Wednesday, March 05, 2008


It's rare that I feature one of the murder victims on my Killadelphia murder count sidebar for an entire post. But this one is different.

David Atkins was 43 years old. He was a doting and devoted father to his six year old son, who worked two jobs (as a glass cleaner and a security guard) to provide his son a proper home.

"He lived for David. It was just him and David...he gave him all the best of everything" This is what Atkins' sister said about his relationship with his son. By all accounts Atkins also worked two jobs to provide a Catholic school education for his son, and he also took care of his 83 year old mother before she moved in with one of his sisters.

David Atkins was one of twelve siblings who had been at alter boy growing up. According to his employer he was a "great" employee, and according to the people who knew him he was a "good friend." One of Atkins' sisters said that "He was a mother and a father to his son...the two of them would always be seen together." So what does that say about us as a society and as a people when we shoot a positive role model and father, and leave him to die like an animal?

David Atkins answered his door early Saturday morning, while his son was sleeping in his bedroom. The person that came to the door shot David Atkins at point blank range. After he fell, the gunman stood over Atkins' body and fired five more shots into his now lifeless body.

The Police are looking for a motive and a gunman . Sadly, as is usually the case here in Killadelphia, no one saw anything, and no one is coming forward.

This is the last time you will hear of David Atkins, because sadly, he is just a statistic to you. But David Atkins had a son, and a family who loved him very much. David Atkins was not just a statistic to them, he was a loved one.

Davis Atkins also had a killer. Someone (or should I say something) so cold blooded and callous that they could shoot another human being like a dog in the doorway of his own home. David Atkins was victim number forty seven in our city. And before this year is over, there will be at least 300 more people like David Atkins, people who we will never hear from or hear about ever again.


Anonymous said...

Damn Field,
You know you are the only person I know of who continually reminds us of the senseless violence in our community. This story hurts like hell my friend. I am angry at the violence and I am angry at the lack of attention this story will draw nationwide. Some in our community are in a deep spiral that seems so out of control. I always tell people I get frustrated with racism,racists and ignorant ass Negroes. Both frustrate the fuck out of me.

Christopher Chambers said...

Field--tonight Ed Rendell was on Bill Maher shilling for Hillary. Of course Maher softballed him but did touch on stuff like this story. Somehow, Ed managed to bring it back to Hillary. Sad. But Bill did call him on that Obama comment, and even brought up Jim Carville statement that Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama in between. Rendell has jack to say. Hey, that's your gov...

SagaciousHillbilly said...

THAT is "the horror."
Education and hope is the only solution.
Sadly, nothing can bring Mr. Atkins back.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the hood still ain't pretty, and who's really addressing those issues? Will we continue to be fatalists and think there might not be change at all ever for these victims of violence? Is this to higher officials a means of population control? I don't know what to tell you, Field, but I'm with you on this.

p.s. - What was once a pleading from the gents to keep Tyra on is now a tradition, and something expected on your sidebar. If it ever goes away, I'm happy to know I already downloaded it to my comp. Amen.

kid said...

Hey Field a few day ago we had a Policeman respond to kids drinking on the street. The kid shot and killed him . The Policeman was young and had two kids. The neiborhood had a vigil for him.What can I say. We need to get some socialogist together to solve this because I can't think of anything about this. This is what's strange about it, he was loved and known it the neiborhood. The kid that did it was 19.

field negro said...

kid, we had a 15 year old shot to death for hitting some ignorant ass mofo with a snow ball. The fool went home gor his gun and came back and shot the boy to death. (On his birthday no less)

segacios..said it righ about education,but I don't evenhear any of these politricksters talking about it.

chris, fast Eddie ain't called fast Eddie for nothing. He left this city in a mess in certain parts, and took care of the folks in Center City and the WSZ's. Now he is America's governor. Pleaaase!

"Unfortunately, the hood still ain't pretty, and who's really addressing those issues?"

Nobody Jose, that's why we have to put it out there, so that people can know that it still exists. Even if we are living in A-merry-ca.

