“There are hundreds of millions of gun owners in this country, and not one of them will have an accident today. The only misuse of guns comes in environments where there are drugs, alcohol, bad parents and undisciplined children. Period.”  -Ted Nugent

            Someone once told me that parents, who are always giving their children nothing but the best, usually wind up with nothing but the worst. I was inspired to write this random thought on two of my biggest pet peeves: BAD ASS PARENTS and BAD ASS CHILDREN. I received a video from a friend of mine on facebook, highlighting a news story that aired in Memphis, Tennessee. There was a house fire in Memphis that left one child dead, and one child in the hospital in critical condition, fighting for his life. 2-year old Catareon Dunn and 3-year old Ladareon Dunn (what the hell is up with these NAMES?) were left home alone by their poor excuse for a mother and aunt-who left the children unattended to go “drop off a friend.”
Neighbors called 911 to report a house on fire and children screaming, but were unable to enter the building and save them. Ladareon died shortly after firefighters pulled him from the house, and Catereon remains in critical condition. The random act of “niggatry” that happened next truly enraged me-not just as an Educated Negro, but as a human being.
            Now everyone who watches the News or reads the newspaper knows that journalists will interview the biggest idiot that they can find in order to: A) make an uneducated person appear even more stupid and B) to obtain the most controversial quote they can find in order to both sell newspapers and promote themselves. One of the media decided to go directly to Marilyn Wilson, the child’s aunt, whose absence was the reason for the children’s death. When asked if she had any regrets about leaving the children home alone she said, “No, I really don’t because if they had been there by themselves, I don’t know if the boys set the house on fire or somebody threw something in there to set it on fire. I really need to get in there to see if my purse burned up. I had my food stamp card and everything in there.”
Just when you thought the dumbest things that black folk could ever say were limited to BET and Reality TV…
“All good qualities in a child are the result of environment, while all the bad ones are the result of poor hereditary on the side of the other parent.” - Elinor Smith

            At what point does horrible parenting begin? Is it when we decide to have unprotected sex with individuals who have no history of employment, no concept of responsibility, or have reoccurring stints in the state Penitentiary? Is it when we create these absurd and profiling names for our children, which can potentially limit their chances at their job of choice? And limit how seriously society takes them?
Or is it when our children are 6-years old and have a PlayStation 3 with every game, but no computer in the house? Could it be when our kids know every lyric to every rap song that permeates the radio airwaves, but can’t read on their own grade’s reading level? Or is it when things are past the point of no return, as children begin having children and mothers become young grandmothers-raising not only their children…But their children’s children.
            And let’s not forget those parents who’s cars should bear the bumper sticker that reads: PROUD PARENT OF A NEIGHBORHOOD DRUG DEALER, because these fickle individuals have society’s plague living right in their homes and act as if they have no idea what their children’s occupation of choice is. Let us be honest with ourselves for a second. If you have a child who does not have a job and is not in school, but maintains an expensive wardrobe and somehow manages to contribute to bills and have money to go out with friends-then perhaps your child has a brick of cocaine duct-taped to the bottom of their twin-sized bed. Do you come to every little league football game that your child has, and are oftentimes the loudest cheering parent on the sideline, but miss every Parent Teacher Night that their school has? You’re well on your way to being a Bad Ass Parent. How the hell do you look coming to every little league practice and running your mouth with other football Moms and Dads, and you don’t even know the name of the Teacher who educates and watches your child seven hours a day?!?

            The myth is that strange parenting habits are limited to certain races and economic classes. In the suburb of Labanon, Pennsylvania, a white soccer Mom had made news headlines months ago, because she attended her daughter’s soccer game carrying a loaded Glock .45 Pistol on her hip. The pistol was holstered on her hip in plain view-which upset the other parents. The sheriff revoked her license to carry and conceal a weapon, due to a PA State law, which prohibits gun permits to be given to people whose character and reputation make them a danger to public safety. That’s a rather kind way of saying No crazy bastards should be carrying guns in this state for the safety of those within shooting distance of you. Headlines were once again made when another judge overturned that decision, but the controversy resurfaced when Melanie Hain, the Soccer Mom, still wanted to be in attendance at her daughter’s soccer games carrying her loaded weapon. Oh…did I mention that she also ran a daycare out of her house? I’m from Philadelphia, and I’m no stranger to guns…or the violence that ensues when morons handle guns. I believe that people should be able to carry concealed weapons and protect themselves…but why does a Soccer Mom need a Glock .45 at a Soccer Game?!?

