William Heirens, a 1940s Chicago serial murderer, became known as 'the Lipstick Killer' after using it to scrawl on a victim's wall: 'For heaven's sake, catch me before I kill more, I cannot control myself.'
The infamous Zodiac Killer of San Francisco made a similar plea in a 1969 letter to police: 'Please help me, I can not remain in control for much longer.' We commonly attribute such a sentiment to sociopathy. But it has now sprung up again in a more unlikely place.
The recent criminal trial around an Afro teen's shooting death by Floridian George Zimmerman has gripped the nation. The lesson to be drawn, say the pundits, is that young black men are akin to dangerous wildlife: One cannot approach them, even innocently, without implicitly inviting them to beat one's head into cement. 'If only Zimmerman had stayed in his car,' the chorus sings, 'none of this would have happened.'
We are to understand, then, that Afros are telling us, 'We cannot control ourselves. Approaching us, looking at us, just getting in our space, can push us to spontaneous violence--for which we cannot be held responsible.' In a word, 'We are wild animals.'
It is a curious line to take, in an advanced society. The message is that though you may believe yourself in a city of civilized men, you are in fact no different than an Indian villager at constant threat of leopard attacks. Your life en ville is a sort of urban safari.
It is as though Black Americans are telling us that in their presence, we should follow the advice given to visitors by car to, for example, Namibia's Etosha National Park:
'Also remember to give a wide berth to elephants and rhinos which may become agressive if they feel threatened. Never get too close, never approach them too fast and never honk the horn. They can both outrun the vehicle if they decide to charge, so better not mess around. But if you are respectful and careful they will see you as part of their surroundings and will behave very peacefully. Warning signs that an elephant is annoyed is the raising and flapping of the ears whilst looking directly at you - retreat slowly and immediately.'
If Afros really want us to treat them this way--as dangerous wildlife--then we can only examine some case studies to see if simple guidelines could indeed change tragic outcomes for non-Afros.
1. STAY IN YOUR CAR
Safari safety guide:
'Always stay in your car when driving in a game park. Only get out at designated "hides" and follow the rules that will be posted. I have personally known of several fatalities that have occurred because a hapless tourist has wandered out of his vehicle, camera in hand, to get a closer shot of an elephant or lion. It may sound silly, but it happens.'
As the Zimmerman case has shown, haplessly wandering outside of one's vehicle around deadly wildlife can indeed be risky. Should others have followed this advice?
Two weeks have passed since reporters Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami – friends to me and many others at the [Virginian-Pilot] newspaper – were attacked on a Saturday night as they drove home from a show at the Attucks Theatre. They had stopped at a red light, in a crowd of at least 100 young people walking on the sidewalk. Rostami locked her car door. Someone threw a rock at her window. Forster got out to confront the rock-thrower, and that’s when the beating began.
...Neither suffered grave injuries, but both were out of work for a week. Forster’s torso ached from blows to his ribs, and he retained a thumb-sized bump on his head. Rostami fears to be alone in her home. Forster wishes he’d stayed in the car.
Rostami said the [attending police] officer told them the attackers were “probably juveniles anyway. What are we going to do? Find their parents and tell them?” The officer pointed to public housing in the area and said large groups of teenagers look for trouble on the weekends. “It’s what they do,” he told Forster.
The wild beauty of Baton Rouge: One is advised to stay in one's vehicle, even at gas stations,
as the local fauna is easily agitated.
as the local fauna is easily agitated.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana:
Stubbs said a [white] man wearing a pink shirt was in line trying to pay for gas [in Baton Rouge] when Donald Dickerson, 41, started making fun of him, leading to an argument.
...“the defendant told him he was in the wrong neighborhood and he was not going to make it out.” The victim said that’s when he “was punched and knocked to the ground.”
At this time, his wife got out of the car and ran to help her husband. ...According to a close family friend, that’s when the couple’s teenage daughter got out of the car to check on her parents and, “observed a female punch her mother in the face, when her mother then fell to the concrete, hitting her head on the surface.” The daughter was also punched in the face.
