Black Youth Whipped By Uncle In Famous Video Scene For Gang Talk on Facebook Found Murdered (w/Update)

UPDATE (12/30/11):

Parish deputies arrested Jeremy Julien, 21, in connection with the slaying of Michael Taylor, on December 16.

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Shaking my head at the waste.  At least, his people tried.  You know?  I don’t blame them at all.  I don’t.  Multiply this tragedy by hundreds of black families.

Remember this video?  Some successfully petitioned You Tube to take it down because it was too violent.  Uhuh, right.  I have seen far worse than this, and don’t need no video, either.

Well, now the ultimate violence has been visited on the boy, Michael Taylor, 16, of  the New Orleans suburb of Terrytown, situated across the River.   (And the video is now back on You Tube.)  He was shot dead December 7, apparently in front of his own home.  From BET last week:

The online video depicting a New Orleans teenager being spanked by his uncle for his believed gang ties captured the attention of tens of thousands online. Sadly, less than a year after the video went viral, the 16-year-old was found shot dead outside his Terrytown neighborhood home.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said Taylor was shot to death shortly after 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 7. Deputies were responding to a report of gunshots in the area when they found Taylor with multiple gunshot wounds, an official with the department told NOLA.com. Police have not released a motive or suspect in the crime.

Taylor’s mother, Kimberly Ward, says her son received a text message around 8 p.m. that evening and went outside their home to talk with a group of friends. A few minutes later, she said, her daughter received a text message that Taylor had been shot, and then another saying he was dead.

Ward believes a picture of her son, posted on Facebook, with a friend who was involved in a “beef” with a neighborhood gang, may have led to her son’s murder. Ward described her son as mild-mannered, but said that he had fallen in with the wrong crowd to have protection from bullies at school.

“He was guilty by association,” she said. “He wasn’t involved in no drugs because he know one thing — I  don’t play,” she told the newspaper.

Taylor’s uncle, too, took a tough-love approach with the teenager. In a video that surfaced online in January, Taylor’s uncle demanded his nephew cut ties to gangs before he proceeded to lash Taylor with a belt in full view of the laptop camera. The video went viral and was spoofed by rappers Lil Wayne and Birdman, in addition to the website StuntKidzTV. The video would be applauded by some viewers, who said the beating was a return to tried-and-true parenting. Others, including children’s health advocates, found the humiliating practice the reason why many children rebel against their parents and repeat the vicious cycle of violence as they grow older.

Maybe young Taylor was bullied into being with bangers, but I do think that he was also fascinated by the gang culture as many youth his age are.  And in New Orleans and its suburbs, the neighborhoods are rife with beefs, territorial skirmishes, and gunplay.  Some other observers said that the video beating would serve to drive the boy further into gang behavior or into gangs.  This may have been the case—-but unfortunately, it was also alleged that Taylor had a learning disability.  He got the message from his mama and his uncle Lemoine Ward, the man who whipped him on video, but it didn’t sink in.  He was still dealing with bangers–his friends.  He was still in that life because there were no other options for him that didn’t have that same attraction.  He may not have been dealing drugs, but he was drugged on the thug life.  Despite his being curfewed at 8 p.m., he went outside of the house against his mother’s warnings, and walked right into his own death.

Gone at 16 for absolutely nothing.  Some Christmas present to his mother.  All because the boy was too hardheaded to listen to reason.  Just another statistic, in which there are no suspects and there are no witnesses to his killing.  His obituary is here.  From NOLA.com:

Kimberly Ward sat at her kitchen table Thursday morning and wondered, through tears, what more she should have done to save her son’s life.

She kept him inside the entire week, and gave him an 11 p.m. curfew on weekends. When Michael Taylor, 16, left their Terrytown apartment, she made him walk along the sidewalk in an area where she could watch him. She worked 16-hour shifts as a nurse not only to make sure that he had all the essentials — food, shelter and clothing — but also so that she could take him to the mall when the newest Air Jordans hit the stores.

Ward threatened him, she punished him and she loved him, but Taylor still wound up dead on a sidewalk a few steps from her door. And she doesn’t understand why.

“I don’t know. I just want to know really what could I have done to change this,” Ward said as she scrolled through her son’s pictures on her phone, looking for one that accurately represented the teenager she loved.

It’s not any wonder that life insurance policy sales on teens in poor, at-risk communities may have doubled or even tripled, so that these errant children could be buried with relative ease by their families just in case.  Horrible.  This boy will never come back; there is no do-over of something like this, no more “mama, I won’t do it no more.”  This is indeed what we Buddhists call “the hell of incessant suffering.”  From Nichiren’s Gosho (or letters to his followers):

After all, even if one looks for hell in some faraway place, the iron rods of the wardens of hell and the accusing cries of the demon guards do not exist apart from one…[…]

The two characters for hell can be interpreted to mean digging a hole in the ground. Can anyone avoid having a hole dug for them when they die? This is what is called “hell.”  […] One’s wife, children, and relatives vying for position around one’s body as they move toward the grave are the wardens and demon guards of hell. The plaintive cries of one’s family are the voices of the guards and wardens of hell. One’s two-and-a- half-foot-long walking stick is the iron rod of torture in hell. The horses and oxen that carry one’s body are the horse-headed and ox-headed demons, and the grave is the great citadel of the hell of incessant suffering. The eighty-four thousand earthly desires are eighty-four thousand cauldrons in hell. One’s body leaves home for the mountain of death, while the river beside which one’s filial children stand in grief is the river of three crossings. It is utterly useless to look for hell anywhere else.

I feel for his family.  Pray for them in any faith.

~ by blksista on December 21, 2011.

2 Responses to “Black Youth Whipped By Uncle In Famous Video Scene For Gang Talk on Facebook Found Murdered (w/Update)”

  1. This world is doomed; sometimes i wish i were living on the space station. there i would be away from all this type of inhumane garbage.

    Like

    • Not doomed, Jueseppi. Sometimes we must go down to the worst before we have to come up to and appreciate the best.

      Like

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