All Articles Tagged "violence"

Dangerous Knockout Game has Parents, General Public Worried

November 18th, 2013 - By Rich
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When teens are bored they get into trouble, but no one could’ve anticipated the horrible game Knockout that’s leaving people injured–or worse. Reports have spread that groups of teenagers randomly attack strangers to see if they can, as the name says, knock them out with just one punch. After surveillance recently caught three New Jersey boys beating a homeless man to death, people are starting to ask questions.

The game seems to be pretty widespread in the New York and New Jersey area and is becoming more common in Washington, D.C. There’s no real point to the game, teens questioned admit. It’s just about showing strength–most times, Knockout doesn’t even end in a robbery. It’s really scary and makes you feel so unsafe. What’s going on with kids that they think this is okay?

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Why Would Anyone Do This? Man Shoots 8-Year-Old Dallas Boy In The Face

September 6th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Man shoots 8-year-old Dallas boy in the face

Source: News One

8-year-old Donald Maiden Jr. was playing with friends outside of his Dallas, Texas apartment complex when a bullet struck him in the face around 7:00 pm Tuesday night, CBS Dallas reports. Witnesses say that after being shot, little Donald hit the ground, then jumped up and ran into his apartment.

“He hit the ground when the guy shot him. Then, he got up and ran to the house and asked his mom for water, and his mom saw all the blood coming out,” said DJ’s grandmother, Sharon Locklin.

“His jaw was just hanging off and all of his little friends were crying,” one onlooker told reporters.

“He was talking, but you could barely understand him,” said Justin Yancey, another witness to the shooting.

DJ’s babysitter revealed that when he made his way into the house, his family was hysterical.

“When he ran in, I just screamed. His mouth was just hanging off and it was just a big hole.  just threw him on the couch and laid him in my arms and put pressure on his mouth with the towel,” said DJ’s mother, Latamarin Locklin.

His shooter was identified as 46-year-old Brian Cloninger, who has been arrested and charged with injury to a child. His bond has been set at $2.2 million. His motive for shooting little DJ is unclear, but neighbors say that they saw him sitting in his vehicle in the parking lot of the Maiden family’s apartment complex prior to the shooting.

“I just don’t know why this would happen. I’ve never experienced anything like this. I don’t know why someone would just target an innocent child like this.” Locklin told reporters.

DJ remains in a medically induced coma with his jaw wired shut, a sight that his father, Donald Maiden Sr., says that he wasn’t ready for.

“When I first saw him in ICU, I started crying Donald Sr. I just put my head down in his bed and was holding his hand at the same time. And he opened his eyes. And when I raised back up I looked and there were tears rolling down his eyes and it gave me a little bit of spirit in my heart. It was joy, I guess he was kind of happy to know I was there.”

While Dallas police continue to investigate the circumstances surround the shooting, DJ faces a series of surgeries. He is however, expected to be okay.

“Everything’s just too much. I just want him to get better and recover. And law enforcement can deal with everything else,” DJ’s mother said.

We send our prayers to the Locklin and Maiden families.

Watch CBS Dallas’ full report on the next page.

You Are What You Watch: Are We Becoming Too Accepting Of Violence?

July 31st, 2013 - By Kendra Koger
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I hate having those personal face palm moments, but a few days ago, I had one.  Two of my sisters live in a different state than I do, but we keep in touch regularly by having “Sister Skype Sessions,” or doing a four way call, or having a group text.  One of my sisters has an adorable little girl, and one day texted us a video of her daughter riding the horse.  In the video, my sister’s husband is holding the reigns and walking along with his daughter on one side, and the other side the trainer is holding the other reign.

As I watched my niece I started giggling in anticipation.  I watched the whole video and when it was over I found myself saying:  “Is that it?”  I had to really think and try to understand what I felt I had missed, or wanted to see.  My sister’s video didn’t give a hint to something happening in the end, but I was waiting for something to happen.  After a few minutes, I realized what I was expecting.  I was expecting for brother-in-law to fall in the mud, and for my niece and the horse to keep on walking right along as if nothing happened, leaving him there.  I don’t know why I was expecting this.  I love my brother-in-law.  He’s such a nice person, amazing husband to my sister, and father to their two children.  But I was waiting to see this thing happen to him.  Now, I wasn’t hoping that he would get hurt, maybe just dragged a little, and then the video ends with him getting up and laughing with my sister about how “crazy that was.”

