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Labor Day: Swift Justice
9/3/2014 4:48:26 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch

Labor Day has come and gone. It’s a celebration or recognition of workers’ contributions to the building and shaping of their country. In some states Labor Day signals the start of school. It’s back to work for most people and kick off time for the NFL. It’s a big bargain day for shoppers and a big money maker for merchants. Some towns celebrate the holiday with a parade. Families get together for cook-outs. It’s the last big travel weekend before the Thanksgiving holiday. Labor Day signals an end to summer. It also signals or at least it used to signal an end to white apparel. Ladies took the holiday seriously and would not be caught dead in white after the holiday but designers have put an end to that.

While Labor Day is a time for family and friends to get together and throw something on the grill, it also is a time to rest and reflect on the hard work and sacrifices of the working class.

I spent Labor Day traveling with my family around Florida. We had a great time visiting family, touring Florida and hanging out at the Tom Joyner Family Reunion. Did I just say hanging out? Well, perhaps sitting it out would better define what we were doing. Even in the midst of having a good time, something quite disturbing happened. A Florida man shot and killed three relatives including his grandmother and tried to kill a fourth man. As the killer fled the scene of the murders, he was struck by a truck. That’s what we call swift justice. Y’all hear me? Like the old folks would say, I ain’t wishing anything bad on anybody but anyone who kills their grandmother has got to be asking for trouble. A grandmother will give you the shirt of her back. When mothers say no, grandmothers say yes. When mothers can’t find a way, grandmothers already know the way.

George Mason, III, 42 years old, shot and killed his 81 year old grandmother, his 29 year-old-brother, the 37 year old mother of his children and was chasing his half-brother down to kill him when he was struck by a truck. The accident may have saved the life of Mason’s 33 year old half-brother that was shot once in the head while fleeing Mason. Mason now finds himself on the other end of his rampage critically ill with two broken legs, a broken back and broken neck. Now try that on for size.

According to a news report, Mason had a long rap sheet listing assaults and drug charges. A neighbor referred to Mason as crazy and said there is more to this story. What good can come to a person who kills their mother or grandmother?

There is always a story within a story. Grandmother killings are more common than imagined. I found another recent grandmother killing in Florida.

On June 18, 2014, another Florida man, 21 year old James Giles, killed his 82 year old grandmother by stabbing her in the chest. According to news report, he texted his mother after the stabbing and told her something had happened in the grandmother’s home where he was living but did not go into details. He then met his mother for the weekend on the beach. On their way home, he told his mother his grandmother had passed away. His mother contacted the police and when they went to check the house, they found the grandmother dead and it was determined that she had been dead three days while he was kicking it up at the beach. Giles admitted to killing his grandmother in her sleep by placing a pillow over her head and stabbing her to death.

As cold bloodied and cold hearted as these murders may seem, one can only guess what would take a grandchild down such a dark path. In both cases, no definitive motive was given. In the Mason case, he was not in any condition to speak and Giles refused to give a reason for his attack.

Although Labor Day signals the end of summer, it’s still hotter than hot. So, wear your white and chill out before old man winter raises his cold head.

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