Thoughts on Thursdays: Neighborhood Watch Captain Kills Teen

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz!  Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old high school junior from Miami, FL was visiting his dad and stepmother in Orlando recently.  The young man was spending a quiet afternoon watching coverage of the NBA All Star Weekend when he decided to take a break from TV and decided to walk to the convenience store to purchase snacks…his younger brother Chad asked Trayvon (affectionately known as Tray), to bring him back some skittles.  Chad never received those skittles because Tray never returned home.  He was shot to death.  By whom you ask?  Allegedly the person who was supposed to be in charge of keeping the community safe.  George Zimmerman (who is listed in the community newsletter as Neighborhood Watch Captain), supposedly placed a 911 call to the Sanford Police Department to report a suspicious person.  How protocol usually works is that the dispatcher asks for a description of the “suspicious” person (what they’re wearing , doing, etc.) and THEY handle it from there.  But that didn’t happen…because Tray is dead.  And now his family has to bury a promising young man who had aspirations of one day becoming a pilot.  And what happened to the alleged shooter?  Mr. Zimmerman is not in jail.  Nor has he been charged with any crime.  He actually walked away from the scene.  And I know what you’re asking yourself…how is this even possible?  Well the police are looking into the possibility of the shooting being self defense.  Yes self defense!  Tray, who at the time of the incident was carrying a can of Arizona Ice tea in his jacket pocket and a package of Skittles in his front pocket was shot dead.  And how those two items could begin to justify using deadly force to shoot the young man in the chest is beyond me!  The police have refused to release the original 911 tape to the family…and I wonder why?  Maybe it will shed some light on the incident and finally bring out the truth of what really happened.  There’s one thing I’m certain of…Trayvon Martin didn’t deserve to be murdered.  And someone needs to be held responsible for their actions.  And after reading this we all know who that should be!!  JUST MY THOUGHTS PEOPLE!!!

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What Were They Thinking Wednesdays: Dwayne Long

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz.  I know with the economy being in its current condition…and with food and gas prices being on the incline and employment opportunities on the decline…I’m sure I’m not the only one who has spent day and night trying to find a way to stimulate my own personal economy….exploring any and every way to do so.  But I don’t believe most of you have ever allowed your minds to journey as far Dwayne Long.  Mr. Long’s solution to the recession was….I will fake my own death!  Dwayne Long…WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???  The 38-year-old man from Lunenberg, Virginia pleaded guilty on Monday to mail fraud.  Mr. Long purchased a life insurance policy (worth 750,000) in August of 2010 from Modern Woodmen of America.  The company says they received a call from someone who said they were Mr. Long’s brother-in-law…the caller claimed Mr. Long had died in a car accident (I know you’re laughing…trust me it gets better).  The caller then asks that the paperwork to file the claim be sent to a post office box.  I will give you ONE GUESS on who went to the post office to purchase the box?  None other than…Dwayne Long (I told you it got better).  Mr. Long also attempted to order a vital records embosser (similar to a notary stamp) for Prince Edward County so he could (are you ready?) provide his own death certificate (I promise you I’m not making this up)!  But the Virginia State Police were notified instead.  Mr. Long now faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced on June 8th of this year.  And with whatever sentence you receive…please don’t allow anyone to read your court transcripts.  Please don’t discuss your case with any of your cellmates…because if you choose to do so…then you will be forced for your entire sentence to answer the same question over and over again.  Dwayne Long…WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???!!!!! 

Tuesday’s Topic: Marion Barry

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz.  On this past Saturday there was an election held to determine 15 delegates to support President Barack Obama at the 2012 Democratic National Convention being held in Charlotte, North Carolina…and despite overwhelming criticism Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry was elected by voters as a delegate to represent the city at the convention.  Mr. Barry, who turns 76 today (Happy Birthday), continues to baffle some in the media as well as his colleagues with his ability to rise up from public and personal setbacks only to be re-elected time and time again to represent the citizens of Washington, DC.  And some wonder why.  How does a man who some have referred to as a “walking public relations disaster for the District” continue to have so much support?  Well I believe most people who aren’t Washingtonians wouldn’t understand what Mr. Barry has represented to most minorities who were raised here.  To some Mr. Barry was the first to give them, their parents and their siblings the opportunity at employment.  He was the first to give their grandparents housing when they migrated from the south.  He was the only politician that most kids who were raised in the city ever saw come into their neighborhoods.  So the ties, attachment and loyalty some feel towards Mr. Barry remains to this day.  And even though most don’t believe or support everything that he does…they view him as family.  And as one woman stated…I’ve embarrassed my family many times, but they still love me.  He’s paid his dues…He’s a legacy”.  And no matter what he does…some will always view him as just that…..a Washington, DC Legacy!

Friday’s Forum: Best Friends?