But why was I expecting this?  When sending a group message to my sisters about my expectations of the video I realized that maybe it was all of the other crazy things that I’ve been watching.  I realized that when I would get bored I would go to Youtube or Worldstar and watch those crazy mishap videos.  Videos of people getting hurt.  Now, I can’t stomach those “fight compilations,” but I will watch a woman getting kicked by a vigilante, or poor Scarlet and her notorious tumble.  I then began to realize that I might not watch all of the craziness of “Love and Hip Hop ATL,” but every Tuesday I’m posted up to watch “Bad Girls Club” (and sometimes I’ll watch the episode before to read all of the Twitter comments.)

I feel like I’m beginning to become desensitized to the violence, and that’s not good.  You can tell in comment sections of certain videos that other people might be too.  The sad thing about this realization is that many of the videos are violence against women.  As a woman I can’t co-sign it, but I would certainly laugh at it.  That’s worse!  I would be on my high horse of “women need to stick together,” and then rewind the foolishness on Youtube or WSHH, and then send it to other people to share the “hilarity.”

After the horse video, I realized that the saying “You are what you eat,” is very applicable to other areas of your life.  Whatever you are feeding yourself, entertainment-wise, whether it’s musically, videos, or art, whatever you allow into your spirit, it becomes a part of you.  Just like any eating plan, you’re allowed to have cheat days, but just be careful with indulging too much, because you might not like what you see in the mirror when it’s too late.

Kendra Koger is on an entertainment diet… right after Bad Girls All Stars Battle ends.  Tweet her @kkoger.

Can Someone Tell Me Why There’s A Video Game Called “Angry Trayvon”?

July 9th, 2013 - By Clarke Gail Baines
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Angry Trayvon

I don’t buy games via apps on my phone. I downloaded Words With Friends a while back and before I knew it I was over it, specifically because it took up too much space on my phone. Because of my lack of knowledge on games everybody’s talking about and playing on their phones, I had heard nothing about this new game called “Angry Trayvon” until a reader asked if we’d come across it (so for those who might say, “You’re late!” that’s my excuse). When I looked it up and found it through Google Play, I couldn’t believe my eyes. There in a hooded gray sweatshirt, jeans, and sneakers was a character made to look like a “terror,” going from place to place allegedly trying to exact revenge on bad guys in different cities. There’s video of how the game works on YouTube. Here’s the description according to the Google Play site:

“Trayvon is angry and nobody can stop him from completing his world tour of revenge on the bad guys who terrorize cities everyday.
Use a variety of weapons to demolish Trayvon’s attackers in various cities around the world.
As you complete a level, you will notice more bad guys coming at Trayvon at a faster pace and a deadlier attack.
If you like to attack from far, then purchase the ‘dagger’ as you will be able to throw it at your enemies for the kill.
If you want to dominate the leaderboards across the world, then make sure you collect the money that the bad guys will drop once you kill them to increase your score.”

A very idiotic person could probably try and act like this is all coincidence, including the developers who said on their Twitter page, “Angry Trayvon is fictitious and is was not intended to portray any people in real life.” However, with the name Trayvon and the hoodie, it’s clear that someone at Trade Digital thought they were slick and knew that some probably very hateful people would try and support it. While there are many things wrong with this game and the idea of it, the biggest problem is that the developers are trying to profit off of the death of a teenager as his family and friends continue to mourn his death and try to fight the many attempts to trash his character and fight for justice in court. As if watching this train wreck of a court case wasn’t enough, you’ve got people trying to make light out of the loss of life. I would say I’m surprised, but I’m not, just disappointed at the world we live in sometimes. People will never understand how painful these type of situations are until they go through them, and they should hope to God that they, as well as their loved ones, do not.

I’ve found the Facebook page for the game––and luckily there are people there already letting developers know their game is disgusting. Feel free to do the same…

UPDATE*** On the “Angry Trayvon” Facebook page, this was posted by developers about all the controversy:

“The people spoke out therefore this game was removed from the app stores. Sorry for the inconvenience as this was just an action game for entertainment. This was by no means a racist game. Nonetheless, it was removed as will this page and anything associated with the game will be removed.”

