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East Bay | Racial Justice

The Differences: Being Black or White and a Murderer
by Krea Gomez
Tuesday Mar 31st, 2009 8:13 PM
Originally published in Davey D's Hip Hop Corner
The killing of 4 Oakland police officers and Lovelle Mixon, the 26 year old who shot it out with the OPD and killed 4 officers before being killed has kept me up at night. No, it's not because I fear for my life or because I am concerned about cop killing becoming a trend but, because as an advocate for youth in the criminal justice system, I am realizing what these youth are up against when it comes to receiving a second chance at life after being released from incarceration. This has been most apparent w/ peoples response and lack of understanding of the life of someone re-entering society after prison. There are a couple of things that people should remember and consider when understanding our criminal justice system.

1) the juvenile justice system, is built of the philosophy that youth don’t have the mental capacity to fully understand the impact of the decisions that result in them being detained. Therefore they deserve a second chance. The juvenile justice system exist to rehabilitate those that are too young to be held fully accountable for their crimes.

2)The CRIMINAL justice system is built on the philosophy that you are old enough and should not only be held accountable for your decisions but should also be punished for your actions. It is NOT rehabilitative (for those that thought it was principled like that) however, the law states for both systems that when you have completed your time you should no longer receive scrutiny or punishment and should be considered redeemed.

However, our laws are contradictory to those basic philosophies of redemption. Laws like the Higher Education Act, which prohibits those that have been convicted of drug crimes from qualifying for financial aid to attend college. Or the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act which deems those who have been convicted of, once again a drug or violent felony ineligible for subsidized housing programs. Housing and higher education-two things necessary to achieving a crime free and successful future.with this said, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone why life for folks like Lovelle Mixon is so hard after prison and why returning to a life of crime, not only familiar but easy, becomes the destiny for so many leaving prison and re-entering society.

Two programs located in Oakland, One Fam and the Mentoring Center risk receiving less than adequate funding for working with young black and brown men and women re-entering society after incarceration. Both these programs not only provide life skills training, but also help young men and women assess the very decisions they made and make that create less than adequate life outcomes but also result in jail.believing that people can be rehabilitated proves to be beneficial for everyone. these programs reduce recidivism and help create confident people who positively contribute to their communities through community service and other forms of giving back.

Its been interesting and sad to see how the very fact that Lovelle was an ex-offender has deemed him a “devil” by mainstream media and the general public and unworthy of investigating the very factors that created the 26 year old who so desperately did not want to return to the very system that helped create this cop killer. Compared to the news coverage two young white men Eric and Dillon, received,in April 1999, one has to ask if news coverage would look different if Lovelle was white?

For those that don’t remember Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, embarked on a massacre, killing 12 students and a teacher, as well as wounding 23 others, before committing suicide at Columbine High in Littleton, Next month is the 10 year anniversary. It is the fourth-deadliest school shooting in United States history. In the days and hours following the Columbine Massacre, Eric and Dillon were profiled by everyone. Major talk show host from Geraldo to Oprah aired profile specials on these two young men. There were an awful lot of people, especially parents of white teenagers who began asking the question “how did this happened?” There were primetime specials that analyzed their upbringing, created a list of “signs to look for”for parents who potentially may have been raising “eric and dillons”. There was such an interest in trying to do everything possible to find a reason for their behavior and not call them devil children and cold blooded killers. But not Lovelle.To discuss the contributing factors to his behavior is “insensitive” of the police that lost there lives.It is providing an excuse for a man many believe did not deserve to live.

After columbine there was a memorial commissioned by the community on the hill across from the school that the massacre happened at.15 crosses were erected,13 for the victims; students who lost their lives and the teacher who died trying to save them and 2 crosses for eric and dillion, the killers. As mad and outraged as many were, people felt sorry for them. People knew something “had to be wrong” with these boys. There was no public outcry or protest for crosses being added for the killers.
Fast forward to one week ago in Oakland and the Uhuru House holds a memorial to pay tribute to Mixons life lost and they are scrutinized by not only the public but the media and are now in jeoprady of losing their Furniture store that not only funds programs for youth but employs folks in the community. The contributing factors to Mixon’s lifestyle are as plain as day. He couldn’t find a job, after serving time his life was under a microscope as a parolee, his skills were limited due to incarceration. Things that have made men walk into previous places of employment and take out former coworkers before killing themselves. So what’s so different? Mixon killed cops. Men who take an oath to protect and serve (aka willingly put their life on the line to keep the general public safe) and knew that everyday they could have been killed while on duty. Not innocent children like Eric and Dillon killed.