You know what's funny? I published this post by accident. I woke up this morning and saw that I had posted it. I wasn't finished editing and writing it yet. I wanted to (and did) change the end of the post , and I wanted to talk to a friend of mine in that police district where Mr. Atkins was murdered. Just to see if they had anything more on his killing.

But hey, it's out there now, and I am glad you all felt the need to comment. It's really a sad story.

Christopher said...

Crime, violent and property, always climbs with bad economic conditions, as people become increasingly desperate and angry.

In every American city, crime, violent and property is soaring. Another gift to the American people courtesy of the Motherfucker from Midland.

Here in this little shithole of a city where we live called Rochester, NY, last fall a woman, a musician and a mother, was shot dead and left in the street in-front of her rent house. A community activist, a kind, sweet man who everyone liked and who liked everyone, was robbed by a couple of punks on the street and shot dead. An Afghani grocery store owner who let people have milk and snacks when they were skint, was robbed and shot to death.

I'm not a sociologist and I can't imagine valuing life so little as to kill someone for the contents of their purse or wallet, but I do know that when times are tough, people act tough. They stop caring about their community and their neighbors.

Anonymous said...

The reports on the news last night was the Mr Atkins was trying to drive out some drug dealers down the street.... this may have been the motive. Yet another victim of the so-called "War on Drugs." This shit would be less likely if drugs were legal, regulated, and dispensed by the state, with all proceeds going to drug rehab....
This IS the state's "answer" to lack of jobs and education. This is deliberate, state sponsored control.
Mr. Atkins is "collateral damage," just like civilians in a war zone...... The guns and drugs are not being manufactured in the neighborhoods, and the large profits are being made by the same MoFos that are engaged in "acceptable war." (Think Colombia and Afghanistan and the US miltary backing) It makes me sick.

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...


The creature who killed David Atkins was the product of a sperm donor and an egg recepticle, because human beings do not raise children who grow up and turn into cold-blooded killers.

I'm willing to bet that the killer was told to go somewhere else where a hit was placed, and because Raheem's dumb ass couldn't read, he went to the wrong address and killed the wrong person.

I pray that David's family will remind his son of the positive life he lived - the little fellow's old enough to remember his dad, and he will have good memories of a loving father.

Hell, just when a "do-right" brotha comes along, a "do-nothing" SOB takes him out.

This fool will be caught, tried and convicted and the only way he avoids that needle in the arm is to confess and ask for a life sentence without the slightest possibility for parole.

Where's the NRA now? Rat Bastards....

Unknown said...

It is a sad commentary that we cannot control the number of guns on the street. Too many innocent people are losing their lives to homicides and many will go unsolved. I was saddened at the passing of Jamiel Shaw, a 17-year athlete from the Crenshaw area. He was killed by members of a gang who asked him who he was. That is really sad. America is supposed to be the greatest country in the world and we cannot get a handle on crime.

LittleMissSolo said...

(waves at Field)

My first thought upon reading this post was 'I sure hope The First 48 crew was in Philly for this one'. Wrong and insensitive, I know. Sorry.

But my second thought was 'Damn! Who had it out for this dude'??? Mind you, it's tragic and senseless, but to shoot him at point blank range, then stand over him and drop 5 more... thats some real personal shit right there. It makes me wonder what type of lifestyle he was leading.

I sure hope his son has other positive male role models in his life. This is the saddest part of all.

In reference to what jose said at 5:56 regarding Tyra on the sidebar... ok, it's bad enough that I'm at work logging on to this site and the gigantic words - FIELD NEGRO - pops on the screen when the site opens, I have to also have to quickly reduce the screen size to microscopic proportions so Tyra and her boobs aren't in view for my whole office to see!

@ Field, did you get a chance to talk to your police friend? Any updates?

@ jody... legal, regulated drugs??? You been watching The Wire?!

Liz Dwyer said...

Oh, how sad. You're breaking my heart, Field. It's coast to coast though. We're at 74 murders here in Los Angeles. It's a 27% increase. Many of the victims are children.

RedLipstick said...

