again, can you tell me the three things that jumped out at you when you read it? Don't look back now, just think about it for a minute....... OK finished?

Now I will tell you the three things that jumped out at me, and let's see if you got the same ones:

1. First, just what the f**k was Markel's mother thinking, giving her 16 year old son $200 to buy two pairs of fu****g shoes? $200 for two pair! How sick is that s%*t? And we wonder why our children's value system is so screwed up. Here is the deal Markel; you need some shoes? What's your shoe size? OK mommy is going to head down to JC Penny and get your ass a pair of sneakers and a nice pair of winter boots for $100. Might not be Timberlands and Adidas, but if you don't wear what I get you, your little black ass can go barefooted . You know, kind of like some of those little children in Third World countries do.

2. Markel was one of eleven (11) children. Yes I said eleven! Read the story again, I am not making this up, and I doubt if Ms. Schaefer is either.-she is a reputable reporter here in Philly-
So let's do the math here folks, Markel's mom is 41 and she has eleven children, and no where in this story is there a mention of Markel's father. This of course is not unusual, I can go over story after story about these poor murdered black children, and there is never any mention of a grieving father.

3. Which brings me to the third and final little nugget that stuck out for me in this story: It seems that little Markel at sixteen fu****g years old, was going to be a father. (I wonder if the girlfriend mentioned in the story is the expecting mother? I seriously doubt it). And Judging from her age and the amount of kids she has, Markel's mother probably started having little Markel's just at about that age herself. So the pitiful and pathetic cycle in our community continues, with no end in sight. Children having children, only to lose them to the violent streets infested by other children who place no value on human life because no one ever valued theirs.

Now folks, before you start with the; "oh field you are being too hard on this lady who just lost her son" speech, save it. Somebody needs to start getting hard on her behind before she loses more children to violence.

Personally, I am sick of seeing the teddy bears and the make shift shrines on our street corners. Sick of being invited to funerals of former clients and their friends, and I am sick of waking up and reading about more senseless killings in my city. (seven so far and counting and we are only seven days into the new year) So excuse me if I am a little hard on Markel's mom. The real problem is, that somebody should have been hard on her ass years ago, then maybe it would not have come to this.


Robert E. Morgan, Jr. said...

Field, you hit is dead on the nail. We as black people must start being more accountable for our children. I thank God for my mother, who would put a boot in my a#% for the slightest waver of her rules. We must train our children how to be strong black people, for they are the future. There are a number of issues facing us as a people and until more blacks see thing the way you and I do, it is like sticking your finger in a dike only to have another leak and another and another...

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

01 07 06

Hey FN:
You are dead right. I am sorry to hear about the Markel fellow RIP. I recall growing up in East Oakland as a kid and seeing this family that lived across the street. They were a family of devout Jehovas Witnesses and there were three girls and one boy. But the Daddy was nowhere to be seen. The Mother became a Grandmother at 33! Shortly thereafter, all of the girls got pregnant, the youngest at 13. I suppose fornication is something that their religion can overlook. But the deeper consequences of that cycle of teen pregnancy generation after generation begats such damned instability!

It hurts me that one more young brother was lost to the streets. It hurts me that our family structures and systems have become unravelled. The sad thing is that I don't know what to do except pray and try to pass on knowledge via my profession.

This is sad.

Tasha said...

I'm sorry to hear that another life was taken in such a way, but I agree with you FN. Our family units have come undone, something we've done in large part to ourselves.

Part of the reason why the issue continues to be exacerbated is the fact that many people see no reason to change their behaviors because hood life can be quite rewarding. They get the $200 sneakers, $40,000 lexuses--all extravagant conspicuous displays of "class" and having money--by slinging rocks on the corner. People don't aspire to get out the hood, they aspire to BE and represent the hood. For many of them, "the system" takes care of their basic needs like shelter and food (and in some cases pays them to continue procreating) and slinging rocks allows them to be "hood rich".

We've really got a problem here. Having kids very early and very often is no longer a social deviancy, but has become commonplace. It's a shame when people like me who don't fit that tragic baby mama mold are looked at as social outcasts. Sadly,when young women are popping babies out left and right, killing a few people off in a very morbid way evens out the population. An attitude of "Oh well lil Tarquanavious got killed but his mama's pregnant with twins anyway so that kind of makes up for it" develops. I'm hoping this is rock bottom for our community, so all we can do from here is improve.

Anonymous said...

All these parents who think nothing about dropping hundreds of dollars on stuff like gymshoes and video games probably don't even have a single book in their home. When I was growing up, my parents had a limited income. Whatever extra money my parents had sure didn't go towards some stupid shoes. I had to go to Payless (Prowings anyone?). My parents chose to invest in things like books and computers. I was the only student in my class who had a set of Encyclopedia Britannicas at home. We were one of the few people who had a home computer back in the early 1980's.

It's sad the people's values are even more screwed up than they were back in the day.

Anonymous said...

Love your passion FN! I am one who also supports Dr. Bill Cosby, also from Philly if I am not mistaken,
when he "publicly" takes our people to task for their errant ways. We need more people from our community speaking out and holding those who chose to perpetuate this lifestyle-cycle accountable.... and NOT always be looking to blame the white man!

