|Goodbye Prince, Muhammad and ‘Can Man’
6/8/2016 2:03:30 PM
By Barney Blakeney
I was just getting over the death of one of my favorite musicians, Prince. I loved the guy. Extremely talented, Prince was among the people I admire. I’m thrilled by people who exude raw talent. So I wasn’t ready for Muhammad Ali’s death last week. Ali did in the boxing ring and on the world stage what Prince did with music.
A friend called me Saturday to ask what I’d be writing about Ali’s death. I didn’t plan to write anything. What could I say? I didn’t know the man. I was one of those fools who wondered what he was thinking back in 1967 when he refused the draft. A friend, T.J. Worthington, put me on the right track. T.J. was an Army veteran studying at the College of Charleston. He agreed with Ali. I later learned an admiration for Ali that will exist as long as I breathe.
‘Big Gene’ Jenkins said I should write something about the way so many now are jumping on the Ali bandwagon when so many initially reviled him because of his position on the Vietnam War. Big Gene has a point. I regret that I too wasn’t smart enough to realize what Ali was saying all those years ago.
Still, I wasn’t going to write anything about Ali’s passing - there’s not much I can say. What I had committed to writing about was the rash of homicides that have taken place in our community over the past few days - 15 and counting in North Charleston to date in 2016.
One of the victims was 66-year-old Edward ‘Can Man’ Washington. A truck driver June 2 found Washington in the roadway in the Charleston Neck Area. He had been shot and later died at Medical University Hospital. The cops still are investigating. Washington was Charleston’s fifth homicide this year. About this time last year there had been a total of 20 homicides in the county. But that had included the nine murders at Emmanuel June 17.
We live in a violent time. Sunday morning two people were shot during an argument at an IHOP restaurant. At a pancake restaurant! And there was the incident where two guys waited in a bathroom to shoot somebody. I also read where murder charges were dropped against a guy after the lone eye witness against him was killed. The first murder victim was the grandson of one of my friends.
I say all the time: we each must be ever diligent about reducing violent crime. It will touch each of us at some point. We’re planning crab cracks and vacation cruises on ships owned by everyone but us while our children die in the streets. Sixty-four shot in Chicago, Ill. over the Memorial Day weekend as we chomped down on burgers and barbecued ribs.
I’m sick and tired of our community leaders crying about the proliferation of guns in our communities. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people! Our society is enamored with the idea of guns. I got a toy gun every Christmas when I was a kid. My friends and I used wooden sticks as make-believe guns when we didn’t have toys as we played war and cowboys. Guns are a part of our culture.
I thought about my old friend Kevin Gantt the other day. Kevin always talked about conspiracies to destroy the Black community. We’d sit on my porch, sip whiskey and discuss how various forces worked in collaboration to subjugate and exploit Black folks and other minority groups. I first learned about The Illuminati and Skull and Bones during conversations with Kevin.
There are forces out there that conspire to control our society. That is why black folks must conspire to counteract such forces. Why would anyone expect those who enslave a group of people for their own benefit to do anything that would free their captives?
We ask ‘The Man’ to eliminate guns in our community when ‘The Man’ produces those guns. Two new gun manufacturers just located in South Carolina in the past couple of years after receiving incentives from our state government. Don’t expect the cops or anybody else to eliminate guns in our communities when such a significant portion of our economy is fueled by gun manufacture and sales.
What we should be doing is teaching black children how to behave themselves despite the proliferation of guns in our communities. Ain’t nobody gon save us, but us! Where are our churches in this conversation? Why don’t we take control of our schools to impact our children’s education?
I think we’ll soon begin to see some action on gun control and gun violence because it’s spilling over into the white community. Just as heroine and cocaine were allowed to ravage black communities until white kids started dying from drug overdoses, gun violence has been allowed to ravage black communities. It’s now spilling over to affect the ruling class.
The unexplained shooting death of a white businessman on vacation in North Charleston will spark a lot of action. Gun violence is affecting the money, honey. But until then, we’re going to have a deadly summer in black communities, ya’ll.