It was on page 23. A small 3 column article at the bottom of the page that the reporters can probably turn out in their sleep because of the frequency. Only the streets and names change. "Man fatally shot near Paterson's Harlem home". Like I said, it was buried deep in the paper; well after the latest on Tiger Woods and the White House crashers. It was even after a picture of A-Rod and Kate hanging out in London. And also a big write-up of John Gotti Jr. coming home for Christmas. There was also a pic and article of Marilyn Monroe allegedly smoking ganja way back in the fifties. All of these articles came before the tragic story of Kwame Dancey.
Kwame was only 22, so to me, it is misleading to say that a "man" was shot; he was still a kid as far as I am concerned. There was probably so much of life that he still hadn't accomplished. There were probably so many places he hadn't visited and so many things he still hadn't done in life. No, at 22, he was still a youth--and I say this with no disrespect.
Disrespect, what an intriguiging word. The article said that Kwame lived with his father who was a correction officer. His friends described him as a college student from a good family. "He was a good kid who was going to college and wasn't into gangs or drugs," a man who knew him named Malik Finney said. The article said someone walked up to him and shot him intentionally. "He was the intended target," a source said. So someone was mad enough at young Kwame that he shot him like a dog on the street.
So many of our young boys are killed for something as trivial as disrespect. It seems that when you feel powerless, respect is very important. For many of our young Black and Latino males who have been shown a lack of respect by the system and by people in power, getting disrespected by their peers--by people who look like them and in essence, are in the same boat they're in--is unacceptable. Respect is something you can get killed over. You can get killed for stepping on somebody's toe, or for dancing with the wrong girl at a party. The crazy thing is, you can get killed and not even know why because what you may not give a second thought to, someone else can seethe over and explode. Because many times, respect, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
I am not saying that this is why Kwame was killed. All I am saying is that in the newspaper article, everybody they interviewed said he was a good guy who was in college and was basically doing the right thing. So I believe it was a perceived lack of respect by his killer that led to his death. We are living in insane times and I really feel a cultural mental illness has taken over many of our youth. Over a period of time, a lot of our young have lost the ability to rationalize, sympathize and compromise. It is now all about their ego--they are the only ones that matter. And if they feel any twinge of jealousy or envy, or yes, disrespect, they will lash out. And to hell with everybody else.
Rest in peace Kwame, you are my son even though I never met you. And until we all feel this way, the next Kwame Dancey is right around the corner.