“Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves.”
– D.H. Lawrence, Classical American Literature, 1922
              Note: Generation X is a term used to describe people born from 1964 to the mid or late 1970’s. This generation follows the Baby Boomer Generation-our parents, which came to be after World War II. Though Generation X was the term used to describe the people of this particular time period, it has been used to describe anyone who is about my age at this time. Our biggest impact on popular culture started in the 80’s and peaked in the 90’s. The “X” in generation X represented the lack of identity-we were unsure of where our knack for trailblazing belonged, but we knew that we shared very little and were different from our Baby Boomer predecessors. Ahhh…and today, we now have Generation Y-typically the children of Generation X, and children of some of the younger members of The Baby Boomers. This generation-who’s members have not yet reached 30-are much different. This generation is marked by their familiarity with communications. They use technology at a higher rate than people from other generations. They are a generation of multi-tasking. 94% own a cell phone, 60% own an MP3 player. 76% use instant messaging. It is also a generation that spends at

least 3.5 hours online. The 20th century produced an enormous increase in birthrates, however families were smaller (due to lack of father presence) and many single parents were left to do it all alone, or with little help. Raising Generation Y without complete homes was bound to have aftereffects. In my previous random thought, I touched on Bad-ass Kids and Nature v.s Nurture. The random thoughts continue on Generation Y.

   “There was no respect for youth when I was young, and now that I am old, there is no respect for age-I missed it coming and going.” –J.B Priestly

            In a state of boredom while at work, I browsed countless videos on youtube.com in search of a scene from a movie that seemed to endlessly replay in my mind today. It was from “First Time Felon”, which starred Omar Epps and was directed by Charles S. Dutton in 1997. First Time Felon was inspired by the true story of Greg Yance. In the movie, Yance (Omar Epps) is a member of the Vice Lords Gang who goes to jail for what else but…selling drugs! He’s given a choice; 5 years in prison, or go to a boot camp program for a few months. He obviously chooses the boot camp-which winds up being much more than he bargained for-because of a Drill Sergeant named “Calhoun” who has a serious detest for Yance’s generation. The best part of that movie, which leads me to today’s random thought, is a scene where Calhoun confronts Yance in a storage room.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hB8CQhCv0DY  He lectures him on the war between Black People and Niggas. Calhoun confessed that he hates that white people look at him and still see Yance because they share the same race-though they have contrasting lifestyles. He calls Yance “the real Uncle Tom” because he’s the one doing white people’s work for them-He’s the one destroying the black race. And he ends it with the best line ever: “You just happy bein’ a muthafuckin’ Nigga!”
            At times, I look at the members of Generation Y in my hometown and I feel like Sergeant Calhoun. I don’t wish to come off as “uppity” or someone who is out of touch because of my education and pension for making better choices. I’m from Philly…born and raised, where bad choices and danger lurk on virtually every corner. But Generation Y poses a different level of danger; A class that displays little remorse, and even less restraint for their actions. 

 IS IT WRONG THAT I CAN’T STAND YOUNGBUCKS?!? By a youngbuck or “youngbull” as we call them in Philly, I mean those who’s ages range from fifteen to their late twenties. Is it wrong that I feel like the mere presence of them ruins everything?!? Ever been in a crowded movie theatre with a bunch of them? Ever been in a club or even college party and see fights break out? Ever see your favorite nightlife location become ghetto once they discover it? Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but the vast majority of homicide victims are their age, the vast majority of people pulling the trigger are their ages. Although technologically savvy, they’re responsible for most of the random violence, masochism, property destruction and the death of good fashion and Hip Hop music. Like Sergeant Calhoun, I too hate the fact that other races see their faces on television, overhear their vulgar conversations on the buses and trains and hear their tales of niggatry permeate the music airwaves-and put me in the same box as them.
            This past January, the story of Ellen Walton personified my worst fears for my parents, the Baby Boomers and those who are part of Generation X. Ellen Walton was just entering the back door of her Philadelphia home on Magnolia Street when she was attacked from behind. She was a 68-year-old grandmother and retired social worker, who lived in my old Germantown neighborhood. She was savagely beaten over the head and was found dead at the foot of her basement steps-next to her was a metal flying pan that was found nearly broken in half. Her house was ransacked and robbed and the murderer left the scene in her Toyota Rav-4 Jeep. The police found her car abandoned a few blacks away with the tires blown out. I looked at a photo that the media released of the victim, and something seemed eerily familiar. Her smile and some of her features reminded me of my own 60-year-old Mother. I called my sister and showed her a photo of the woman, who resembled our Mother. Suddenly, a crime that happens far too often here in Philadelphia felt personal. I wanted justice for her and closure for the family.
            Days later, police made an arrest. Corey Conaway, her 18-year-old neighbor was arrested and confessed to the crime. Conaway was burglarizing the house when Ellen Walton came home from shopping. She has known Corey ever since her was a baby. Corey was already caught-he didn’t want her to tell anyone. He then beat her with a frying pan, stole her car and went “joyriding.”
Surveillance video from a local store caught him in her car, and subsequently he crashed it a few blocks away, likely doin’ something stupid. In true Generation Y fashion, Corey attacked her on January 8th and returned back to the same home on January 10th to find her still alive. He once again left the house without summoning help. Police had gone to her house after finding the abandoned car and discovered her body…beaten to death. In a bitter twist of irony of Generation Y’s penchant for technology, Police released a photo taken from Corey’s myspace page, with him flashing a wad of money.
“When a man wants to murder a tiger, he calls it sport; when the tiger wants to murder him, he calls it ferocity. The distinction between crime and justice is no greater.”  -George Bernard Shaw