Of course, it is possible in this case that the brightly-colored pink shirt inflamed the herd:
'The basic rule on what colors to wear on safari is to go neutral. When trying to spot wildlife you’ll have the best chance if you blend in as much as possible with your surroundings, and bright colors will make you conspicuous to animals – particularly if you’re on a walking safari.'
What happens when the wildlife itself has taken the wheel of a car? Our safari guides have little guidance to give. From these anecdotes, it would seem prudent, though, to give them as wide a berth as when they are not at the wheel:
Cape Girardeau, Missouri:
Two car thieves deliberately drove their stolen vehicle into a group of joggers on Sunday, police said. Vincent Anderson, 19, and Marcus Jones, 27, have both been taken into custody, charged with multiple offences.
They allegedly stole a car in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and rammed it into the group, later describing their stunt as ‘fun’ and likening it to the video game Grand Theft Auto.
* * *
Jewel of the Willamette River Valley, Portland is home to exotic fauna whom it is wise
to avoid when they are found behind the wheel.
to avoid when they are found behind the wheel.
(video at link)
Investigators say [driver Quincy] Wynn lost his temper because he believed [pedestrian Josiah] Kuehl was taking too much time to cross North Interstate Avenue. Kuehl was on his way home from a wrestling tournament and was crossing with the walk signal. Wynn was one of at least two drivers waiting for Kuehl to cross the street so they could turn right.
Investigators say Wynn pulled up alongside Kuehl and yelled something at him, but Kuehl didn't hear because he was wearing ear buds. He asked, "What?"
Wynn, who claimed that the boy said something more, then jumped out of the silver Toyota Avalon he was driving and ran onto the platform. Surveillance video captured the entire 8:05 p.m. attack: He punched the 15-year-old Benson Polytechnic High School student in the head, then pulled him onto the MAX tracks and onto his knees. The man kicked the boy in the head, then left. (video)
* * *
2. EVEN IN YOUR CAR, DON'T BE TOO VISIBLE
'Don't stand up or stick anything out of the car. Many safari vehicles are open-topped and the wildlife is generally accustomed to these. But, if you stand up or wave something around on the side, some animals will get annoyed and consequently aggressive.'
Yes, even inside one's car one is not always safe from dangerous wildlife, of which the following gentle souls were tragically unaware:
Trisha Babcock, a 24-year-old woman from Davison was shot [and killed] shortly after midnight as she sat in a car with a man at West Outer Drive and Minock. Wayne County prosecutors charged [12-year-old Demarco] Harris on Saturday in juvenile court under a state law that gives the judge discretion to impose an adult sentence if the child is convicted.
* * *
Police have arrested two 18-year-old men in the murder of Megan Boken, a former college volleyball star who was shot to death inside her car during a botched robbery.
Detectives tracked down the teens on Thursday, thanks to a cell phone that was connected with a previous, unrelated, robbery. Miss Boken, a 2011 St Louis University graduate, was found with gunshot wounds to the neck and chest right before she was due to play an annual alumni game at Saint Louis University in Missouri.
* * *
In the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 2007, Christopher Newsom and his girlfriend Channon Christian were carjacked and held captive in a house on Chipman Street in Knoxville. Both were raped, tortured and killed. ... Five people were arrested in connection with the crime .
Newsom was sodomized with an object and then raped by an individual (although the DNA was unidentifiable). ... He was shot in the back of his head, neck and back and his body was then set on fire.
According to the testimony of the medical examiner, Channon's death came after hours of torture, having suffered injuries to her vagina, anus and mouth as a result of repeated sexual assaults. ... She was then bound with curtains and strips of bedding, her face covered with a bin liner and her body stashed within five large bin bags, before being placed inside a residential waste disposal unit and covered with sheets. The medical examiner said there was evidence that Channon slowly suffocated to death
* * *
The witness recalled Thursday meeting the woman at a Brightwaters [Long Island] bar, and later drinking coffee, talking and kissing while parked at the end of a waterfront Bay Shore cul de sac. “About 10 minutes later, I heard a bang on my window,” he recalled. “Two masked males. They had a gun.”
