My son has a 21 year old friend who is really a cool kid. Like too many other kids his father was mostly absent growing up, and while he is smart, you can tell he is a little shy about his home life, which is to say he probably grew up in poverty.
Devon comes by frequently as he and my son work at the same restaurant so they sometimes hang at my house to watch a ball game or play basketball. And because I know Devon is a good kid I don’t want anything to happen to him because I know African-American males do have the odds stacked against them with regard to getting pulled over.
Devon drives a shitty used car and when he recently relocated back here in Florida, his driver-side mirror was broken and his tags were still from Virginia. I told Devon numerous times to get those tags updated and ‘fix that damn mirror’ or you are going to get pulled over. A little bit of a bad attitude and a broken mirror can make you look suspicious, so ‘fix the shit’ and avoid the problems, right?
You see I also grew up in the ‘hood and I heard all of the time black guys getting pulled over for DWB. I’m white and I got pulled over, but I am not stupid. There is an old Chris Rock video he did for Saturday Night Love that is hilarious. It’s called How to Not Get Your Ass Kicked By the Police. It is still on YouTube. Chris tackles the race issue but also highlights simple little things that can keep you out of trouble.
I told my son the story of a Black woman in Oregon, had a great job, young child. Then she didn’t get her license tags renewed, lost her insurance, didn’t have a way to work so she lost her State job and life spiraled out of control. This women ended up seeking out the baby’s daddy in Las Vegas and ended up plowing a dozen people to death on a street corner out of rage and hopelessness. It’s a true story. The woman’s name was LeVawn. I wrote an article about it a few years ago.
It’s the little things that get you, just like with Daunte Wright in Minnesota.
Story goes he got $50 from his mom to go get his car washed, his car, the one with expired tags. First of all every parent knows cars don’t cost $50 to wash, more like $10, with enough left over to get weed. We’ll never hear that story from his mom, only that he was a caring, doting father who only just happened to have an outstanding warrant for his arrest for using an unregistered weapon.
It’s the little things that get you. Like with the cop who shot Daunte because she pulled the gun instead of the taser.
Daunte should have not committed armed robbery, nor failed to show up in court, nor failed to register his gun, nor failed to register his car license plates (registration, which is part of the rules if you want to be an adult and have a car); and all of these things add up to where we are today.
Race had something to do with it in so far that he happened to be black. Which is why I also reminded Devon, my son’s friend, to make sure your shit is in order, its the only thing you can control.
Thankfully, as a Christmas present to me, Devon got his mirror fixed and his tags renewed. I only wish someone had insisted Daunte did the same thing. It might have saved his life.
It’s the little things that get you. Someone failed to teach Daunte that hard lesson.