Disclaimer: This article contains the opinions and thoughts of TK Hodge and are in no way to be a reflection or representation of Pardon My Audacity.
Warning: Contains images that some may find disturbing
A month ago, my son turned 5 years of age. I wanted to give my son a gift that would never fade away. I also wanted to explain the choices that his father made in an effort to protect him. Pardon My Audacity allowed me to publish my letter to my son. I could not expect that events would unfold that would give even further credence to my decision:
Happy Birthday Mr. Hodge, normally when I hear that I think of your grandfather, but you’re five today and you can read! So daddy wants you to know that the love he has for you is immeasurable and although you don’t understand the decisions I’ve made, I promise like my father before me, it’s all for you.
You start school next month and that’s why you’ll be living in a place where it rains more often than not. It’s why you’ll be living in a place where we often laugh at how funny “they” sound when they’re speaking English also. It’s why you have to wear that jacket and Windsor knot tie. You see I couldn’t allow you to go to school in these present United States. I can’t work as I constantly see school shooting after school shooting in the country of your birth. I couldn’t stay in the state of Florida where it seems like it’s open season on young black males.
It’s my job to protect you and I will do that with my own life. We haven’t run away. I am still working to make your homeland a save haven not just for you but all kids that have to live there and WANT to be there.
You are the best gift I’ll ever be given, I will do no greater thing than be your Father. You will be taught how to treat girls and then women. You will know no matter what you hear elsewhere a real man turns some things down. You will have every advantage in life that I can offer no matter what the cost is to me. All I will ask of you is what your grandfather asked of me: Don’t try to be me or measure up to me; be better than me and aspire to achieve far more than I have. Be a good and kind man, do that and like my father before me, no matter what age you are when I leave this physical form, and my life will be a success that cannot be measured by any thing on this Earth. High five little man, your dad loves you, just as your grandfather loved me.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the civil rights act. I had asked you, the reader, if we had finally earned our equality. I didn’t think so then, and I am so certain that we’ve regressed as a race and nation. Over the past five plus years, we’ve watched the killings (murder) of Oscar Grant (fatally shot by transit officer Johannes Mehserle), Trayvon Martin (fatally shot by George Zimmerman) Jordan Davis (fatally shot multiple times by Michael Dunn), John Crawford (fatally shot by police officers in a Walmart), and Michael Brown (fatally shot by a police officer.) In all these instances, all the victims are young black males that were UNARMED.
Not only does it seem to be open season of young black males, there also seems to be a blatant disregard for human life. In all the shooting incidents it has to be stated that all the shooters were white. In three of the incidents, the young men were shot by law enforcement (peace officers.) Eric Gardner was also killed (murdered) by police officers. Mr. Gardner was choked by Daniel Pantaleo, who used an illegal choke hold. (Gardner died of cardiac arrest as a result of the choke hold).
If this angers you, I would say that is a normal healthy response. The question is: What are we going to do about it? We have become a nation (and world wide) of hash tag warriors. This is a time for action, a time to exact change; not sitting a by liking posts on Instagram, RT tweets on Twitter, and sharing posts on Facebook. Those things will not do anything put spread the news of these atrocities. What we need are protests, law changes, and rallies. I DO NOT in any fashion, abdicate violence. I condemn the actions taken by the angry mobs in St. Louis, MO (Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, MO a suburb of St. Louis.) Ferguson is a town that is more that 55% black and the police force in that municipality is 75% white. Residents of Ferguson are stopped by police at a rate of 70% as apposed to the remaining 30% being made by all other ethnic groups.
In the case of John Crawford, he was in Walmart on the phone with his girlfriend. He was in the toy section and picked up an air rifle (BB gun.) A white man and his wife called the police stating that Crawford had a gun and was pointing it a children and other women in the store and was threatening to shoot. (This statement was given obviously before the reports came out that this was not a real gun.) Police on the scene stated they told Crawford to get down on the ground. Witnesses, including Crawford’s girlfriend who was on the phone during the incident, have stated Crawford was yelling that the gun was not real and was getting down on the ground when his was inexplicably fatally wounded. Oddly enough there were only two calls made to 911 they were from Ronald Ritchie and his wife April. One would imagine that if there were numerous people being threatened with a firearm, numerous people would’ve called law enforcement. Ritchie claims that Crawford kept raising the gun and “…would be alive if he had just dropped the gun.” Ritchie made these claims before it was released that the gun was in fact a toy. Ritchie has now hired an attorney and is no longer talking. (Making false statements to the police is a crime.) As for the police in Beavercreek, OH their chief made this statement, “The officers gave verbal commands to the subject to drop the weapon. The subject … was shot after failing to comply with the officers’ commands. The quick response of officers was instrumental in containing this situation and minimizing the risk to customers.” This statement too was made before it was released that the gun was a toy. LeeCee Johnson, the victims girlfriend stated, “I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human. First of all, they used a rifle. They could have tazed him, or … just used the handgun, not something so powerful or forceful like he was an animal or something.” The other tragedy of this story is that it also claimed the life of Angela Williams, 37. Williams was a nurse with a heart condition who just happened to be near the shooting while shopping with her 10-year-old daughter. Angela Williams collapsed and died as she scrambled to get both her and her daughter safely away from the gun fire, which she may have thought was part of a mass shooting incident. Williams was supposed to get married this Sunday.