Speaking of Generation Y and their antics, I’M STRANGELY ADDICTED TO  “THE FIRST 48”: In my opinion, The First 48 is one of the best shows on television right now. The show deals with real life homicide investigations by real life homicide detectives in various cities around the country. The show’s name comes from the theory that when a homicide occurs, detectives often are often unable to solve those crimes, unless they get a lead within the first 48 hours of being called to the scene. In an hour of unscripted material, you follow detectives and a camera crew through several facets of the investigation: Observing the crime scene, interviewing suspects, interviewing witnesses, the interrogation, and ultimately the confession and the suspect being charged.  Some of the crimes are never solved, leaving the viewer in a state of What if? Virtually everyone will tell you that the best part of the show is the interrogation of suspects. I find that no matter how brutal the murder, or how tough the suspect appears, things often play out in very similar fashion when facing a first-degree murder charge.

First you have the suspect who’s brought into the police headquarters via anonymous tip or evidence. It’s unbelievable how much people lie. They do and say anything to maintain their innocence. People will act as if they have no idea why they’ve been summoned into a homicide office. The suspect says, “Yo…I didn’t do it! I swear to God! I swear on my child!” They put on an Oscar Award-winning performance, as they give false alibis, request lie detector tests, and swear of the souls of dead relatives. It really shows you just how much people lie when shit hits the fan.
The best element of the show is when police play good cop/bad cop to trick them into a confession or better yet-when a surveillance tape emerges capturing the crime. Then they show it to the suspect, and he’s wearing the same damn outfit he wore when he committed the videotaped crime. Now, this self-proclaimed thug is sitting there, crying and exclaiming how sorry his is and how he didn’t mean to do it. Priceless.
The one and only flaw of the show is that they only show homicides committed by minorities. Every homicide suspect is Black or Latino. I watch every episode of the First 48 and I’ve only seen two men charged that weren’t Black or Latino. The cities that are most commonly profiled are Birmingham Alabama, Memphis Tennessee, Dallas Texas, Miami Florida, Tucson Arizona, and Louisville Kentucky. Perhaps those areas have much to do with it, but I’ve seen Episodes in Minneapolis Minnesota, and the suspects are still always country-ass black people with stupid street nicknames like “Murder” or “Black” or “G-Rock.”
Being one of only three minorities at my job, I am extremely ashamed at how we’re portrayed on television-as a bunch of gun-toting, thieving, baby-making and ass-shaking miscreants, who would kill for a few dollars and end the life of another human being just because they stepped on our new sneakers or were lookin’ at us. The show, although extremely biased, is my addiction. It’s much like that bad automobile accident; it hurts to watch it, yet you can’t help but look. For some, their addiction is For The Love of Ray-J, but every Tuesday and Thursday, my eyes are glued to the A&E Channel for The First 48. I have a problem.

“Parents often talk about the younger generation as if they didn’t have anything to do with it.” –Maim Ginott

WHERE DOES GENERATION Y’s BULLSHIT COME FROM? A TRUE TALE OF STUPIDITY-Josh Billings once said, “Take all the fools out of this world and there wouldn’t be any fun living in it, or profit.”
I say put all the world’s fool in one large metropolis, and you’ve got Philadelphia. I thoroughly enjoy two things in my morning routine. The first is my daily medium-sized French Vanilla coffee from Dunkin’ Doughnuts…lots of cream…lots of sugar. The second part of my routine that I enjoy is The Philadelphia Daily News. They say that you can feed a starving child in Africa for 75 cents a day. That same denomination can purchase the most popular newspaper in the city, which keeps me in-tuned to the stories, events and people that make up Philadelphia life.
I was thoroughly disappointed-yet not surprised-at today’s lead story. Saturday afternoon, a couple walked into Platinum Ice & Jewelry, located at 6th and South Street with their 4-year-old son. The couple, Sheakia Stubbs and John Benson were buzzed into the store and asked to look at some engagement rings. One of the two created a diversion, and John Benson reached behind the counter and grabbed 15 rings, worth about $50,000. The couple then hauled ass out of the store with the Store Owner and his employee chasing them. Sheakia Stubbs, who was holding the jewelry, split from the man and the boy and ran into a City Blue clothing store to switch bags. The owner eventually caught up with Benson, but Benson pulled out a knife and slashed his throat. Despite being slashed by the thief, the owner continued to give chase for a block and a half. It was then that Benson decided that he needed to get rid of the dead weight. He let go of the 4-year-old’s hand and ran off-leaving the boy behind. Even though he was bleeding badly, the Store Owner stayed with the little boy until police arrived while John Benson ran off.
The son that the dead-beat parents left behind, ended up helping identify them to police, and they were swiftly arrested shortly after midnight yesterday. So now the child remains in the care of the Department of Human Services and Philadelphia has two parents-a Mom that had three prior arrests, with a Father that had 24 previous arrests-charged with attempted murder, robbery and endangering the welfare of a child. Why am I still living in this town?!?

There are two fools in this world. One is the millionaire who thinks that by hoarding money he can somehow accumulate real power, and the other is the penniless reformer who thinks that if only he can take the money from one class and give it to another, all the world's ills will be cured. –Henry Ford

…These Are The Random Thoughts Of Ronald Gray…