Wednesday, July 30, 2008

85 Shots and 'One Less Nigga With a Gun'

A year ago at this time, in July 2007, Steven 'Butter' Miller (left) was shot at 85 times by Philadelphia police officers. I have sources that say it was actually 81 times. In any event, about two dozen of those shots found their mark, and Miller was dead.

In it's July 24th-31st, 2008 issues the extremely liberal 'Citypaper' here in Philadelphia, one of those free tabloid style publications distributed throughout the downtown area by placement in stores, business lobbies, and curbside boxes, published a cover story titled '85 Shots' about the incident.

As could be expected if you understand the source, the Citypaper writers, Doron Taussig and Tom Nammako, told the story in a way that was, in both tone and tenor, completely sympathetic to the alleged victim and extremely critical of the Philadelphia police officers involved in the shooting, as well as their hierarchy in its response.

That's a shame, because the real problem right here in Philadelphia and in many big American cities today is not unwarranted shootings by rogue groups of police officers.

Actually, one of the biggest problems facing American big cities today is men just like Steven Miller.

Fact is that Miller exited his house that night as a stark-raving mad lunatic waving a gun around in the air, alternately pointing it at officers as well as towards neighbors homes as he waved it.

The officers gave him plenty of warnings to drop the weapon, perhaps even more than they actually needed to give. At a certain point, one officer felt that the circumstances had gotten too dangerous and felt that he needed to discharge his weapon in order to save his own life, the life of a fellow officer, or that of a community member.

It was a hot summer night in South Philly, so it was dark, and when this officers' shots rang out other officers who had also responded did not know from where these shots were coming. They fired at the man who they saw waving around the gun, Miller, just as they were trained, and they took him down.

One of Miller's best friends, Daniel Williams, was quoted as saying "...they probably look at it like, that's one less nigga with a gun."


Your words, Mr. Williams, but the idea behind them is not so far off from the truth. What this city needs, in fact, is thousands of fewer young men of all races waving around guns. Every one that is stopped from doing so is one less that will harm the rest of us.

The article goes on to actually print the names of seven officers involved that night. It then discusses how the neighbors see these officers now. In the words of one, Tyree Bullock: "Here go this motherf*cker" in reference to the officer who fired first.

How about the mother-bleepers living around you every day, Mr. Bullock? The ones doing the shooting, drug-dealing, pimping, impregnating, and then glamorizing it all in their booming and blaring rap music?

The article also goes on to talk about another of the people in Miller's life, one Anthony Lawrence, who relates that in the past twenty years he has personally seen 34 deaths in his neighborhood, implying those were violent deaths.

I have lived 46 years and was born and raised in South Philly, and I don't think that I have known more than a couple people, if that many, who have been killed by violence.

Why have you seen so many, Mr. Lawrence? Why so many, Citypaper? Rogue cops shoot them all down? Not hardly. The fact of the matter is that most of them were killed by men just like Steven Miller.

Before he met his demise, Miller helped perpetuate even more of the problems in the urban world. He had fathered seven children, none of whom he financially supported, by three different women, none of whom he had ever married.

He had been arrested at least once in his life, for drugs of course, and had also been shot once on a playground basketball court. He had wasted away his twenties in a life of drugs and violence and 'laying back'.

Oh, and in trying to become a rap star, of course, all the while perpetuating the exact lifestyle of huge numbers of young men in his demographic community across the nation. Irresponsibility, criminality, violence, addiction, all frequently glorified by the rap community.

So-called "gangsta rap" is one of the most heinous examples of all-time of a community announcing and advertising for its own demise. Miller's rap group was named DLK (Down Low Killaz). Nice. And typical.

The article states that Miller was 'suited up' (carrying a gun) on the day that he died because he 'had gotten on bad terms with a dangerous young bull', meaning that some young thug was looking to gun down Miller for some reason.

The only 'bull' that matters in this story is perpetuated by this article, that somehow men like Steven Miller deserve our sympathies. The folks who really deserve our sympathy are the seven whose lives he created, but who didn't elicit enough love and respect from him that he would go out and get a real job or two to support.

What makes men like Miller and many others in his violent neighborhood around Tasker & Taney Streets decide to turn to drugs and violence, both in the reality of their lifestyle and the glamorization of that same culture, rather than turning it around, staying in school, taking responsibility, and bettering their community?

What makes one man from South Philly into a Steven Miller and another man from West Philly into a Will Smith?

The answer quite simply is personal choices. Steven Miller chose illegitimate fatherhood. Steven Miller chose to get involved with drugs and violence. Steven Miller chose to walk out of a house waving a gun at neighbors and police officers. Steven Miller left those officers with no choice but to fire 85 shots, however many it took, and leave the city with 'one less nigga with a gun.'

His choice. It is people like the authors of this City Paper article and the editors who chose to run the story with the slant that they did, who make further choices that divide us and make all of us less safe each and every day in the city of Philadelphia.

6 comments:

Kwamiffa said...

Daniel "Scotch" Williams said it himself, "Me, I'm never gonna forget. But they probably look at it like, that's one less nigga with a gun."
So, he says the N-word...where's all the uproar?

Racist bastard!

Matt Veasey said...

Sure, I'm a racist bastard. And that is shown how? Nowhere in your short response do you point out how I am a racist. Nowhere do you dispute the facts of the problems in the community. Nowhere do you offer up any solutions. Typical.

Andrew said...

You should send this to the editor of that paper. I couldn't have said it better. I'm not a police officer, but I feel the same way.

The left wing media in this city are quite ridiculous - Instead of "Why was this man high on drugs and waiving a firearm around the streets full of innocent men, women, and CHILDREN?" We get "Why did police take action?"

The sooner people realize that low-life scumbag criminals are more of a danger to them than police are, the better this city will be.

It disgusts me, makes me sick to my stomach, that people always side with career criminals when the police are involved.

And maybe people forget that 4 minutes with guns drawn at a drugged up armed maniac does not FEEL like 4 minutes at all - it feels like an hour.

People have no idea what it's like to have a crazed lunatic with a loaded weapon in front of you. I mean not that I do, but I can certainly appreciate that. Why can't other people understand that?

All this city does is Monday Morning Quarterback situations they know nothing about nor have any experience with.

Give one of those writers a gun and tell them to make a decision in front of an armed maniac, I'll bet they don't last 30 seconds, let alone 4 minutes.

Sorry for the rant, but I feel the same way. Had to vent.

Matt Veasey said...

Vent away, Andrew, anytime. Attitudes like those of the reporters here, and of course the individuals they interviewed and Miller himself, are what have deteriorated this city. We are all similarly frustrated. Well, at least those of us in 'normal' thinking society.

Anonymous said...

Matt Veasey said...

"Sure, I'm a racist bastard"

No, Matt,

I was calling 'Scotch' a racist bastard.

Matt Veasey said...

kwamiffa, sorry, that was my bad...