Why do people believe Mixon killed? According to the general public becuz he was just evil. Why did Eric and Dillon kill? The list is endless and without the same certainty that many give to the Mixon rationale; they were depressed, on drugs, part of ‘The Trench Coat Mafia’, victims of bullies. However psychologist have a different conclusion, one that is far more disturbing than Mixons dispair. They were diagnosiable psychopaths.(http://www.slate.com/id/2099203/)


In my opinion the Columbine boys were far more sadistic and deserve less sympathy for two reason. Their upbringing was impeccable. They came from homes with two loving parents, had more than adequate living conditions, and had friends -there WERE no contributing factors other than these two kids were sick punk ass white kids who decided to shoot up there school to show they could do it. And unlike Mixon, they research and planned to kill; they researched bomb making, staked out the school and accumulated a fair amount of ammunition prior to the killings to execute their plan. Everything was sooo premeditated.

As for Mixon, life was not so sweet. And in the end Mixon only had freedom, the ability to roam where he wanted to. He had no job, no home to call his own, and less than a network of support adequate enough to help steer him in the right direction.there were no weeks of planning to kill 4 cops.In those seconds before he shot those cops he knew two things-his freedom, the only thing he had, was going to be taken away and he had a gun. The rest is now history.

Being poor and of color should never mean you have to fight twice as hard to live a decent life but it does. With this recession turning “well to do people” into desperate ass victims of the economy, I want to see what they are going to do when life outcomes for their children start to mirror those of poor people of color. Will there be laws created to deem them deeper into despair? If so, I am sure there will be no shortage of politicians and advocates to save them from becoming the next generations of Eric or Dillon’s. Or even Lovelles.

To find out about One Fam or The Mentoring Center or to make a contribution to these programs go visit:
http://www.onefam.org
http://www.thementoringcenter.org

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by starviego
Tuesday Mar 31st, 2009 9:27 PM
Columbine is a bad analogy, because it wasn't just Eric and Dylan. If you want to find out what really happened at Columbine I suggest you read what the eyewitnesses had to say:

http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/columbineeight.php
by John J. Pecchio
( jpecchio [at] npacc.net ) Wednesday Apr 1st, 2009 4:37 AM
This letter will inform the mind and startle the soul of how our prisons have become contaminated with flaws imbedded with unthinking unknowing or corrupted officials and political Bureaucrats.

