The Smoking Section (Masthead) Respect Our Fresh!

Dear America...

We're what you made us.

Young. Crazy. Disenfranchised.

You feed us these poisons.

Salute yourself.

Tookie may or may not have been guilty of the murders for which he's set to die. I don't believe that's why you're choosing to kill him. Truly, he's probably facing death because he founded an organization that, eventually, perpetuated the death of thousands.

Do you understand that in their early beginnings, Gangster Disciples, Blackstone Rangers & Crips were created to help protect the community? To safeguard it against negative outside influences such as police brutality, and larger, more organized crime groups? Do you realize they were founded in part to maintain a hold on the one thing we seemingly still had, our communties and neighborhoods? Do you understand that, in their origins, they were meant to unify?

You created and helped continue the endless cycle that entraps many a poor youth...not just Black, but poor people period (Did you forget about the poor literally trapped in the NO during Katrina?). Your school systems fails our youth on many levels. The judicial system favors those who have the finances to pay for favors. The penal system is a billion dollar industry and houses more Black males than our nation's colleges. The political system only cares about the poor every tow or four years, when it needs their vote. Then and only then do politicians come around, make promises, only to renig on them after the votes are counted (...if they're counted...Florida anyone?). You've continously emasculated the Black male by pulling him from the household, placing him in jail and by doing so, making sure that another young Black male grows up and follows the same circuitous path to the prison yard due to lack of leadership in the home.

Now why would people convene around Tookie?

Sad to say, but he represents a rallying cry and a "leader" (and I put it in quotes because it's pretty sad that he's held as such considering his past)....think about most minority cultures, there is no positive, vocal and widely seen leader. While I don't condone his past, I do advocate the change, growth and majority he has well as the strength he's shown in his final hours.

Face it.

You've stripped most minority groups of true leaders by placing valuable camera time on sports stars, rappers & entertainers, while neglecting, failing even, to promote the intellectual members of various minority groups. Where's the balance in that? Ask any kid who are the most important leaders in his race. Chances are, he'll refer to someone from many decades ago or give you whoever had his video on MTV/BET last or a clip on ESPN. Tsk tsk, America.

Killing him serves as a far worse crime against humanity because it'd only leave so many young cats out there living wreckless instead of having a former leader who's respected vocally advocating against gangs and gang violence. No one on a national level is speaking to and truly reaching these groups and you take one of the last conduits to institute change?

Sure he created a monster. But he cannot forever be directly held responsible for the murder and mayhem that ensued. If that's the case, if we're condemning folks for mistakes in judgement made in their youth, the majority of people around me and myself would be imprisoned currently and facing the same fate.

And if he should be held responsible, then we should also be trying a few of our political leaders as well as rewriting the history books in a few aspects. Because the majority of gang leaders (Tookie, Hoover, Barksdale, etc) started their involvement in search of power and protecting the interests of their communities much as our current leader is "protecting" the interests of humanity and America.

Think about it.

America, if your stance is still that he should have been killed, then how do you feel about the current war in Iraq? Should our President & Cheney be held accountable since there's been evidence to prove that there were weapons of mass destruction and the whole Libby-CIA leak is showing that our leaders (Cheney & crew in particular) used the media and the tools available to slightly distort public opinion and support for a war that had no direct effect on our country as a whole? How many American soldiers have died again? I lost track after 2,100.

So if he directly lead, say just throwin out a number, 100 people to a gang in a five year span but, in turn with his work in prison, led 1,000 more away from a gang...he still deserved death? Like Big Rube said, "...even Judas the betrayer became true in the end". His works as a result should count for something. In a prison system built to "rehabiliatate", here's a criminal who was reformed and you think he still deserves death?

And if you want to go with the Old Testament argument and say, "an eye for an eye", what shall you say about another principle of the same book, one called repentance? a life in prison isn't enough? In my opinion, life imprisonment is far greater torture than capital punishment easily. Die at once or have your spirit, mind and body decay over the years? Which one is worse? I think he would have been a more powerful and a much more valuable asset alive than sent to die. I won't say I advocate him being released but you have to see the power and influence he holds if kept alive.

So, America, keep at it.

Keep playing puppetmaster around the globe.

Keep playing God in your judical dealings.

And eventually, if you keep beating a man when he's down, he'll one day rise up and crush the hand that's been keeping him down.

In the end, this generation...we're the hate that hate made us.


Could you please explain to me, America, why Charles Manson is still alive? I would like to know why Gary Ridgeway ("Green River Killer," Washington state)gets life in prison after killing close to fifty women and Tookie gets the death a state that rarely uses the death penalty? I'm having a real hard time understanding it much less explaining it to my kid and the other youths I encounter on a daily basis.

Oh yeah...send my little cousin home & don't do him like Tookie. His momma, his kids, and his big cousin need him. Thanks in advance.

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