This Is for You, Pretty Boy

This isn't for you. This is for all those thugs who blast on cops, devalue life and generally act like fools. This is for Dante "Pretty Boy" Person, who made the front pages for shooting Cincinnat

This isn't for you. This is for all those thugs who blast on cops, devalue life and generally act like fools.

This is for Dante "Pretty Boy" Person, who made the front pages for shooting Cincinnati Police Officer Kristina Holtmann in the face in a Bond Hill driveway and for hiding, like an outlaw with a faulty GPS, in a nearby basement.

Because of you, Pretty Boy, a chorus of cops, politicians and thug-haters are forming sketchy alliances to eliminate the likes of you. You will be further criminalized, and already the media's done what we do best.

We're piling on, unearthing your lengthy and pitiful police record to show just how hopeless you are and have been since you were 15 and got caught with cocaine. And in this way we'll be justified.

It's easier to throw away the key when we can prove how much of an animal you are. It'll be easier for cops to "get back to aggressive policing," meaning before the Collaborative Agreement, before Timothy Thomas and Stephen Roach and before Robert Jorg and Roger Owensby Jr.

Those were skirmishes that twisted into strangely noble deaths. There was cultural logic lodged in the senselessness of black men running from cops.

The bullet and the asphyxiation became lynching momentos we return to as symbols of injustice.

But you are indefensible.

Still, I recognize niggas like you, Pretty Boy. I know dealers gotta sling and pimps gotta pimp and bangers gotta blast, and it all rolls along to some crunk anthem only dogs can hear about going to the trunk and riding or dying.

I've got love for my niggas. You bastards, you.

You make me sick, sick and tired. You make me almost want to just stop reacting. I don't feel like caring about you and your type anymore.

When I hear about a you-involved shooting — whether between you and another you just like you or the cops killing you based on truths and lies or you shooting at them for the same reasons — I just want to give up. You make me want to grow as cold and as callous as you.

You make it damned near impossible to keep coming down on your side. You make me feel like a cop sympathizer even though I know the us-and-them equation is always more complicated than the absolutes of black and white as race or as a uniform.

Holtmann and her partner saw your "illegal tint and no light on the license plate" and used "mechanical failure," the oldest profiling trick not written in the training manual, as an excuse to approach you and Brian Coltman.

And if they hadn't, would you have eventually shot at someone else or killed someone? Is that who you are? I only ask because more and more dead-on-the-inside thugs are beginning to look just like you.

I am not sacrificing or generalizing you. I am not throwing you to the cops, to sociologists or to Bill Cosby. But I am old school.

Old school enough to roll my eyes, hiss my teeth and cluck my tongue at the likes of you. Sadly, that black judgment and this black talk doesn't work anymore, and it reverberates now out of the mouths of black politicians who take you up like causes and campaign promises and not like crosses.

You ain't that heavy, though.

Because you're not a monolith, not a black eye on a black face, neither a black sheep nor a black mark on the black race. You are your own race.

You subsist in a land without feeling except maybe rage or disrespect; without goals, vision, life plans and expectations; in a place that's rife with instant gratification satiated by agressive black male posturing sagging with violence, guns, prison and death wishes.

This is tricky, this reflecting on how little your actions are a reflection on me or the rest of us for that matter. And I will keep on until I figure out exactly how to extricate myself from the bullshit of blood-letting go.

Until then, this is for you: you sitting in an illegally tinted car with no light on the license plate in a Bond Hill driveway; you hiding in a basement with a cop's bullet in your leg; you on the corner with one hand on your pack and the other on your piece (of manhood); you waiting to speak to your public defender in the corridor outside court in the Justice Center; you shuffling back to your cell after the verdict; you who fire at undercover cops gathering evidence for secret indictments against you; you who pass death through car windows; or you....

This is for you.

contact Kathy y. wilson: kwilson(at) Hear Kathy's commentaries on National Public Radio's All Things Considered.

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