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Dear Toughtalker,
 
I had been in love with my best friend for years.  I finally decided to tell him my feelings, and he rejected me.  He said he thought we were better off friends and that we could see what happened in the future.  Well, about six months later I met someone that I really like.  Now that he and I have been dating for about six months, my best friend is telling me he can’t believe that I’m getting serious with this new guy.  He said he always saw us eventually getting together, getting married and having children.  WHY WOULD HE TELL ME THIS NOW?  I’m so confused.  I like the new guy I’m seeing, and it’s hard for me to imagine leaving him for my best friend who has never expressed a romantic interest.  And at the same time, I do still have feelings…but I have been getting over them.  My friend is someone that I already know and am comfortable with, but I’m not sure that he can be trusted since he is JUST NOW expressing any feelings.  And my new guy has expressed his interest since day one, but he IS new.  What should I do?
 
Anonymous
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Good Morning Anonymous, thank you for submitting your letter.  The question of what you should do (to me) has a very obvious answer.  But before I give you my opinion, I’m going to try and dissect your letter.  By doing so it may enlighten you and answer some of the questions you are currently struggling with.  You start your letter with “I had been in Love with my best friend for years.  I finally decided to tell him my feelings, and he rejected me”.  The key phrase in that sentence is…rejected me.  See, I don’t believe he did reject you…I believe he saved you.  And what do I mean by that you ask?  Well it seems to me that this man valued your friendship so much that he wasn’t willing to take the risk and ruin something that he treasures over something that he wasn’t ready for…and that’s a real man!  Sometimes when you care so much about a person you’re willing to sacrifice your own selfish motives for them.  And it sounds like that’s what he was doing at the time.  But your conversation may have sparked a thought in his mind… well maybe when I stop playing around and am ready for that one person that I can share everything with…..why not my best friend?  So that’s the thought that he had stored in his back of his mind.  But here’s when things changed.  You met a guy…and you start dating.  He is cool with it in the beginning, but he starts to realize that this relationship you’re in is starting to become serious and it’s now affecting your friendship.  For example, the time you used to share with him hanging out…is now being spent with the new guy.  The times you used to call him and share what happened at work…those phone calls are now being made to the new boyfriend.  So now your best friend feels like you’re slipping away.  So what does he do?  He does the total opposite of what he did earlier…he becomes…selfish.  He reveals his feelings and thoughts to you.  Not because he had an epiphany and he wants to run away with you to elope.  No, he does it because he doesn’t want to lose his friend.  So he tells you what his thoughts were, hoping that your feelings for your boyfriend aren’t as strong as the friendship that the two of you share.  So you chose your friendship over your relationship…and if you make that decision…it will be a mistake!  And that’s because the comments he made aren’t based upon wanting you…they’re based on him not wanting to lose his friend.  So what to do now?  I would continue with my relationship.  But you and your best friend should and need to have a conversation.  Express to him how much your friendship means to you…and no matter your relationship status…you will always be his friend.  He may be upset now, but if he is the friend that you describe him as being…then your being happiness will be what matters most to him!!  HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEKEND!!

Thoughts on Thursdays: Forgiveness

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz!  By now I know you all have heard about the tragedy that occurred at Chardon High School in Ohio on Monday where alleged gunman, 17-year old TJ Lane went on an apparent shooting spree killing three and wounding two others.  Well the mother of Demetrius Hewlin (the third victim to die), Phyllis Ferguson has came forward to express her memories of her beloved 16-year old son and also to express her feelings toward the suspected killer.  Shockingly, they’re not what you think they would be.  Ms. Ferguson describes her son as a “huggy, kissy boy” who was a “computer nerd” that liked to read.  She also says, “I thought he’d bury me”. He’d say, ‘When you get old Ma, you’re going to live with me and we’re going to do this”.  But now those plans have been drastically changed.  And you would think that a mother who now has to bury her 16-year old son would be seeking revenge on the perpetrator right?  Well not Ms. Ferguson.  When asked what she would say if she ever came face to face with the suspect…she replied, “I would tell him I forgive him because a lot of times they don’t know what they’re doing, that’s all I’d say”.  She also goes on to say that “I taught Demetrius not to live in the past, to live in today and forgiveness is divine. You have to forgive everything.  GOD’s grace is new each and everyday,” and ‘ Until you’ve walked in another person’s shoes, you don’t know what made him come to this point”.  So after reading Ms. Ferguson’s quotes, I began to ask myself (and you should do the same)…if a woman that has lost her son has enough strength within herself to forgive the person whom allegedly killed him, then who am I to hold a grudge over issues which are far less?  I know there are many of you who don’t speak to childhood friends anymore over trivial things.  I know some of you don’t speak to family members anymore over money loaned or borrowed.  Some of you even have friends you are no longer in contact with over issues that you can’t even remember what the origin of the initial disagreement was anymore!  I’m saying this because we have to forgive others…in order to save ourselves!  I think that’s the lesson that Ms. Ferguson has taught me here…because I’m sure she has every right to carry around that anger and hatred and no one would blame her.  But what burden will that put on the rest of her life??  She has decided to Forgive…and that’s what we ALL should do!!!  JUST MY THOUGHTS PEOPLE!!!!