Hmph. We’ll wait and see if it really gets pulled or if they’re just trying to save face knowing they still plan on profiting from this tragedy. Either way, it’s a little too late for apologies.

A Striking New Gun Control Campaign: Does It Work?

April 17th, 2013 - By Rich
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The gun control debate has been raging on as the country tries to figure out how best to protect itself, especially its children. A new series of PSAs from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense wants people to settle the debate once and for all.

The “Choose One” PSAs, designed by Grey Advertising Agency, show two children, one holding a seemingly harmless object and the other holding an assault rival.The copy reads, “One child is holding something that has been banned in America to protect them. Guess which one.” A little girl in the first PSA is holding a copy of Little Red Riding Hood, an edition of which had been banned from two California school districts because Red brings Grandma a bottle of wine in bed. The other two in the series, set to be rolled out later, have a child holding a dodge ball, recently deemed too unsafe to play at schools in New Hampshire, and Kinder Surprise eggs, chocolate candies hiding toys inside.

The ads are stark and surprising, but the Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, says she doesn’t want all guns banned; she hopes a moderate but effective move will be made by the government. Background checks and a  ban on assault weapons and magazines containing more than 10 rounds should be enough to prevent another tragic incident like Sandy Hook.

Do you think the ads work?

A Striking New Gun Control Campaign: Does It Work?

The Angry White Man: What Does This Lincoln Nebraska Beatdown Say About The “Threatening Black Man” Stereotype?

April 17th, 2013 - By Charing Ball
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Troy Fischer attack

Here is a story from the weekend, which kind of skirted under the radar of the black blogosphere.

From the Lincoln Journal Star:

A StarTran bus driver caught beating a rider on video and then dragging him onto O Street was fired this week. Troy Fischer, 43, punches the 40-year-old man 18 times in the video while the bus was at 84th and O streets March 23. He then throws the passenger to the floor, before dragging him out of the bus as the man holds onto the door. Fischer leaves the man in the eastbound lane of O Street and takes off, making a left-hand turn into the Southeast Community College campus.”

This happened on a bus in Lincoln, Nebraska. The video of the incident is pretty hardcore. In it, we see an overly-emotional Fischer aggressively shove the unidentified black man so hard that he falls back onto a row of seats on the bus before jumping on him and beating him down. The victim seems as confused by why he was being attacked for asking a question as anybody watching the video probably is. Fisher then slammed the man’s head into a row of seats and then proceeded to physically drag him from the bus out into the middle of the road, where he leaves him there. According to the Journal article, the bus driver has been fired and police have cited Fischer for misdemeanor assault. The unidentified man in the video had his statement taken by the police the day of the assault, but as the Journal writes, investigators have lost contact with the alleged victim after the incident.

What the heck is going on with bus drivers today? And why was the bus driver only charged with a misdemeanor? And more importantly, where is this victim? I can certainly understand why he wouldn’t come forward. But I hope the man is safe and okay.

My first instinct is that this assault might have been racially motivated. However, the full video also shows that prior to the attack, there are three other young men on the bus, and at least one looks to be of non-white origin. So perhaps this is just an instance of an over-worked and hot-headed (or possibly mentally ill) bus driver having a William “D-FENS” Foster moment on a passenger, who was asking way too many questions. However, watching the raw video of the incident, which is about 30 minutes total, the guy, while slightly annoying with his repetition, might have asked a total of five questions over the course of 30 minutes. Likewise, when the bus driver approached him, the black guy, while putting his hands up, says very calmly, “I don’t want any trouble.” Nothing we see in the video appeared threatening on his part, or prohibited the driver from doing his job in any way. He stopped the bus, got up, and looked for a fight. Therefore, there really is no justification to beat a man down like that – unless you have some underlining issue we are not seeing.

My second instinct is to wonder why this unidentified man did not try to fight back? I get it. Some folks are just not fighters. And then there is also a difference between what we say we would do in similar situations and what might actually occur. Like the time in college when my girlfriends and I were standing outside of a night spot and a Jeep full of white boys rolled down the window and yelled “ni**er” at us. I always imagine that when faced with blatant racism, I would do or say something heroic, but the reality was that we just stood there shocked and confused.  And by the time we regained our composure, they had peeled off down the street.