            I guess it’s really true when they say Live By The Sword…Die By The Sword, because Melanie Hain once again made headlines this month, when the October 9th issue of the Philadelphia Daily News read: Gun-Packing Soccer Mom killed in murder-suicide.
Melanie Hain was fatally shot alongside her parole-officer husband at their home. The parents of three children, ages 2, 6 and 10 were rumored to be having marital difficulties. I guess the crazed soccer mom was married to someone a bit crazier. In a twist of irony, there was a car seen parked in their driveway with a badge shaped NRA sticker which read, NRA Law Enforcement.
            Last Thursday I came across another controversial article in The Philadelphia Daily News that I have mixed feelings on and wondered if readers of thegrayareas.com could give me their opinions on the matter. This is an article that was written by Mensah M. Dean entitled: HARD LIFE GETS KILLER A LIGHTER SENTENCE:
            The life that Bilal Gay had lived up until the night he fatally shot a neighborhood rival in a recreation center on Jan. 18th 2008, was heartbreakingly sad.
            On that night, Gay, who was 16, had already lived through the home-invasion murder of his mother, abuse at the hands of his father who is now incarcerated, more abuse in a foster home and had dropped out of a disciplinary high school in ninth grade.
            Common Pleas Judge Carolyn Engel Temin yesterday cited the sorry circumstances of Gay’s life in sentencing him to seven to 20 years in state prison for voluntary manslaughter and weapon’s offenses.
            The judge ordered that Gay’s sentences run concurrently rather than consecutively, as the prosecutor had recommended. “We as a society did not take care of you,” the judge said referring to the years after Gay’s mother’s murder.
            “We did not offer you the…care that you needed,” she added, “but you are getting it now.” He had faced a maximum sentence of 16 to 32 years in prison after a jury convicted him on Aug. 28 of voluntary manslaughter, carrying a gun without a license and possessing an instrument of crime in the death of Charles “Frog” Trotman, 16. The violence broke out inside the crowded Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, at 22nd Street and Cecil B. Moore Ave, where as many as 100 people had gathered to watch a basketball game.
            During the trial, Gay said that he had tracked Trotman to the rec center to get the cell phone and the $20 that the victim had stolen from him at gunpoint 15 minutes earlier. Gay testified that he opened fire when he thought that the victim was reaching for a gun. Assistant District Attorney Richard Sax maintained that there was no evidence that Trotman had robbed Gay, and no cell phone or money was found on his body.
            “You are not a bad person, Mr. Gay, but you a horrible, horrible thing,” the judge said. With tears in his eyes and gravel in his voice, Gay turned in his chair to
address the victim’s mother.

“I didn’t mean to do it,” he said. “I was young.”

            What do you guys think of this? This is something that happens very often here in Philadelphia. A young man, seemingly brought up since birth to never amount to much, does the expected; he kills another young black man, and goes to jail. Potentially facing 16 to 20 years, the judge changes it to 7 to 20 because he had a rough life. This means that he has a minimum of seven years in jail, and may get parole in five-for taking the life of another 16 year old black kid. What the hell?!? Am I dreaming?!? Who gives a shit if he had a rough life? Now…I was never from the projects, but my family was poor…and strict. Awwww…he had a bad life? What black kid in Philadelphia doesn’t? There were times, where my parents had so many rules and restrictions I would have thought I was living under the same roof as Hitler. Growing up, kids love water fights. In the Gray household, I wasn’t allowed to play with any type of guns (thanks to my Mom). Water-Guns, Cap-Guns, Toy Guns, SuperSoakers…no guns! But guess what? You don’t see me reaching for one now to settle infantile beefs with other idiots-who should have spent more of their time either hitting the books or learning self defense at the nearest Karate Dojo. He says, “I was young” to the victim’s mother. I say he is still young…and after spending a few years in a Pennsylvania Prison, which has a proven track record of not rehabilitating inmates…will still be young when he hits the streets…and just as dumb
…These Are The Random Thoughts Of Ronald Gray…

feel free to respond at http://www.thegrayareas.com/


Volume 40: The Wizard Of Oz

“Close your eyes and tap your heels three times. And think to yourself, there’s no place like home.”  -The Wizard Of Oz

            Even though it’s a classic from 1939, I will never forget the first time that I saw The Wizard Of Oz- perhaps the most memorable movie I’ve watched during my childhood. When it aired on television last week, I thought to myself about a few things and decided that it would be my next random thought. It’s amazing how one views a movie at the age of five…as opposed to viewing that same movie at thirty. I observed how the main character Dorothy, befriends a scarecrow, a tin man and cowardly lion-who join her in the hopes of receiving what they themselves lack (a brain, a heart, and courage). The storyline to one of the greatest movies ever, began to sound eerily similar to the perils that men and women endure in their lives, as well as the characters we meet along the way.