The man cried as he recalled being pistol-whipped in the back of the head, stripped to his underwear, and forced to hand over his wallet, cell phone and fire department pager...., “I saw my now girlfriend . . . performing oral with a gun to her head,” he said.
Prosecutors say Dugue and Terrell both forced the woman, who was also ordered to strip to her underwear, to perform sex acts on them, and that Dugue raped her. Payton forced the witness to watch as his girlfriend was sexually assaulted, the witness testified.
* * *
Chicago: Even windows up and doors locked are no guarantee against a massing herd. (Video at link, go to :25)
(Do not watch if prone to seizures)
Video surfaced today of a violent riot that broke out following an appearance Saturday at Ford City mall in Chicago by urban boy band Mindless Behavior. According to the Chicago Sun Times, initial report damage in the mall was limited to a destroyed planted box. Over fifty squad cars descended on the mall to defuse the situation, leading to twenty arrests.
This new video shows the extent of the chaos outside of the mall. Unidentified African American teenagers can be seen flashing gang signs and discussing their dubious intentions. One young male is seen on camera smashing a chair through the back window of a passing family minivan. (Video, go to :25)
* * *
We have explored the guidance about safariing by car. But what about when one is obliged to enter a wildlife area on foot?
3. ON FOOT, LEAVE A WIDE BERTH
'Too Close For Comfort: When on foot, keep safe distance from the animals. These are wild animals, unaware of etiquette, training or human touch.'
So many have tragically failed to heed this advice.
The dark side of Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle : A pedestrian unwisely gives too small a berth
to an approaching herd. (video at link)
to an approaching herd. (video at link)
Teacher James Addlespurger of CAPA [School for the Creative and Performing Arts] was walking down Tito Way near the Benedum Center on Thursday afternoon as six young men walked in the other direction.
Suddenly one of the men—not even the closest one to Mr. Addlespurger—stepped over to the teacher and socked him in the face, knocking him out with one punch.
As Mr. Addlespurger dropped to the ground, his head striking the curb, the youths continued nonchalantly walking down the alley as the attacker looked back. (video)
* * *
Shocking video of a pensioner being karate-kicked to the floor by a young thug in a Smurfs t-shirt has been released by police. CCTV footage showed a second man then jumping on the pensioner’s chest in the attack in Wolverhampton bus station.
The karate-kicker is described as a black male in his late teens or early 20s and of slim, muscular build. His accomplice is described as a lighter-skinned black male with closely-cut afro-style hair. (video)
* * *
A 20-year-old Jacksonville man is accused of punching a 6-year-old boy in front of a crowded ticket counter at Jacksonville International Airport. Police said Michael Mellen punched the boy Saturday, but nobody knows exactly why.
According to investigators, the boy was with his family in front of the United Airlines ticket counter when Mellen walked up to the family and struck the boy in the forehead with a closed fist.
"He just walked along, and out the blue hit the kid straight in the head," said Wayne Clark, director of aviation security at JIA. "No apparent reason why he would do this." Clark said Mellen hit the boy so hard that the boy fell to the ground and his head bounced on the surface.
* * *
A man who punched a teenage girl and a female student, leaving them unconscious on the ground, has been jailed for four years. Michael Ayoade, 35, was caught on CCTV staging the random attacks in Plaistow, east London.
In the second attack on November 13 last year, he jogged up behind a 16-year-old girl in the High Street and punched her in the head. The teenager fell to the ground, breaking three of her teeth. Ayoade, who is originally from Nigeria, followed the teenager for 800m before attacking her.