What Were They Thinking Wednesdays: Rev. Marcel Guarnizo

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz…Barbara Johnson arrived at The St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland to attend the funeral service of her 85 year-old mother.  At the point in the service when communion was to be issued by the Reverend or Priest whom was officiating the service, Ms. Johnson (a lesbian woman) was denied by Reverend Marcel Guarnizo.  Rev. Marcel Guarnizo…WHAT WERE YOU THINKING??  Ms. Johnson, an art studio owner and teacher from Washington, DC stood there in disbelief as Rev. Guarnizo refused not only to give her the sacramental bread and wine, but he also left the altar while Ms. Johnson was delivering her mother’s eulogy, and didn’t return.  Furthermore he refused to attend the burial and didn’t find another priest to replace him…all because Ms. Johnson is a lesbian and lives with a woman.  The Archdiocese officials issued a statement stating that the priest’s actions were against “policy” and that they would look into it as a personnel issue.  Other Catholics whom were asked said they could not recall another recent occasion when a priest has refused to administer the sacrament to a gay Catholic.  They also said the refusal by Rev. Guarnizo seemed at odds with the strong stand against denial of communion to Catholics enunciated by The Archbishop of Washington, DC’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl.  So with all of these officials stating there isn’t anything against giving communion to a gay or lesbian individual…that means the decision was all yours Rev Guarnizo.  You personalized your views and painted a broad brush over the proceedings.  You sir, turned what was already a traumatic day for Ms. Johnson into your very own soap box moment…and that Rev. Guarnizo was wrong!  You said because Ms. Johnson lives with a woman in the eyes of the church, that is a sin…and I understand that…and I’m no Priest, but I remember hearing or reading that: no sin is greater than the other.  So that means anyone who sins (in your eyes) isn’t worthy of communion?  So anyone who has been divorced…NO COMMUNION?  Anyone who has eaten a grape at the grocery store…NO COMMUNION?  Anyone who has ever used a swear word at a sporting event…NO COMMUNION?  I guess you see where I’m going with this.  If we use your standards on who should or shouldn’t receive communion then their wouldn’t be many of us “WORTHY”.  Or was that just a smoke screen to mask your real feelings about gays?  Whatever the case…your decision was wrong…and I hope the next time…if there is a next time…that you’re overseeing communion, you remove your personal feelings and just continue on with the service!!  Rev. Marcel Guarnizo…WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???!!!!!     

It’s Monday: Kobe Bryant

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Good Morning Toughtalkerz…The 2012 NBA All Star game was held over the weekend with the game taking on it’s usual form…a bunch of dunks and no-look passes in the first 3 quarters.  Then in the 4th quarter the game always becomes more competitive with teams from the East and West trying to gain a victory over the other.  But a milestone was reached during the game, Kobe Bean Bryant, the polarizing Guard of the Los Angeles Lakers became the All-Time leading scorer (271 career points) in NBA All-Star game history surpassing Michael Jordan (262 career points).  I started to wonder out loud…is Kobe Bryant really appreciated for his accomplishments? Or have his off the floor mishaps and his career starting when it did put a damper on his achievements?  If you would go strictly by his numbers, Mr. Bryant should be considered one of the Greatest Basketball Players that has ever lived.  He is a 14-time NBA All -Star, with 4 All-Star Most Valuable Player Trophies (tied with Bob Pettit for the most in History),  a 13-time All NBA team member, and an 11-time All Defensive team member.  Mr. Bryant is also currently 5th on the all-time scoring list behind Kareem Abdul- Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928 points), Michael Jordan (32,292 points), and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419 points).  This is truly some rarefied company to be in!  But yet there always seems to be a question about Mr. Bryant’s abilities.  In the beginning the discussion was always…he couldn’t win a title without former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal (the two won 3 NBA Championships together 1999-2002), but he has won 2 NBA championships since Mr. O’Neal was traded.  Then it became, he is trying to be like Michael Jordan.  But I ask the question…what NBA player past or present, didn’t/doesn’t pattern their game after the greats that preceded them?  Michael had Dr. J, Magic had Oscar Robertson…they all have someone.  But with Kobe it always seems to be something else attached to it.  I believe Mr. Bryant’s career started too soon…meaning…if their was a lapse in time between his and Mr. Jordan’s career, I think most fans could appreciate him more, rather than always comparing him to Jordan.  Mr. Bryant is an excellent basketball player…and if your dislike comes from what I’ve mentioned or some other basketball rumor, or his personality, or his sexual assault case on a hotel worker in 2003 in Eagle, Colorado (the charges were dropped when the accuser refused to testify), or whatever it may be…you’re witnessing something that doesn’t come along that often.  A man that is aliening his name to some of the greatest records ever by an NBA player.  And if you like or don’t like him…you need to respect what he is doing…because greatness doesn’t come along too often folks!  And even though we have been lucky to see it twice in the last 2 decades (Jordan, Bryant), doesn’t mean that it still isn’t great!!

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