This weekend, while standing in line at BK, waiting for a healthy breakfast order, I picked up a local tabloid called Key Awareness. I flipped to the second page to read an article entitled ‘Message to the Young Street Mob: “Don’t Mess With Bill!”‘ The title caught me quickly, and, of course, I started humming the Marvelettes tune. I have retyped the story below:
Young brothers listen, the foolishness you’re doing in the streets, harming one another, harming seniors who have paid their dues. Many who fought in the past and continue to fight racism and discrimination today, so that you can enjoy the freedom to come and go as you choose. So that you can enjoy a quality of life, greatly denied by many who came before you. Some of the same people that you’re harming broke down stereotypical barriers and sacrificed their lives and worldly possessions so that the coming generations (your generation) can live in equality and freedom from suppression, oppression and economic deprivation.
Recently one of my old-school homeboys (we’ll call him Bill) was exiting his vehicle in his driveway when he was accosted by a young man with a gun demanding money (we’ll call him the idiot). Bill said to the idiot, “I don’t have any money.” The idiot proceeded to command Bill once again, to give up the money. Bill said again to the idiot, “I told you I don’t have any money.” The idiot then poked Bill in the face with the pistol as he was about to place the same demand on him once again. Suddenly fear for Bill’s life was replaced with indescribable anger towards the pistol toting idiot.
Bill’s next response towards the idiot, I do not recommend anyone in his situation to ever try this. Suddenly Bill started towards the idiot and said, “I told you (bleep–bleep) idiot that I don’t have any money. You’re on my (bleeping) property, disrespecting me, demanding that I give you something that I don’t have, you (bleep-bleep-bleeping-bleep) you’re just going to have to kill me because I’m not giving you a (bleeping) penny.” Let’s stop right here for a moment.
For 32 years, Bill, who’s now retired, worked with incarcerated youth for the state of Virginia, as an educator, counselor and encouraging role model; bringing hope and direction to troubled and lost young men sent to the state correctional facility fro around the country.
Bill was also raised in Jackson Ward and was part of a mob back in the day who didn’t take any stuff off of nobody – regardless. Bill, a respected family man in his community has worked hard with his wife (Mrs. Bill) putting three of their four children through college.
Today Bill continues involvement with youth, volunteering his time and coaching little league sports. Now let’s get back to Bill and the pistol toting idiot. Suddenly the idiot, confused by Bill’s response, after poking Bill in the face with the gun (which could have discharged by his motions) took off running (that’s the way we phrase it in the hood). Now Bill, imaginably upset, entered his home in search of his own pistol to try and track down the idiot to blow his head off. Fortunately Mrs. Bill and his son were there to help calm him down, along with the police officers who arrived shortly after.
Now, how much money could be worth the tragedy of taking Bill’s life? How much would have been worth life of the idiot, if Bill had had his pistol in his vehicle at the time. Young brothers listen, is the measure of a life, someone else’s or your own, not greater than the sum of money you may or may not retrieve through your foolishness. Stop and think about this, the next Bill you approach may be toting his own piece just like you. So be wise – “Don’t Mess With Bill” – Get A Job!