Prosecutor Joel Smith told the court Ayoade said she had “looked at him in a rude way” and that he could not go through the rest of the day having taken “an insult from a little person like that”. (video)
* * *
4. DO NOT WANDER ALONE OR AT NIGHT
'Don't walk around at night in areas where you know there is wildlife present that can be potentially harmful to you.'
How many unwitting urban safarists could have saved themselves by following this simple tip?
[British] University friends James Cooper, 25, and James Kouzaris, 25, had been enjoying a care-free vacation in the popular holiday resort of Sarasota when a drunken mistake brought them into the path of 16-year-old Shawn Tyson.
Spotting them stumbling through the notorious estate known as The Courts, Tyson attempted to rob the pair, then shot them each through the heart when they claimed to have no money.....Nothing had been taken from the victims, who still had a digital camera and about £80 in cash on them.
A jury at Sarasota County Court took just over two hours to find him guilty of first degree murder following an eight-day trial. The devastated families issued a statement, saying; “Ours is a life sentence, with no chance of parole from a broken heart, and a shattered soul".
* * *
Aaron Jacob Parsons, 20, turned himself in Friday night and has been charged with robbery and assault, according to the Baltimore Sun, which detailed the footage:
In the video, filmed the night of St. Patrick’s Day, the seemingly disoriented victim is standing with a group of young people in front of the east building of the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse. As a girl dances against him, a man who police now say is Parsons grabs something out of the victim’s pocket. The man moves to recover his property, and the man identified as Parsons rears back and punches him in the face, knocking him to the ground. The victim is then stripped of his clothing and teased. (Video)
Though, as we have seen, it is possible the bright green color of his shirt agitated the already restless herd.
* * *
'Keep calm: Under no circumstances should you panic. It makes matters worse. Make sure you don’t stray from the pack and stroll off on your own.'
Urban studies major JB Hehman loved NYC. A year before his death, in an angry letter to Smart Travel Magazine, he scolded: 'Yes, I've spent plenty of time in Harlem and have never been mugged, shot, raped, or had my car stolen; its reputation as a crime-ridden place is SO 1980s...Now if you will excuse me, I have a jazz performance in Harlem to attend.'
The gang of youths, some of them as young as 11, had been smoking pot inside a nearby [Harlem] Popeye’s fast-food eatery at 8:30 p.m. when they spotted [John Broderick] Hehman walking by and then stopping to help the handicapped man.
An anonymous caller later tipped the CrimeStoppers hot line that a group of youths screamed, “Get Whitey!” and ran toward him. Witnesses said Hehman fled into traffic against the light and was hit by a Mercedes-Benz traveling east on 125th Street.
The 20-year-old NYU student died yesterday, six days after the attack.
* * *Denver:
"I hate you f---ing white people," said a black woman in a large group of black men, according to the victim who was beaten up as he and three buddies left a LoDo [Denver] bar after midnight on Aug. 30, 2009.
"Why do you hate white people?" the man recalled asking. "That's when I got hit. They beat the crap out of me," he added, saying that 15 to 20 men beat him to the ground. "They just swarmed you," said the man who curled up on the ground to shield his face.
A couple dozen arrest warrant affidavits unsealed Friday offer chilling insights into the 26 racially-motivated "blitz attacks," which stretched from July 17 to Nov. 17. The suspects allegedly bragged about knocking out white victims with one punch to the head. Victims lying on the ground were "stomped" and even tossed through glass windows.... One man was so savagely attacked that he was hospitalized in a coma.
* * *
He's a U.S. Army soldier assigned to MacDill Air Force Base and lives not far from the base at Dale Mabry Hwy. and Interbay Blvd. Police say Sunday morning, at around 3 a.m., the soldier's car broke down a few miles from home along Westshore Blvd.
The attack came when he was walking home [Rule #1 broken!] ... At the intersection of Iowa and Renellie Dr., the man came into the view of a neighbor's motion-activated security camera.