Nice post!

field negro said...

I agree with everything everyone of the above posters said. But guess what? I am preacing to the choir on this subject, and I know it. I am sure everyone of you-judging from your wtiting and various blogs, have made a success of your lives. And from what you tell me, it's partly, or totally due to good parenting and a strong foundation-whether from your parents or your communities-growing up.

Now the people I REALYY want to reach, won't be reading this, or any other blog for that matter. In fact, they won't be reading anything that concerns self improvement or bettering their lives. This is what's so frustrating about or predicament as a people and this debate.

But thanks all of you for venting and sharing your experiences with me. And serving as arm-chair psychiatrist for my frustrated soul.

Anonymous said...

What's all this blame one but not the other stuff? A lot of folks really amuse me with the "don't blame the white man" propaganda. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for people taking responsibility for their own actions but let's not forget that the root of these problems didn't just appear out of no where and the more we push that to the back, the more we'll be chasing fires to put out while the man with the match keeps setting them.

We need to accept the fact that we are human beings who are at a social, economic and acedemic disadvantage ON PURPOSE and that the economy that feeds off of us feeds us as well. That's not something "tough love" will accomplish alone. It's a combination of things that need to happen. Isn't it imbalance in our environment that has us acting like maniacs anyway? So why would we hammer blacks knowing good and damned well that others have a hand in it too? Stop acting like there's no interference and let's start acting on everything that's causing these problems.

Do some black people need a kick in the behind to get right? Of course! But it is foolish and dangerous to write off the white contribution out of this issue as if it's either too trivial or no longer relevant. Watch that for real.

field negro said...

"So why would we hammer blacks knowing good and damned well that others have a hand in it too?"

Because the others who have a hand in it could care less about our ultimate plight. Personally, I have more than acknoweledged the majority populations culpability in many of the problems facing us.-If you read some of my previous posts you will see that- But at some point, I think we have to say; f**k the majorty population, and all they have done to us, it's time to look out for ourselves.

It's called self determination. And until we grasp and embrace that concept, I am afraid we will be fighting this battle for years to come.

Dangerfield said...

Yo Field ignore that guy who dosent have the courage to post his name and let us know who is posting.

I agree with your post, I think whats going on is a failure of creativity. Some of these issues could be solved or lessened if black folk generally speaking were on a path of self improvement, had a generally progressive and positive attitude. We are just letting the currents of circumstance take us where they will.

Ill give you one example of what Im talking about, a few years ago I got into painting and drawing ( even though I truly suck at it), anyway when I got into painting I just didnt buy cheap brushes and paints, I brought all of the brushes I would need plus I brought some books on how to paint and read them deligently. The end result was still an untalented person attempting to paint but worked very hard at it, I learned about shading and other techniques that makes paintings come alive.

What Im trying to say is this a woman may have kids young, but that is still know excuse for developing yourself to become a parent and human. If you are honestly trying to get ahead, grow intellectually and that is your primary focus well most people should reach the mental space in life where instead of giving your 16 year old son 200 dollars for shoes and continuing to live in an area where someone will kill your son over 200 dollars you would save it to move to a safer place for your kids.

To be honest I believe this type of thinking is common sense if folks are truly searching for truth and a better life for your kids.

Bliss said...

Grace and Peace


Nice post!


Anonymous said...

I just think it is really rediculous that you all are trying to blame this women for her son's what she gave HER SON 200 HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR NEW SHOES THAT'S HER BUSINESS,IF SHE CAN AFFORD IT SO BE IT.know where in the article did it say that was the reason for him being killed.everyone is talking about her 10 kids it seem's like they are well taken care of.they have a father and F.Y.I. there all his kids.before passing judgement get all the facts.know one is GOD and know matter what the case maybe markel 16,did not deserve it.ALL MY PRAYERS ARE WITH THE FAMILY.

Anonymous said...

First Of All Markel Was My Friend And Sneakers Cost Alot Of Money Dickhead And You Wasn't There To Know What Happened Your Just Going By What You Heard In The Paper Markel Did Not Get Killed From What Yall Are Saying If You Where There Then You Can Fucking Talk Iight Pussy

field negro said...

yasmire, sorry for the loss of your friend. But I didn't need to be there to understand the root causes of what ultimately killed him.

Here is the deal; I live and work in Philly,so I am not just reading some sh** from the paper.

I am out here every day working in and outside of the system. So I know a thing or two.

BTW, on this site we try to be respectful to each other. So you might want to start by completing a paragraph without resorting to cursing. And if you don't think $200 is allot for a pair of sneakers, I hope you are doing some serious "balling."

Anonymous said...

No one ever said Markel deserved to die. No one deserves to have their possessions or their life taken from them. The problem is with people not exercising common sense. A mother should not give their child a large amount of money and send them out on their own. Yes, $200 is too much money to give a young person. That makes them an open target. In urban and suburban areas alike, there are sick people who prey on children. Markel may have been caught in a no-win situation. Whether or not he gave up the money, he may have been killed anyway. Is it wrong to have nice things? Not if you earned it. But you also have to know there are people out there who will take those things and think nothing about killing you in the process. I hope other people learn from this tragic situation.

