I've said this before and I will say it again: Whenever there is a shortage of resources, and living things compete for these resources, it leads to violence.This sad situation, ultimately can be viewed through a dispassionate prism.
The solution is not to convince would-be criminals to cede to morality.The politicians, the preachers, the pundits and po-po can't stop this. The sad fact is that, believe it or not, the violence Mr. Webster enacted was no doubt, in his mind, the actions of one who has THE RIGHT to act in such a manner. What we have here is an expression of an ethos which impels some young Black men to kill other Black men over slights real, or imagined.
I just picked up a copy of Sam Harris's, 'The Moral Landscape.' The first sentence of the book describes an Albanian moral code called Kanun which lauds the idea that, "...if a man commits murder, his victim's family can kill any one of his male relatives in reprisal." If you think about this, the ultimate end result means that ALL male relatives on both sides, the initial victim and the initial perpetrator, are subject to death, due to reprisal. It's self destructive. It makes no sense, but it is not viewed that way by both victim and perpetrator. Acting out of this ethos is viewed as THE RIGHT thing to do.
Similarly, in gang cultures where individuals construct whole identity based upon being 'respected' and not 'wronged' -- for whatever the reason -- it's not surprising that a harsh exchange of words would lead to death.
About a half hour ago I made my way home from hanging out at Chavella's. I had a wonderful un-sweetened flora de Jamaica -- with extra ginger, and as I walked to my door I saw a young brother approach the known weed spot on the block; he pulls out a huge wad of green and starts counting it, right at the door. It was a bit shocking. He looks up at me suddenly, and I say, 'Hey brother how are you?' and he looks me up and down and tells me, a man old enough to be his father, 'Nothin' is up and why you f--kin lookin' in mha face.' I couldn't stop. I couldn't shut up. My ego just wouldn't let me. I said, 'Brother, I wasn't looking in your face believe me.' Should I explain I was looking at the enormous roll of twenties and fifty dollar bills he was counting? Would that be better? 'Two women hustle next door to get inside their building. This young man says to me, 'You know, it's nothin'. And I don't even know why you f--kin' lyin' to me. Jus' be a man and admit that you were....' and on and on.
I went into my apartment, the blare of nearby gospel music from a nearby church filled the air, my heart was racing. I got too much to lose to argue with him. What's the point of it? But I must admit it, I have to say it, I wanted to stay out there and put my face in front of his face and tell him who is boss, show him who is boss. I don't even know why I wanted to do this, but I did. No doubt Leroy Webster felt something like this. I have no doubt of it. Is it the need to feel empowered about something in one's life? Is it anger fused with frustration fused with self hate, fueled with fear? What is it? Is it the pain of a brother treating you like the enemy? I just don't know.
And to put the race ingredient in it, if anyone has followed my many polemics in this site, I've written often about my attempts to beautify my block (and neighborhood) and keep it clean, and my neighbors' great determination (and success) to ensure such is not the case, yet the efforts of my white neighbors are successful. I can't understand it. Why do these brothers have no qualms about destroying my attempts at keeping my neighborhood clean, but yet, as if a force field envelopes the just-arrived hipsters, their efforts to do so blossom? My gay white neighbor across the street has a brownstone whose inside and outside belong in Better Homes and Garden. It's not that I want his property to be destroyed, but the act that it isn't bespeaks to the nature of the problem, no?
Similarly, what is it that enables US to kill each other with abandon and the lack of guilt? Last year, if many recall another shooting -- this time on Franklin near the corner of Park Place; again, another situation where two young Black men had beef and one shoots the other in the leg. The victim here did not die, but he lost most of his leg. I was - at one point during this sad affair - across the street, and a White woman and her daughter came to me and asked what happened. I told her, 'evidently a young man got shot.' She looked me in the eyes and asked, 'Is it safe around here?' I looked at her daughter and I answered as honestly as I could: 'It's safe for HER, but for me, now that's a problem...'
Black life is SO cheap, so expendable. We are a people that hold so much anger for each other. I DO know why such is the case, but the level of it never ceases to amaze me. I walk these streets accepting that my brothers view me with less value than they do the Whitefolks who live around here. I've come to the conclusion that these brothers believe that Black on Black abuse and disrespect is ignored, and the power structure really doesn't care about it; that as long as Whitefolks are not hurt, all is well.
Meanwhile their rents go to market prices and less and less of US can afford to live around here. Don't worry, wherever we go we'll kill each other there as well. Rest in peace Ms. Gray.
Mr. Webster and your ilk, you are a traitor to your race and your people. I hope you all die painful deaths. See? We can't help it.