A group of three young men is seen walking ahead of the soldier. Police say one of the men in the group doubled back and asked to soldier to borrow a dollar. When the soldier reached for his wallet, the first punch flew. The first, tremendous sucker punch laid the victim onto the ground. The other two men joined in, punching and kicking the soldier. ... Police want your help finding four men. (video)
* * *
5. DO NOT DISTURB THEIR ACTIVITIES
'If an animal you approach looks hostile make sure you are not in the way of its escape route. Give the animal a clear berth and don't make any noise to further aggravate the situation.
Do not disturb the local traditions, and the local things.'
Ralph Carnegary may have felt a certain affinity with this herd, but he was mistaken. The troop was engaging in territory-marking vocalisation and should not have been disturbed.
New York City:
A 63-year-old war veteran was attacked and stabbed by a group of young girls on a subway after he rebuked them for being too noisy.
Ralph Carnegary, of Queens, said he was on his way to work as a souvenir vendor on Wall Street when he encountered the gang around 6.15am. When he told the group to calm down and be quiet, that’s when they turned on him, a witness said.
The eight girls started punching Mr Carnegary with their fists. He was trying to shield himself and block their punches when one of them allegedly yelled: ‘Go for him’ and ‘cut him’. It was then that one of them stabbed the veteran in the shoulder – which required treatment of seven stitches in hospital.
* * *
Shannon has been coming to the same [McDonald's] drive-thru almost every day for five years without a problem... until this incident. "I witnessed this young lady throwing trash out of her car and all I said was that it wasn't cool," Shannon said.
A few choice words later, Shannon thought the argument was over. "All of a sudden I was being attacked," Shannon said. Two women jumped out of the car in front of her.
"She was right in my window just punching me in my face, pulling my hair," Shannon said. "She started biting on my hands so severely. I thought she was gonna bite 'em off, actually." Then a man jumped out of the car and threw a soda through her window. "He said, 'This is for you, you white b----. This is a grape soda.' And then they took off," Shannon said.
* * *
'Try and stay downwind from the animal. If the animal catches your scent it will know you are there and you have no idea whether this will make it angry or afraid.'
[Resident Lloyd] Matthews told authorities that four women approached him because he had been watching them across the street having an argument. “Matthews was in his yard setting off fireworks,” Pultz said, “when several females confronted him and said, ‘What are you looking at?’”
A half-hour later, the women walked back toward Matthews’ house with two unknown men and a white Mitsubishi following them, according to the police affidavit. As the women approached the house, one yelled at Matthews: “Don’t run now because you’re about to die,” the affidavit says.
The Mitsubishi pulled up and a rear window opened. A man said, “White boy, I’m going to kill you” and then fired several shots, according to the affidavit. The car drove away and the women fled.
* * *
These tragic incidents and thousands of others could have been avoided if Americans took better heed of Afros' warning to us that they cannot control their own behavior. The Trayvon Martin incident has made this very clear. This comment from Jonathan B. Wight distills thousands of such sentiments expressed by Afros in the media these last weeks:
Although the 911 dispatcher tried to get Zimmerman to back-off his stalking of Martin, Zimmerman kept at it. Zimmerman claims he was subsequently attacked and beaten by Martin. If that’s true, it seems to me like road-rage. If someone tail-gaits [sic] me and essentially gives me the finger, it is all too easy to lose control, especially if you’re a 17-year old male feeling disrespected. His pre-civilized brain is also kicking into “fight or flight." His hormones are raging equally with fear and hatred.
So there it is. Following, looking at, being in the presence of: all ways to invite attack from a sector of the population who finds it exceptionally easy to 'lose control.'
The Lipstick Killer and the Zodiac Killer were out-of-control individuals who pleaded, in their own perverse way, for society to rein them in.
Afro-Americans, on the other hand, are now telling us that they are an entire group who is out-of-control--and that the rest of us must simply adjust to that reality. Let us take them at their word, then, and follow the simple steps outlined above if we hope to make it out alive from the jungle that is 2013 urban America. Godspeed.