But when it was evident that trouble was definitely going to go down -with or without his consent – why didn’t he throw his hands up, and at the very least, try to defend himself? Even if he isn’t a fighter, close your eyes and hit him with the windmill. It used to work for me – sometimes. And I don’t want to make this seem like I’m blaming the victim; there was nothing he did that caused this incident to occur. But this video was very uncomfortable to watch, mainly because of how this unidentified black man went on to be non-violent in the face of an extremely aggressive man.

There has been research, which suggests that at least subconsciously, black men are judged as more threatening than their white counterparts. It’s a fact that most black men will tell you from personal experience is the case. And many brothers might tell you how daily they must work to offset these stereotypes of being threatening and/or dangerous, including dressing very conservatively and being mindful of how their bodies are interacting in certain contexts. Those contexts could include walking behind women; making sure there is no emotion in their speaking voices, and most importantly, not looking lackadaisical. That last part is important when it comes to interactions with the police and was a factor when George Zimmerman decided to follow the young lad he found “suspicious,” named Trayvon Martin.

If not for the presence of the video, I’m pretty sure most folks’ initial reaction would have been to assume that the black man had done something to cause his assault. Television news and crime statistics often offer comfort to those who feel justified in fearing black men. And I think that part of the reason why this bus driver felt the need to escalate the situation was so that he could get an upperhand at what he thought was about happen. Sadly, it just goes to show you how every black man is a perceived threat, even if they are the ones less likely to do harm.

Deeper Than Twerking: For Parents of Little Black Girls, Hold Off On The Whoopings And Try Open And Honest Communication First

April 12th, 2013 - By La Truly
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twerking father

I understand that frustration, disbelief and even rage aren’t foreign emotions for parents. I know because I have a mother who didn’t pull any punches. I can empathize with parents because though I wasn’t as bad as many of the kids I grew up with – I was NOT an easy child to deal with.

Where my concern increases is when it comes to black girls. We’re quick to beat them, ground them, and punish them for their behavior or acting out, sometimes (most horrifyingly) in suggestive ways, but my question is this: How often do we talk to them?

In the 2nd grade, I was dared to write a dirty love letter to a kid in my class. Being the Billy Jean Bad A** that I was, I did it with no qualms. Never dreamed that the kid I wrote it to would give the letter to my teacher who then called my mother. How embarrassing for my mother to get THAT call about her pig-tailed daughter. Best believe I got a whoopin’ when I got home that day.

The embarrassment and subsequent anger of being confronted with your 2nd grade daughter’s rather sophisticated and graphic version of a love letter has to be through the roof. But the fear in wondering where she could have possibly learned all of this has to be even greater. And so, although my mother did ask why I wrote it, I couldn’t give any kind of soul-bearing answer at that age so she truly believed a good slap (or 15) on the butt would set me straight. It did, sort of. I never wrote anything like that again. But all the things leading to that love letter wouldn’t be discussed and a healing process wouldn’t begin until I was 22 years old. That’s a long time to be walking around with insecurity, shadows of bad memories, and emotional trauma you can’t quite work out no matter how many church services you go to or journals you fill.

So, when I saw the story of the girls who were beat for creating a twerk video, I understood both sides. I understood that the video they created was only a symptom of much deeper insecurity they’re dealing with. I understood their father’s anger, because as many of my male friends have expressed to me, where daughter’s are concerned, the black father’s role, in their mind, is to keep their daughter(s) off the pole. So I understood, but I grieved as well. I grieved for the root that was planted in those young ladies’ minds that caused them to believe popping their butts on camera would bring them admiration, respect, or love. I grieved for a father who never wanted this for his daughters, but who acted out of rage and embarrassment more than out of love. I grieved for the society that praises black women for being voluptuous but not for being value-based. But more than anything, I grieved for the generational curse of non-communication we face as a race.

