The Last Victim of Gang Violence by Ronald Chatman

4/15/03

Am I immortal or am I just fooling myself? Will I be remembered like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King or Ghandi?
What makes history a fact, is that someone took the time to write it. Will I be a character remembered in
time? Will there even be a human race in 1,000 years? The only reason that we cannot start all over
shaped time? If civilization does exist in 1,000 years will there be Bloods and Crips?

From the corner of Normandie Avenue and Adams Boulevard, my philosophical point of view stands
bullet riddled and blood stained. Scanning Loren Miller Park with my eyes, my free will is clouded by
marijuana smoke from the blunt that a Blood just passed. From 27th Street to the Avenues I
philosophize with the transients and the addicted. The most educated among us sometimes stand
among the derelicts of society (those that have been ousted by society). Curbside University is now
opened. Discussions range from “The Philosophy of Life” to the “Philosophy of How to Survive a
Drive-by shooting.” What you are reading becomes so prolific that, today you are reading from the
pages of my life, next month you could be reading from the pages of my obituary. Sometimes it’s crazy to
think of being allotted such a fucked up slot in the social order of life. I’ve never really left Los Angeles
(unless I was shackled down on a state prison bus with an armed gunman riding in the back cage). It is
as if I am still in prison, like L.A. has this big ass electrical prison fence around it. I have not even done
very much and the intellect that I am capturing your imagination with comes from all of the books that I
have read.

You must understand that I am stuck in life. You can lock up the body but never the mind. My fate will be
to die in the streets of Los Angeles. At 35 years old I will never find a way out; I am under the BLOOD
FOR LIFE plan anyway (my fate is sealed). The only choice left for me is, who do I want to die as? Do I
want to be sacrificed to the L.A. gang crisis? or do I want to die as a martyr to the peace movement?
After my death, will I be considered a prophet? will I be considered a philosopher? Will I even be
considered? Out of sight is out of mind. At night I toss and turn fighting for the few hours of sleep that I
am allowed. I have nightmares of drive-by shootings and execution style murders. I am always taken
away from the scene in the back of a paramedic ambulance hooked up to I.V.s and life support. I awaken
drenched in sweat and out of breath. I am choking on my own spit and my heart is beating overtime.
Suddenly I realize the only reason that I have just been allowed to live is because I have just been
allowed to die.

This is an actual illness comparable to the post Vietnam syndrome that veterans suffer from. Does God
grant me these flashbacks as a reminder of all of the pain that I have caused? Why does God allow us to
slaughter one another as if the Los Angeles gang crisis was written into Armagedon or the Jihad. Only
God will determine when it will be time for me to be “carried and buried,” so I must prepare to die with
the pride that the Bloods had in Vietnam (during the 1960′s). Religion of the streets (gangbangin’) is in
full effect. The streets “B” my church and my red flag “B” my cross. We believe in this enough to die for
but do we believe in this enough to live for it? Should I be murdered by an enemy’s bullet, let genocide
die with me. While standing on 27th Street, if I am the victim of a barrage of machine gun fire let
ignorance die with me. If I am shot in the head while standing on Adams Boulevard let prejudice die with
me. So that the future (our children) can start all over again. Some of us will have to sacrifice our own
lives to save the lives of our children, the future is in there hands.

Some of us will have to be martyrs for the liberation of our children’s futures. Some of us will have to
give up all that we love, so that those that we love, can live. For the sake of my two daughters (Ronisha
and Tierra) and my one son (Ronald#2), I will be the first sacrifice. Who’s next to step up to the firing
squad for the sake of humanity? This will not be another Machiavellian smoke screen. I will not be
resurrected in seven days. My death is final and to the utmost, definite, but now my life will be infinite
and I won’t be coming back. In one week, when my body is buried and all of my friends and family have
come to pay there last respects. All of the Rollin’20′s Bloods will be prepared to seek revenge for the
death of me. There will be a sea of soldiers dressed in red, as they pass my coffin to view my body,
there will be two fingered salutes with acknowledgements of a pinky and a thumb from those saluted.
When I am lowered in to the ground and covered with dirt, let the hatred of the world be buried with me.
I don’t know about Dr. King’s dream but I know that I am living a nightmare.

Will the world know about the more than 500 people that were murdered in the streets of Los Angeles in
2002? In 1,000 years, will the world remember all of the innocent people that were victims of gang
violence? May the conflict end with my death. History will reveal that Madd Ronald was the last victim of
gang violence. Remember me the way that you would remember a Palestinian suicide bomber seeking
liberation from the conditions of oppression so that his children may have a chance in the future. These
words may sound like the lyrics of a rap song, but they are not and I am no rapper but an urban
survivalist and these are my lyrics of life. The cloth that holds my family together is red and it is stained
with the blood of my dead homies.

The tattoo of Rollin’ 20′s that is blocked up on my leg may be the only proof to a young archeologist in
1,000 years that the Rollin’ Twenties Neighborhood Bloods ever existed, while he studies the ruins of a
lost city called Los Angeles. Will the translation of the “2″ on my left back arm and the “0″ on my right
back arm, be kept in a museum and studied like hieroglyphics, when they realize that nations of black
and brown once existed in this now desolate graffitti filled wasteland? The only thing to remain will be
the knowledge, the nowledge of self destruction, knowledge of genocide, and the study of xenophobia.
Willie Lynch will be dead and we will no longer be slaves.

The same people that taught us virtue are the same ones that enslaved us. In this day and age, slavery
exists in the Sudan the same as it did in the deep South. In the Ivory Coast, there has been a civil war
for the past 4 months. An American protester was killed by an Israeli bulldozer a few weeks ago. She was
on a peace mission for humanity, trying to stop a Palestinian home from being torn down. I don’t know if
it is worse here in the hood where the war has been going on for the past 3 decades, or over in Iraq.

I ain’t down with Bush, I ain’t fightin’ for Bush, and I ain’t dyin’ for Bush. Like I may have expressed
before “Fuck the War,” We must support our family members who are involved in the military. I believe
that there should be some Bush’s and Cheney’s right out there dying on the front line like the true
Americans that they are. My 12 year old son (Ronald#2) might be drafted when he turns 18. For him it’s
either the Prison Industrial Complex or the Military Industrial Complex, all because Saddam Hussein did
not submit the right weapons report 6 years earlier. North Korea talks like they got the bomb and they
don’t give a fuck who knows. They fired a missile into the Sea of Japan a few weeks ago. They claim they
have a nuclear missile that can reach Los Angeles. I think that if we are going to war with anybody to
disarm weapons of mass destruction it needs to be North Korea. How can George W. Bush think about
disarming Iraq when he can’t even disarm the gang members in the hood. If we’re lucky North Korea will
push the button and civilization along with prejudice, hatred, genocide, and ignorance will all die at the
end of this sentence.

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