Richard Cohen wrote an article in the Washington Post titled "Taking the Call on Black Men". Here's the last paragraph:

"Hillary Clinton has a point. This is a dangerous world. But all sorts of creeping crises are coming at our backs. High -- very high -- on that list has to be what has happened to poor and underclass black men. As a segment of society, they have proved impervious to progress -- whether it is the abatement of racism (Obama's success so far cannot be ignored) or the enlargement of opportunity through affirmative action and other programs that have made college, for example, available to everyone. Clearly, something new has to be tried. When that White House phone rings, for this most urgent among other reasons, it is Obama who should answer it."

Anonymous said...

Hi Field,
I'm a lurker and I've appreciated your writing for some time now; this is my first comment to your page. I was moved to comment because of the depth of this story.

One of the primary reasons why I left the US 16 years ago was because I didn't want to end up being another dead black man statistic like this. I was born in Va. in the late 50's and got pretty much fed up with the fact that Va. has long been a "straw purchase state" for crazy people to buy as many guns as they want. Back in the late 80's, the state capital of Richmond was the No.1 homicide city in the US. Around that time, the FBI said that 90% of the guns used in homicides, from NYC to Florida, had been purchased in Va. In 1990, Governor Wilder tried to stop this; they essentially "swift boated" him out of office for it. I've lost so many friends and relatives behind this bullsh't Field, and frankly, I'm tired of hearing people in Amerikkka saying "people kill people, guns don't". And this, from people who live in one of the most violent countries in the world, since its inception.

One thing that I hope is that people like yourself will continue to bring this up in the blogsphere.
Because,no matter who gets elected this year, it will be ordinary people who will have to continue to put pressure on public servants to create the political will end this.

Sorry for the length; keep up the great writing.

bookerman in berlin

west coast story said...

Somebody posted here that black people kill other black folks for a reason (in making the point that whites kill whites for no reason). I hope we can put that lie to rest.

In Oakland, it's Negroes Gone Wild every day. We are a city of about 400,000 and we've had almost 30 killings so far this year. It's insane. The killing that took place around the corner from me was a robbery gone bad. The same place where two guys were mugged the week before. The same day my neighbor was attacked and robbed in her front yard. And mind you, I live in a high crime area but it isn't the ghetto. In Oakland, the ghetto can be just one block of hoods in an otherwise nice area. It's weird that way. You can be on this lovely street turn the corner and oh, my, turn the corner again, and is right with the world.

In any event, this kid from the hills that attacked a 40-something with six other snots in my neighborhood is in my crosshairs. If he comes from privilege, I'm going to teach his parents a thing or two about what it is to live in the flats and subjected to bored, indulged children.

I have never believed that most crime is commited by poor, disenfranchised people. Those are the folks who go to prison due to lack of resources. But poor folks aren't the only ones out here commiting crime. I really believe youth from middle class backgrounds who commite violent crime ought to have their heads handed to their parents on a platter. There is no mofo farking excuse.

rikyrah said...

Sometimes, FN, when I read stories like this, I can feel it in my bones. I can feel our collective soul - that contains our ancestors. I can feel them weeping at a loss like this. I can hear their cries. I can feel the knife go in. I can feel us, if we were a body, being killed, one death at a time. I can see that little boy- fatherless. I can see how, we've lost one more soldier in the fight for right. It angers me. It saddens me. It makes me want to weep and holler at the same time. I want to scream out in agony - how many more. How many more of the good ones are we supposed to lose? How many more of the soldiers willing to do the good fight should we lose while those who would mean us evil and harm are allowed to wander around? How many more times will our eyes be closed, knowing that you have a rapist, thief, murderer living in your house. That killer knows someone. That killer lives with or near someone. Somebody knows something, and they're keeping silent, helping kill our community with that silence. How the hell can we stand up and fight the fight againt White Supremacy when we are mowing down the soldiers that would help us fight it. Ain't a White man that killed that Brother - it was a Black man, I'm willing to bet. And what motive could he possibly have to take another life? Our lives mean absolutely nothing -TO OUR OWN PEOPLE. It's chilling,maddening, and just horrific. The waste makes me weep. Those bullets shattered so many lives and now, it's going to reach down to the next generation. DAMN- what the hell is wrong with some people?

grown said...