Federal and State Prisons are overcrowded and costly to taxpayers. In California for example, they have an average of 33 prisons that are filled with about 153,000 inmates living off the taxpayers. Lawmakers and their legal system have pressed the courts for decades to put these criminals behind bars at taxpayers’ expense. Now that the California prisons are overcrowding and becoming too much to support, the legal system and California government officials are considering a new law that will reduce the prison population in three-years to a staggering 55,000 prisoners.
We now have a prison recidivism rate of seventy-to-ninety-percent in one to three-years. That means those ninety-eight thousand criminals will walk out of prisons free to commit more crimes putting law-enforcement officers in danger again, trying to re-arrest the same criminals and put them through their penal system at taxpayers’ expense. Gang wars are taking over our society like butter melting over a hot stove. Our prisons are infested with gangs that come from ghettos of our society. Prisons Officials and Lawmakers cannot stop these gangs from continuing their crimes in prisons.
How can anyone in the Judicial System favor releasing so many repeat felons knowing that the criminal mind never sleeps in prisons? Prison officials know that repeat felons get more violent and evil minded from dealing with so much corruption in our prison systems that’s disaster-prone and can not be repaired.
Preparing prisoners to reform in today’s prisons without re-socializing them is hypocritical and life-threatening. But it keeps the taxpayer’s money flowing into the system and this does not seem to bother the fathers of our justice system and lawmakers, who keep pushing for more laws to protect criminal rights.
In Mexico, the crime rates are high and that breeds a lot of corruption in their society and in law-enforcement officials. They now have the highest kidnapping rate in the world. When these Mexicans and millions of other illegal immigrants keep pouring over the boarders in our county crime rates keep increasing. Phoenix Arizona now has the second highest kidnapping rate in the world.
The federal panel of justice decision makers within our government is trying to sell the American taxpayers a stimulus package that will get the economy going again. I see that the Governors of each state are helping to reduce the deficit in this country by closing prisons and trying to reduce prison populations and prison staff.
You do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand that our society is filled with more violence than in the history of the United States. So how can prison officials that have turned into political followers be allowed to make decisions to keep society and prisons safe?
Here is how I see the past and future of prisons. As a society we cannot afford to release dangerous prisoners frivolously. Our criminal justice system was developed by lawmakers to pass laws to put these criminals behind bars. The recidivism rate is approximately seventy-percent in one to three-years. Sex offenders, have a recidivism rate that’s pushing ninety-percent in one to three-years.
Prison officials and lawmakers are now releasing criminals from prison that are not fully rehabilitated or disciplined. That’s why repeat felons along with illegal immigrants commit most of the crimes in the United States.
I worked in an “All Male Maximum-Security Prison” for almost three decades and I say with experience and sound mind that behind those prison walls is a failing prison system that’s contaminated with flaws and embedded with unthinking, unknowing, or corrupt officials and political bureaucrats.
My books “Hell Behind Prison Walls” and “The Devil’s Den Of Prison And Justice” are true compelling and gripping stories taken from my personal thoughts and prison experiences that will inform the mind and startle the soul.
Our prisons are filled with approximately eighty-percent of thugs and gangsters that are career criminals hooking up with old gang members from the streets of our society and without remorse continue their crime sprees in prisons.
Now that correctional officers have been downgraded from being the backbone of the prison system to glorified babysitters, living in fear of violating criminal’s rights and the use of force when trying to protect them-selves is not what prisons were intended for.
These violent criminals not only control our prison compounds, but have turned our correctional facilities and courtrooms into their personal playgrounds hiding behind their civil rights, while they continue to violate the civil rights of others. This is so appalling and degrading to taxpayers’ that pay over “one-hundred-billion-dollars” a year to keep the ”Criminal Justice System” going to fight crimes in this country...
“A Nightmare from Hell” is how I describe working in one of the most dangerous prisons in the country, The Elmira Correctional Facility.
I invite you to review my website http://www.johnpecchio.com that will introduce my books, which has generated great interest in readers around the country and are regional best-sellers.
I survived working in this prison system in New York State as a vocational instructor, dealing with murderers, rapist, and pedophiles, drug pushers, mentally disturbed and non-violent inmates of all ages.
Prison staff lives in constant fear of moving daily between freedom and captivity, while walking a delicate line between administrative politics and the threat of inmate violence.
I offer unique insight into the inner-workings of “America’s prisons”. In addition, I give readers a definitive look into the causes behind their major problems, which were shockingly created by lawmakers and prison officials.
You can now read how federal and state prisons have deteriorated to their worst condition in the history of these institutions. They have changed from being run with dignity and strong security into a hellish nightmare where corruption is the norm.
With the loss of positive leadership in our prisons came the increase of prisoner’s power, primarily caused by their ability to hide behind highly-defended “Civil Rights”, which has now taken precedence above all else. These rights allowed them to live without fear of strong retribution for their actions, thereby leading to a breakdown in inmate behavior and resulting in riots, fights, and physical and verbal abuse of prison workers.
I have personally suffered the negative effects of this volatile environment when I was brutally attacked by a prisoner who was serving two life sentences for multiple murders. This attack, which I describe in devastating detail, was induced by the ongoing failing prison systems along with the lack of prisoner and administrative discipline.
The truth can be found from letters and personal remarks I received from many readers, which can be reviewed on my website guest-book. You can also see a video commercial and read along with newspaper interviews.
Contact for (Prison Presentation) (Book Signings) and (Interviews) visit my Website - http://www.johnpecchio.com.
Sincerely

John J. Pecchio
by Joseph Anderson, Berkeley
Wednesday Apr 8th, 2009 1:51 PM
-

EXCELLENT!

Thank you for formally sharing the knowledge!

-
by Joseph Anderson, Berkeley
Thursday Apr 9th, 2009 2:48 PM
Krea,

Please submit your EXCELLENT commentary as soon as possible to the Berkeley Daily Planet:

opinion[at]berkeleydailyplanet.com ,

and to the Mg. Editor, Justin DeFreitas

jdefreitas[at]berkeleydailyplanet.com
by JA
Thursday Apr 9th, 2009 3:16 PM
I just called Krea and, personally, highly recommended that she submit her commentary to the Berkeley Daily Planet.