While my mother and I have built an amazing relationship over the past few years, she’s been honest with me in saying that there were always things she never wanted to discuss with my sister and me, for fear that she would put the wrong ideas in our heads. I asked if she had had a communicative childhood with her parents and she told me that she hadn’t, not really. While there was unconditional love, communication wasn’t as free-flowing. I now see the pattern that had plagued not only my family but today plagues millions of families nationwide. The Internet and the media are a big machine. Our children are small wonders getting caught in that soul-crushing grind before they even get a chance to know and love themselves.

While I do believe physical discipline (not abuse) within reason and administered out of LOVE can be useful in parenting, open and honest communication MUST always be our first line of defense. There is a WORLD of things beyond a child’s comprehension and emotional maturity that young people are dealing with nowadays. If they can’t know that they have a safe space to express themselves with their own parents, where will they go and to whom will they run for affirmation?


La Truly writes to encourage and catalyze thought, discussion and positive change among young women. She is a contributor to MadameNoire.  Follow La on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and AboutMe

Pregnant Woman To Receive $55K From The City of Chicago After Being Tasered By Police

April 9th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: NBC Chicago

Source: NBC Chicago

Last June, Tiffany Rent, a 31-year-old Chicago woman was shocked three times with a stun gun by police outside of a Walgreens store. The incident came during a dispute over a parking ticket, which Rent didn’t believe that she deserved, so she tore it up, refused to show the officer identification and got back into her car. Rent says Officer Reginald Pippen then threatened to arrest her and stuck his arm in her window, shocking her three times with his taser, reports News One. Did I mention that Rent was 8 months pregnant at the time and that her two children were in the backseat, completely hysterical over what they’d witnessed?

According to  The Chicago Sun-Times, Rent says the other two officers who were with Pippen, Ronald Forgue and Dennis Smith “laughed and mocked” her as she cried out in pain during the assault. Following the incident, Rent was taken to a nearby hospital and she later filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago. Last week the City and Rent reached a decision in which the South Side mom will receive $55,000.

The City’s settlement attorneys say that the agreement  “is not, in any way, an admission of wrongdoing by the City or any officers involved” and Pippen still maintains that he wasn’t aware of Rent’s pregnancy. The case is still being reviewed by the Independent Police Review Authority.

Despite all of the craziness that occurred one month prior, Rent gave birth to a healthy baby boy last July.


What are your thoughts on this incident?

Boy Set on Fire 4 Years Ago Arrested on Drug Charges

March 21st, 2013 - By Rich
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Michael Brewer, 18, was a victim four years ago but now he’s finding himself on the other side of the law, NBC reported. The Palm Beach native was set on fire in 2009 by three classmates, after which he originally told police was a dispute over a $40 video game. But the then 15-year-old boy who once received an outpouring of sympathy (from his community and even the Miami Heat) is now facing $6,000 bail.

It was later discovered that Brewer argued with the three other boys over the sale of drug paraphernalia. Another boy threw rubbing alcohol on Brewer, followed by a lit match. Though Brewer was able to jump into the swimming pool, he still had burns over 60 percent of his body. And it seems since that incident, Brewer hasn’t learned his lesson. Wednesday, Brewer was stopped by police at a traffic late. Officers found crack cocaine, marijuana, prescription drugs, 14 glass pipes, two-foot bong and other paraphernalia in his car. He also had two juveniles passengers. Despite the number of illegal items found on him, it’s expected Brewster will be released today. He will also have to subject to random drug testing.



Chicago Baby Dead from Gang Violence

March 12th, 2013 - By Rich
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In an extremely sad story, Reuters reported that a 6-month-old baby was killed, apparently in a gang-related attack. Jonathan Watkins was changing his daughter’s diaper in the front seat of his car when he was shot. The attackers also managed to shoot baby Jonylah Watkins five times. She was pronounced dead after undergoing surgery to save her life.

Police are currently unsure whether Watkins was affiliated with a gang, but the nature of the shooting does seem to be gun related. The shooter was picked up in a blue van immediately after shooting the two victims. Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said in at a press conference that it was obvious someone was targeting the father specifically. This tragedy comes very close on the heels of the shooting that killed Hadiyah Pendleton, the teenage girl who was killed just days after performing at President Obama’s inauguration this January. Chicago has experienced nearly 50 homicides this year.