Many of us are in fact like Dorothy Gale, the 12-year-old farm-girl from Kansas. Many of us dream of a better place “somewhere over the rainbow” …a place where true happiness exists; many of us dream of a place where we can find success and find our soul’s counterpart. We find ourselves swept up suddenly in a tornado of circumstance and deposited in a field of unfamiliar territory…our life’s version of The Land Of Oz. It’s then that we realize, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”

             A man or woman’s quest for love is much more complex than simply following the yellow brick road. However, like Dorothy, many of us believe that our only means of getting home lies in an adventurous journey to an Emerald City to ask for a Wizard’s help. Life’s Wizards come in various forms: Celebrities, friends, radio talk show hosts, authors, relationship gurus- various forms of people that we seek the advice of and confide in…turning to them for a solution to our problems. And just as evidenced in the movie, our real life Wizard’s become exposed for being frauds, as opposed to the “all powerful” wizards that that want us to think that they are. So…accessorized with our ruby red Gucci slippers and our dog Toto, we set out to begin our journey.

Scarecrow: “I haven’t got a brain…only straw.”
Dorothy: How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?”
Scarecrow: “I don’t know…but some people without brains do an awful lot of talking…don’t they?”
Dorothy: “Yes, I guess you’re right.”

            I’ve come across quite a few Scarecrows in my travels. By scarecrows, I mean the individuals who are lacking intelligence. My life’s scarecrows have come in the forms of women lacking street savvy, and finding themselves victims of lies and carefully crafted manipulation from the fellas. In other instances, scarecrows have been male friends in my circle; some victims of circumstance, some dumb as toast-at times their decisions and random buffoonery having an adverse effect on everyone. I recently was told, “Beauty without intelligence is like painting a masterpiece on a napkin.”

Yes…life’s idiots sure are something to behold. How many of us have friends who do the same dumb things over and over? Most of us have that friend who can’t seem to stay out of trouble-the adrenaline rush of random drama rivals a fiend’s urge for that next fix. Perhaps it’s that love-struck woman, who falls for that same idiot over and over…doomed to a life of a Scarecrow…never learning from her mistakes.

            Later in our journey, we come upon the “Cowardly Lion.” These are the men and women who are afraid of commitment. People who suffer from the fear of commitment have the avoidance of long-term partnership and/or marriage, but the problem becomes much deeper than that. They will always claim that they’re eager to find a serious relationship and one day get married, yet do everything possible to ruin potential long-lasting connections. The same things they fear most are the very things that they crave: love, affection and commitment. “Cowardly Lions” have emotional flaws that are deeply rooted in their fears of their lost options and fears of making poor decisions. They look at relationship decisions as “permanent” and will often exhibit behaviors, such as pursuing unattainable people, fleeing from stable romance, and walking out on partners without closure. Crazy bastards they are…(laughing). The courage that they seek and need comes from within.
“Courage is simply the willingness to be afraid and act anyway.” –Dr. Robert Anthony

            And finally, what would life be without the Tin Man? What are they lacking? The tin man has no heart. They go about their love lives selfishly and do not wear their hearts on their sleeve. Some would define these individuals as bitter. Others go as far as to say that it’s the accumulation of years of pain and hurt-and somehow the Tin Man trait is simply a defense mechanism to avoid more heartache. Honestly? I’ll be damned if I know why people do it. If you’ve ever been through a bad relationship and had the gut-wrenching experience of a bad breakup, you probably can understand how one can emerge from it looking at the opposite sex in a different light and projecting their inner pains onto the next person they date. Sometimes us brothas can unintentionally project our pain to the sistas…sometimes it’s done intentionally. I myself came dangerously close to becoming a Tin Man after a multitude of failed attempts at love. If my love life had a soundtrack, it would have been named “Nice Guys finish dead last.”

            I once read an article, which stated that men and women are all animals. Men are like dogs…women are like cats. Cats sneak around, they don’t help you when you’re in distress, they don’t get along with other cats, are attention-seeking, temperamental and enjoy being rubbed the right way. Men…we’re like dogs. We get along well with other dogs, we’re loyal as hell, horny as hell, love to play and are simple…basic creatures. Like men, the dogs have one downfall…they chase cats/women. They never catch them, which makes me wonder why they even bother. The same goes for brothas chasin’ women. If a woman expects to be chased, forget her because after all…we’re not just stupid dogs.

…These Are The Random Thoughts Of Ronald Gray…