As my grandmother would say, this is "re-got-damn-diculous".

I agree West Coast. I don't think that we can attribute most killings to the "poor, disenfranchised people trying to survive." These are fucking knuckleheads who are too stupid to appreciate the value of a life.

Most of these murderers are idiots trying to prove their manliness. Because in this society, we have taught black men that the only way to be a man is to hurt someone. Attribute it to the lack of parenting at home or whatever, but it's clear that we have created this culture of "fake thugism" that is killing us left and right...

Anonymous said...


I am glad that you wrote this entry because we need to know about the person who died and how he was making a difference in his child's life. I am saddened that his son has to grow up without his father, and it is so unnecessary and senseless.

field negro said...

Jody,it's always nice to hear from you because you live here in the city and you can confirm these stories to the folks reading them.And you are right about our government and the real reason we are going through this.

Rykirah,you had me damn near in tears,and I mean it. That comment you wrote is a post unto itself.

Bookerman,thanks for finally commenting,and thanks for the kind words.It's really sad when folks like you have to leave the country because the lack of politcal will on the part of politricksters.But come home soon,we need more folks like you around.

WCS Oakland sounds like philly in a lot of ways. Looks like you are a real activist that doesn't take any sh** jumping off on your block,and that's what's up.

404kim,no word yet.But the police are leaning to a bunch of ignorant ass drug dealers that he might have been going at it with because he wanted them off his block.

Grown,LOL at your Grandmas' saying.

Anonymous said...

This and too many other killings like this one, heartbreaking doesn't begin to touch it. What I thought as I read the details was "a man, the kind we need more of, probably spoke words of challenge or truth to someone who felt they didn't get the "respect" they're due and so David Atkins and his entire family paid ...."

When I hear respectable citizens say things like "they're just animals shooting each other" I challenge them because of tragedies like this. I remember the story of another Philadelphia man who was killed by a bullet coming through his window as he dressed to go to work. Some kind of animal there, huh?

I don't EVEN know how or what we can do to make this end. Do you? We can't even restrict access to guns, to start with.

I sometimes daydream about how many signatures we could get on a national petition to exert some sort of sanity over the present free for all access to killing instruments but you know, then I wake up and fell that much sadder.

west coast story said...

We've had two family men murdered at taco trucks (at different times) for no good reason except someone wanted their wallet and they did't move fast enough.

A ten-year old boy taking music lessons in a "nice" part of town is paralyzed for life when a gas station robber fired his weapon indiscriminately and it entered the school and struck the boy. One bullet narrownly missed the boys' mother who was waiting for him outside in the car. This particular crime has caused residents all over the city to become partially unglued in outrage. There have been benefits for this kid all over the Bay Area. His parents are overwhelmed by the crime and the outpouring of support. The "brother" who is alleged to have fired the weapon is reportedly sorry. The boy he hit was black and Latino. Thisw family's entire life has been turned upside down.

But in most of these killings, the victim has a prior criminal record and is usually older than the shooter. Two guys were fired on last week, one guy died. The guy who died was wanted in a takeover robbery.

And so it goes. For the past three years after living in my home since 1987, I arrive at home in the evening wondereing if it's my turn. It's a terrible way to live. I organized my neighbors. I serve on city commissions and it just doesn't seem to make a difference. Makes we want to holla, throw up both my hands.

Christopher Chambers said...

FIELD: I listed on my blog two things Obama can do to win Pa. and drive a stake in Hillary's heart (and give DEan the balls to kill the do-ever outright rather than issuing bizarre pussy statements like ok go ahead and do it but you have to pay for it). SEE---

Allison Miranda said...

To add to this story: an 18 year (White) girl @ Auburn was shot to death and her car set on fire (I mentioned her race b/c immediately AL's governor has put up a $10,000 reward for her killer-how many times does that happen for other races so quickly?).
AND, in Mobile, AL (my hometown), a student walked into a crowded gym and lets off one shot into the ceiling, that could have killed someone, and then shoots and kills himself, in front of 150 people.