Jordan Davis was murdered by Michael Dunn after Dunn pulled into a gas station where Davis was blasting music from the backseat of a friends SUV. An argument ensued of Davis’ refusal to turn down the music and Dunn callously fired numerous rounds into the vehicle that contained Davis and his 3 friends and continued even after the vehicle was attempting to flee the scene. Dunn then left the scene went to his hotel, ordered a pizza, had some drinks, walked his puppy and then drove the 90 minutes to his home from Jacksonville. Dunn was subsequently arrested, and charged with the 1st degree murder of Jordan Davis and attempted murder of the 3 young men in the vehicle. Dunn was found guilty of attempted murder of the 3 men in the car, but the jury was hung on the charge of murder of Davis.
Trayvon Martin was killed (murdered) by wannabe police officer George Zimmerman. Martin was returning home armed with a Watermelon Arizona tea and a bag of Skittles. Zimmerman stated to police that Martin didn’t belong in the area and assumed Martin was a f*cking punk who may be trying to break in one of the homes. His reasoning for this assumption? Martin was walking too slow in the rain. Zimmerman was told by police to stay in his vehicle and not engage Martin. Zimmerman did not listen and Martin died of a single gunshot to the heart. Martin was on the phone on the way back to his father’s home, unarmed and minding his own business.
Oscar Grant was shot (murdered) by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) officer Johannes Mehserle after there was a fight on the train that Grant was traveling in. Grant is said to have had a verbal exchange with transit officers after being handcuffed and told to stay on the ground. It should be noted that Grant was not involved in the fight that had taken place on the train. Officer Mehserle claims he went for his taser but pulled his gun instead and shot Grant. The question will always be: 1., Why did Mehserle need to taze a man that was on the ground and posed NO threat to him? 2., How could a seasoned officer NOT know the difference between a taser and a hand gun? Tasers don’t have triggers, handguns do.
Eric Gardner was choked (an illegal hold) by Daniel Pantaleo that resulted in Gardner having a heart attack and dying. Gardner was being placed under arrest for selling illegal cigarettes (a charge he’d been convicted of previously) but was unarmed and did not look like he was resisting arrest.
These excessive uses of force are unnecessary and deadly. In all these shootings (and the choking) the assailants are white. While I will readily admit that is not an indictment of the entire white race, facts are facts. I have also stated that burning and looting (especially your own neighborhood) is not the answer. If anything, that reinforces the argument that blacks (especially males) are uncivilized. We must take to our street and let law enforcement and the government that we will not allow these practices to continue. 50 years after the civil rights act and we’re going to backwards. We have to realize that we can exact change and just like in the civil rights movement there are white Americans who see these atrocities and agree that it must stop. We must register and vote. Our local governments are suppose to be there to protect and serve. When they don’t we can have these individuals removed from office (if the municipality uses a sheriff.) In other instances, police chiefs and superintendents can be forced to step down.
When Trayvon Martin was gunned down people took to the streets (peacefully) and made the crime a national media event and eventually Zimmerman was arrested. This is a time for action, not words. If this trend continues, there won’t be a future for young black men. We’re jailed at an unprecedented rate, we’re also gunning one another down (gang violence,) and now we’re being mowed down for little or no reason. My immediate and easy answer was to remove my son from these boarders. Not everyone else can do that, nor should they have to. I will continue to work at changing the conditions of life in the United States. Changing laws, having Internal Affairs investigate these officers, and educating our children and get them positioned to take the positions in government. Any try is better than doing nothing.
If Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive he’d be so dismayed at the lack of effort by the blacks people and their seemingly apathetic attitude towards our current state of affairs. “The Dream,” may have been realized only to have left a nightmare in it’s wake. I am willing to stand up and exact change before the tragedy strikes my family. What are you willing to do?
It’s no thing when it comes to bringing you some artistic, creative, and incredible scoops because Pardon My Audacity always brings the dopest news to you!Like what you read here: Subscribe to the blog! Follow us on Twitter: @PardnMyAudacity. Like our Facebook page. Follow us on IG: @PardonMyAudacity.
TK’s Bio: Terrence Kyrell Hodge I was born 9/13/79, in what was then W. Berlin Germany, to Qualise and Lieutenant Tyrone Hodge of the United States Marine Corps. He lived in London England and graduated from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor in 2000 with BA in English and Political Science. Terrence writes about any and everything. Terrence is planning a series of novels that are works of “faction” part factual (nonfiction) and partly fictional. He plans to bring a dual vision of American and European observation and opinions to PMA. He will bring blunt honesty with a sense of comedy. He says “I will write wherever I’m needed as I am NOT a one trick pony.”