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Cover of a Newsweek article about the murder of Kayla Rolland

By Lavern Merriweather

Fourteen years ago in 2000, a little boy at the Buenell Elementary School named Dedric Owens took a gun to school to shoot and kill fellow classmate Kayla Rolland. Reportedly, they were passing each other on the stairs when little Dedric stopped and said “I don’t like you”, then proceeded to point the gun and pull the trigger. He killed little Kayla Rowland instantly bringing shock and sadness to their school, the town and the nation. In fact Kayla’s picture was featured on several magazine covers, including “People”. Both children were only 6 years old. At the time of the tragedy, the school was later shut down, then eventually destroyed in 2009.

While I feel that this was a sad and horrific act, I still can’t get over the actions of those involved and the language used, once again, by the media in the aftermath of that horrible situation. It should be noted that Kayla was white and Dedric was black. I don’t say that to alleviate his guilt. He did shot and kill this little girl after all. But what has me pissed is how quickly many white males took full advantage of this unfortunate incident to paint the entire black community with a broad brush of criminality, going on and on about the environment of young black males which we know by now is code for “Those destructive, dangerous animal negroes are violent from birth, and this proves it.”

Dedric’s uncle Jamelle James, who the gun belonged to, was sentenced to 2 years in prison for – I gather – not being a responsible enough adult and allowing a small child access to his gun. There were many video images of Mr. James in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit. That’s funny, because I sure as shit don’t recall the grandfather of Andrew Golden in an orange jumpsuit, even though Andrew and a friend of his named Mitchell Johnson took a bunch of guns from granddad’s gun closet, then went to school the next day and murdered several classmates and a teacher with those firearms. I didn’t see any news story that showed his grandfather in handcuffs or arrested period.

There was also no hurry by those same white folks in the media to criticize the type of environment either boy was raised in, that, in Mitchell Johnson’s case, included an absentee father who immediately tried to distance himself from blame by saying that it couldn’t have been his fault how Mitchell was raised, because he wasn’t there. You think maybe that had something to do with his thinking it’s a good idea to go out and kill people, huh pops? Apparently he didn’t feel that way, and the media didn’t feel the need to classify them or any of the number of white boys that shot and killed classmates or teachers as violent from the minute they left the womb, a mindset that is always present when the shooter is young, black and male especially if the victim is a young white female.

Even stories with adults get a much different treatment, or ‘spin’ as you will, when the accused is white. If you watch any of the “48 Hours” or “Dateline” mystery murder shows, like I do, then you will instantly see how the language and presentation changes. It’s certainly not like the nightly news were countless and forgettable faces of young black males are splashed across the screen every day in extremely short seconds’ long sound bites. No, white people go all out for the ‘tales’, that would later turn into Lifetime movies, involving other white folks and murder.

To hear the way it’s framed, they always use words like ‘attractive’ and ‘good looking’ as if they were stars of a movie or more like a soap opera. You get to know every little intimate detail about both accused and victim with neither side being berated or describe in the same negative way as black folks and usually with an emphasis on money, because apparently being rich and white in America means that you can’t be all bad, even as you hire a hitman to kill your neighbor, ex-wife or parent. That’s what their bad behavior is to them, a made-up fantasy like you see on TV. It just can’t be viewed as real, because they aren’t really ever bad. And surely whatever their pathology, it can’t come close to being as bad as one of them Negroes.

This very attitude is why I give so much crap to black folks on the internet and in the media that are quick to jump on white people’s bandwagons when it comes to black male celebrities. They seem to either ignore or not even flat out care that there is a complete and utter double standard, that white people, particularly those with the main voices, will never view their brutality or violence in the same light. I notice that most of the school shootings occurred before white people caught on to using the ‘he/she is crazy’ defense. I also noticed that there were NO adults being held accountable for the despicable actions of their offspring or underaged relatives either in print or with the justice system, which is not what happened with Dedric and his uncle Jamelle.

That sends out a loud and clear message that even if our kids fuck up and hurt others, it still isn’t as bad as when you darkies do it. So, punishment must be swift and severe. And don’t even expect the royal Hollywood version of your situation, because it won’t happen. That is reserved for white people to make them still look like good decent citizens even while one is accused of a heinous crime or took another’s life.

Think about it. Why is it that you never see those same people from “Dateline” on the six o’ clock news? Could it be that if they did it that way, they would have to finally admit that yes, they aren’t perfect, and yes, people that resemble them actually are capable of doing bad shit, like murdering their own children or letting their child have access to a gun which they then use to kill someone else’s child? Just because there are children involved doesn’t mean that this is a game. Yet, that appears to be exactly how they respond to their own wrong or criminal actions, something they have all been allowed to get away with for far too long.

When a network anchor was fired recently for suggesting that most young black males commit crimes because they don’t have a father presence in the home, a black female blogger took it upon herself to defend his words, going so far as to say that he shouldn’t have been terminated for speaking the truth. Well, whose truth is that precisely? It obviously can’t be white peoples’ as they portray their own pathology in the most pretty, fluffed up, glamorous way possible.