I know I'll get a lot of flack for what I'm about to say...I know the Constitution is a 'locked document', meaning that its contents are 'set'. But SOMETHING needs to be done about access to firearms in this country. Yes, I know the Constitution guarantees a right to bear arms, but look at what/who we're losing for this 'right'. What other 'rights' cause loss of life (besides abortion, but that's a "when does life begin" question for another time)?

God help us. I just wonder sometimes: will I get a call saying one of my friends, relatives, coworkers is the next gunshot victim? Will I be the next victim? It's getting that scary nowadays.

LittleMissSolo said...

Field / Jody

What's the news coverage like on this story? Are they considering it just another n-word getting murdered and have already moved on? I'd love to learn the background story on this one. Both of you mentioned that it may be related to the victim trying to rid his neighborhood of drug dealers. That would explain why, to me, it seemed very "personal".

People do not consider their actions past the moment. I really do enjoy the show The First 48 - it allows you to see what really happens. It's so raw. It's inherent to feel sympathy for the victims family, but when you watch these kids... and I mean KIDS who, after the fact, realize the magnitude of their actions, it's all but too late. It breaks my heart to see the youth throw their life away over nothing. I think forward to a year or so down the road when they are sitting in prison and when they begin to realize how a thoughtless decision that was made in a split second has forever changed their lives.

I cannot tell you how thankful I am that the Lord has so carefully watched over me and protected me in my foolishness as a youth.

I just question the news coverage because a young woman from Atlanta who was a freshman at Auburn University was found shot a few miles off campus. Shorty there after, they found her car in flames in a parking lot. This story has been all over the news, the paper, and CNN. Yet, a doting father is murder in the doorway of his home while his son slept in his bed, and I wouldn't have know anything about it if it weren't for this blog.

That's why I am so thankful for outlets such as this.

LittleMissSolo said...

@ randi - we might be cousins. My family is from Mobiel. Which school/gym was this? I'm surprised my mom didn't mention this to me...

Allison Miranda said...

404kim: I'm assuming you're in ATL, so I know the news stations there have been bombarded with this young girl's murder.

The shooting was at Davidson (I went to Murphy). You can find the story at, under Press-Register.

Anonymous said...

We are headed for a meltdown on all levels of our society. The same ol same ol of Hillary aint going to help. So we have baby murders, this mess at Auburn, the usual slaughter in the hood and we are numb, almost shrugging it off at times.

By the way I did go to Nat Turner's Revenge (author-proff Chambers' blog) and those suggestions for winning Penns. seemed pretty ambitious but very creative. Field Negro--you and he should run for President and VP under the Jamaican Party banner!!!

LittleMissSolo said...

I don't like bringing up one topic within another topic but...

Can anyone take a guess at why it's taking so long for the TX caucus votes to come in?? It's day 2 and they only have 41% of the caucus votes reported. Could it be that once they are reported it will give Obama a win in TX???

LittleMissSolo said...

Thanks randi. I found the article online... crazy! Yes, I'm in Atlanta but my entire family is from Mobile. I lived in Mobile half of my Junior year and all of my Senior year of HS - I went to McGill (don't laugh!)

Amenta said...

@randi523, I'm in the ATL and that story is running like crazy here and of course this is GA!!

@404kim, Obama has won the caucus.

@Field, You may know from reading my blog that this killing really hits me in a personal way. Its an absolute shame that our people find it so easy to kill, mame or rape another one of our own so easily. But, what often just blows me away these youngsters that commit these wicked crimes often cry while in court. Something is really amiss here!

LittleMissSolo said...

@ ensayn1 - I don't know... I just checked CNN and it's still only showing 41% reporting, neither has been named the winner, and no delegates have been rationed out.

I'm sure he will win the caucus, but I don't see anything in concrete just yet.

Where are you looking?

Anonymous said...

