Set Up

The Set Up

In Community, Knowledge, Truth by Cliff Green

My sister, Victoria, and her friend, Jessica, came down to D.C. for the weekend to celebrate her birthday. The day that they were to leave, I treated them to breakfast at IHOP. While in there, I was talking to a random stranger about this site and what I am working to do for the betterment of young black males. I’m telling you this tidbit of information because it’s funny to me how I always have these ironic eventful days. After we ate, I paid for the check and we left the restaurant. Upon approaching the car, I noticed that the tires needed some air in them. I told the queens that we would fill them up before they hit the road. Who would have thought that putting air in a car’s tires would also be putting our lives in danger.

We made our way to the gas station near where I live. When we pulled up to the gas station, there were about three maybe four young teenaged males just standing outside of the gas station’s door. When you go for air, the gas station is directly in front of you, and the air pump is on the right side located on a wall connected to the station. The wall is about twenty yards long and leads all the way to the street, so you can’t see anything or anyone as they approach. As I was getting out to pump the air, as per usual for D.C., the young black males asked me for some change; I told them, “Naw! I only got what I need for this air.” I put my quarters in and began to pump the air on the left side of the car, the side opposite of the pump. As I was kneeling down to pump the air, two of the teenagers began to slap box and wrestle. I was watching them from corner of my eye, but I didn’t think too much of it because that is what young men do. My boys and I slap boxed and still do to this day. It suddenly got strange when one of the young males made his way over to air pump and just stood there. My hood senses and intuition went off then.  And I guess as my senses were going off,  so were my sister’s and Jessica’s. I didn’t hear their conversation, but Jess asked my sister if she felt like we were being set up. She noticed that one of the young males went and looked into the police car that was parked there to see if the cop was in it. When he noticed that there wasn’t a cop in the car, he waved some people to come over from behind the wall. I didn’t see the wave on but I did notice the barrage of people come from out of nowhere. (Before we pulled into the gas station, I saw the cops walk into a little pizza shop.) As I went to put air in the other side near the air pump, my sister and Jess got out the car. Victoria came around to the side where I was and I immediately told her that she didn’t have to get out. But she instantly told me, “F*** that! You know I’m crazy as hell! I don’t play that s*** and you know that I stay with mine!” I laughed because I knew what she was out there to do. So I continued to pump the air in the tire, but I never kneeled down completely because I wanted to be able to keep my eye on the dude standing by the pump and still be ready for whatever may happen. The time ran out and I went to take the hose back to the pump; Victoria told me to just throw it on the ground. She was watching the young boy the whole time who was sneakily watching me. We put the caps back on the tires and left, thankfully without anything happening.

How do we get our young black men to regain their critically thinking abilities? Why does it take for them to be put in critical condition for them to all of sudden realize the error in their ways? That day could have been some of them young men’s very last. Victoria has no problem with using her blade, especially if she and hers are in danger. I’m the same way in protecting mine; one of the reasons I stay so physically fit. Add to the fact that she is the mother of my two nephews of whom I love dearly; I will do anything and everything to make sure that they’re straight in life. Putting their mother’s life over mine!  …Jessica stays with the banger and is trained by the military on how to properly use it. But due to the uncertainty of not knowing where her license permits her to carry, she didn’t have it on her. Though that ended up being a good thing, I would have hated for her to have had to use it and leave that on her conscience. Despite it being self-defense. We are all trained, skilled, ready and able to protect and defend ourselves. Plus, these were fourteen year old scrawny males; my sister and I alone would have beaten the life out of couple of them.

Now let’s say that we did have to take a kid or two’s life that day. Their mothers would have been on the news crying and confessing to the world, “My son was wonderful, he didn’t deserve to die. He was an angel, he would never do anything to anyone!” But meanwhile your kid is a devil; out here hitting licks and trying to set people up for a quick dollar. Not realizing that he is setting himself up for a life full of hardships and failure. A life lived in and out of prison. What if he hits the wrong lick and gets bucked on, now he is six feet under.  A lot of parents know that their kids are out here in the streets living reckless, but when the streets catch them; they want to act like everything was a-ok.

Karma or the circle of life (Lion King Reference/ 2166 years) is 100% true. What goes around comes right back around. If you wouldn’t want it done to you, then don’t do it to someone else. It really is that simple.

To the kids, that street credit you think you are earning doesn’t amount to respect. Real respect is earned, not given. You won’t receive any real respect standing at corner stores and gas stations all day. To the two old heads that popped up in that barrage full of people, who were most likely the ring leaders, grow up and man up. Quit leading these young ones astray. Young bulls these are not the people you want to be around. Anyone over the age of 21 that is still chilling at corner stores, more than likely doesn’t have much going on in their lives. And they are leading you down the same path of nothingness and destruction.

We have to set up a means to get these kids off the streets. If we took half the money we spend on clothes and other pointless materials and collectively put it together to build schools and recreational centers; we would be setting up a brighter future for all of us. I challenge any brother or sister to offer a young black male a job. Pay him whatever you deem necessary to just clean up the litter around the block. In cleaning up his block, he will be setting a positive example to his peers. Also he will be less likely to litter himself, now that he is the one cleaning it up. That is just an idea but if you have other ways that will change this street life mentality, please leave a solution in the comment section below.

As always thanks for reading!