As for the cursing in the previous posts, it's not respectful when speaking of a dead friend. If you're trying to convince other people to take your point of view seriously, use better language.

Liz Dwyer said...

The sad thing is, this could have happened whether or not this young man had $200 or $2, 11 siblings or 1, whether his shoes were from Payless or from Footlocker. We can blame his mother, but it's not so simple. The social and psychological reality of being raised in a racist cycle of generational poverty cannot be overcome alone and it does not happen in a vacuum.

If she is most likely unable to recognize her own inherent nobility, and has probably been told that she's nothing and no one, not to mention, stupid, black, ugly, ignorant, lazy, nappy-headed, bitch, ho, (I've had all that said to me)...and on and on, how then does she pass on some sense of self-worth to her son? When we're done blaming her, then can we blame whatever man, statistically speaking, molested her or raped her? Can we blame the teachers who probably set despairingly low academic expectations for her and ensured she was unable to reach her full potential. I might want to also diss the teacher that, statistically speaking, most likely put his father into special education. I don't want to foget the cops that probably racial profiled the father and the son. We can blame all the gang members that probably threatened the murderer till he joined. But, I'll also blame Russell Simmons and Puffy, just because I know it's their fault somewhere. How about all the mayors of Philadelphia for whatever stupid policies I'm sure have been instituted there over the years. We can look higher, certainly that goes without saying

My sarcasm does no good amidst such heartbreak. This young man's blood, and the blood of countless others, rests equally on all the hands that have done nothing as well as those that have actively done harm.

Anonymous said...

"My sarcasm does no good amidst such heartbreak. This young man's blood, and the blood of countless others, rests equally on all the hands that have done nothing as well as those that have actively done harm."

That quote ended a really good post! But I do understand the obstacles that many black mothers have to face-read some of my previous posts-and that's why this entire debate is so difficult. We are asking people to pull themselves up, and self educating themselves, when the hill is so hard to climb.

But I will keep asking them to do it, and calling out the people who are to blame for us being in this position in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know a few things concerning this article. 1) Where was everyone at in this neighborhood? Did this not take place in front of a convenience store? 2) This young man should have been saved. I believe a fire/rescue station is right down the street. 3) Why would this kid ask for a dollar if he had $200 on him already? I believe there is more to this story that needs to be told. My condolences to the Crawford Family. It seems there child was killed in cold blood and this article is straying away from that point. This mother needs her communities support and all she is getting are fingers pointed at her. The last time I checked a nice pair of sneakers cost anywhere from $50 - $100 or more alone. And if you buy Timberlands they can be about $120. Unless you can travel out into the burbs, maybe Lancaster, to the Outlets. And finally, "Field", I think your statements about this mother are a little too harsh. Why did you not say anything about the 18 year old wielding a knife? What kind of mother does he have? This man killed a child, ran home and then called the police. Yet, you have nothing to say about that? WHERE IS THE JUSTICE?!

Anonymous said...

R.I.P markel
gone but not forgotten
its hard to believe that you of all people YOU were the one to go (that goes to show it can happen to anybody) i wounder if his mom gave her son 200$ was the money on him since he didnt make it to the store or was it missing (it dosnt say it any where in the article. it was a friday he got killed right so where the hell was everybody (that aint no quite block) and did they realy get the person that murdered my friend ( i hope to god they did) and is the girl realy pregnant with his child (in one article it said that she did not tell markel about the baby but in the other one it said that she just told him that night) where excatly did he die (his teddy bears where behind the store but they said he died in front of the one of the articles it said that he died on the wall but in the other one it said that he died infront of the store. see yall dont even have yall facts right. im so confused. Markel was my old head and he will be missed like crazy ( and he didnt get kelled over no dollar, he got killed couse that boy was jealious of markel couse markel was a sexy boy)

Anonymous said...

First off i like to say FUCk u FN u can say u try to be nice on this website...but a si see in your comment u did use curse words u just used symbols to spell, well smart guy it aint much of a FUCKING difference. Markel wa slike Family to me and u have no fucking right to disrespect him or his mother. Especially when u dont know shit about tthe situation. How would u like if if you lost a family memeber and someone you dont even know made ignorant statments about your loved one,p.s. when i say ignorant i mean it by its dictionary meaning- lacking knowledge;uninformed; unaware. which is exactly what you are a very uninformed ASS.
And you have no right to judge anyone becuase no one in this world is without sin, so look in the mirror you dumb ass bastard, and i just like to remind you what goes around comes around, and everybody on the NET might not know who you are, but God knows who you are, and you will reap what you sow

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Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

First of all his father was around so all yall on.this post can suck a dick yea she has 11 kids and theyre all.tooken care of & quite frankly she can.give her son how much fuckin money she wants all yall that commented is grown.& dum.ass.shit.fuck all yall hating ass people he was truly loved.and yall lil comments just show how fucking negative yall are all yall.can suck a big fat dick!

Unknown said...

All i got to say is that this whole thing is bs and you are beyond ignorant

Unknown said... hit me up on there