As to the news coverage of this has only run in the local media... I did a quick google news search and only local news outlets covered it. All news have been sympathetic to Mr. Atkins and reported that it is a mystery still as to why he was assasinated... being shot at your front door, first when the door opens and then standing over the body and shooting 5 more times is an assasination.
His child's school has set up a scholarship fund to pay for his schooling. They hope to raise enough money to pay for his school through the 8th grade (as far as they go). This child has already lost his mother to cancer, and now this. His grandmother and aunts will now take care of him... he, too is another victim in all of this madness....

@404kim.... I do not watch The Wire. Dont like tv enough to pay for it.... but I serve on the American Friends Service Committee's criminal justice task force and have learned plenty from there about the so-called war on drugs... and other heinous aspects of the criminal system. (dont call it criminal justice cause there aint no justice).. I also work for a criminal defense attorney and see the walking wounded from this mess on a daily basis.

baatin. said...

here in the city of angels, some of us go to sleep with the sounds of gunfire. the other day some stupid fuck rolled up on a bus-stop full of kids and let shot fly into them.

from the la times: witnesses initially told police an African American man between 18 and 24 years old fired about 15 rounds from a semiautomatic handgun into the group of blacks and Latinos, many of whom were waiting for buses in front of a fast-food restaurant. Afterward, the gunman -- who police said was wearing a white T-shirt, blue pants and appeared to be about 5 feet 7 and 160 pounds -- calmly walked away.

this fucking nigga rolled up on KIDS! jesus christ dude. i can't even catch a fucking bus now? field, look up skid row - i work here. i understand the anger and despair. i understand that lapd targets us and that motherfuckers get amped. i understand that drugs have fucked communities up. but to roll up on kids just out of school? i don't get it. and i hope this dude gets his.

field negro said...

"i understand the anger and despair. i understand that lapd targets us and that motherfuckers get amped. i understand that drugs have fucked communities up. but to roll up on kids just out of school? i don't get it. and i hope this dude gets his."

baatin, I don't get it either.

404kim,jody is pretty much right. This is local news only. Come on, a black man shot by another black man in the city? Ho hum...and yawn~~ Nobody cares what goes on in the hood. Although, to be fair, this story has been getting a little more coverage than the usual few lines. That might be because Mr. Atkins seemed to be a good father and was doing all the right things.

Kellybelle said...

Sorry to hear about this.

It made me think about the murdered police officer Kid mentioned in an earlier comment, Derek Owens. The picture of him, his wife, and two children on the front page of the paper was heartbreaking.

The video of his accused killer, a skinny 17 year old, shuffling into court in chains, just looking lost, breaks my heart,too, because I think back to your post on the mother dragging her son in the mall. Whoever refused to parent this 17 y.o. destroyed so many lives.

Anonymous said...

It is easy to kill when you live in a culture that figures out a way to tell you and people from socio-economic background that your lives aren't worth much. The value of life has been set for these kids and its cheaper than .44 and some bullets that came up the Iron Pipeline.

Jonne Austin said...

Rikyrah your post was ON point.

If I were given a dollar for everytime I wanted to holler or did holler at the senseless acts of violence plaguing our people, and hell not just our people, but America I'd be freaking rich.

This is heartbreaking, plain and simple.

Amenta said...

baatin, I'm originally from Southern Cali. From San Diego, then I moved to the City of Angeles. That was one of the reason's I left there and headed to the South. I remember waking up one morning after being here for 6 months and realized I was not falling to sleep by the sounds of gunfire and helicopters. I mean living in Southern Cali like you said we would fall asleep by the sound of gunfire and we were so used to it that we could tell about how many blocks away the shots were coming from with pretty good accuracy.

@404Kim, If you're in the ATL, Shelley Wynter on 1380 WAOK was reporting this yesterday afternoon. Maybe he was exagerating the outcome.

Lionel Todd III said...

How do we reverse this?

Anonymous said...

Just a white guy from Pennsyltucky thanking you for writing about this - because I wouldn't have heard about it otherwise. Which is sad. I can only echo the previous commenter: what can we do?

By the way, you're right about white working class resentment. But let me tell you, those people won't be turning out to vote for Clinton either. Not a whole lot of affection there. So Obama could still win the Keystoner vote.

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