The Recording of History Segment One
At his best, man is the noblest of all animals;
seperated from law and justice he is the worst.
from Philadelphia, Moka Soul
with Unchain My Soul
LAW OF THE LAND
The Recording of History segment Two
written & edited by Kendall F. Person
In 2000, 14-year-old Kenneth Young of Tampa Florida would shed what little of a childhood he had left, and in the eyes of the law and in less than one year, he would transform from a little boy into a world class felon. At the age of 11, he and his only sister did the best they could, I imagine, to fend for themselves. Father, never mentioned and his drug addicted mother was always nearby, but in order to see her, he would have to ride his bike to the crack house, and beg her to come out. His sister, only four years older, did the best she could, but at 15, she had become a mother herself.
When a 24-year old hustler, tired of the petty dollars from his small time clientele, devised an ill-conceived plan to get rich overnight, he needed an accomplice and Kenneth Young, a little boy with no guidance, was prime for the picking. So the grown man and the little boy would begin a journey to throw away their lives, by pulling out guns and robbing everyone in site, each successive victim, victimized with more hate and control then the one before. But somewhere inside, the innocence of a child clung to life. When the grown man held one victim – gun jammed into her head – and threatened to rape her, Kenneth Young realized, he was way in over his head, “Please don’t do that man. Let’s go.” where the words he said. Soon after, the two would be apprehended, their crime spree, brought down by the long arm of justice. Just in time some have said, for no one had been murdered or severely injured in anyway.
Community & Justice
In 1994, Robert Yummy Sandifer of Chicago Illinois would literally shock the world, when the 11-year-old murderer, was murdered himself before his twelfth birthday. We knew Robert was violent, but we learned through reports, news coverage and records, that he never stood a chance. And so we made a vow, that we would love our kids and do what needed to be done. But 6 years after Robert’s shocking death, we failed on that promise – once again.
Kenneth Young would be convicted for armed robbery, and even at his young age, he knew there was a debt he had to pay. But at 14 years old, it would be years before he would fully comprehend the meaning of the judges’ words. But most disheartening was that the history learned had been either ignored or forgotten. The sentence was handed down, delivered by sanctimonious force, as if the juvenile delinquent, was not the story of us. And in what could only be explained as a deliberate display of power, 14-year-old Kenneth Young would receive four consecutive life terms, as if to shake our fist at God in saying, “Even after your child has rotted, then died in jail, you cannot take him home, for he has three more life sentences to serve man.”
There are four basic laws – no slight to the others – that exist throughout mankind – one has no effect on how history is recorded. The Law of Physics cannot be argued or debated or ignored by anyone. And even when we try, gravity could care less. The Law of God may usurp all in the eyes of many, but is actually the most lenient of the quad: it offers free will to do as we want. The Law of the Land is structured to be fair in maintaining a civil society, to keep man in check and from running amok. And any inequalities that linger and remain damaging to the community it serves, are through no fault of its own, because the law of the land is written and interpreted by the law of man.
Peace by Moka Soul
The Law of the Land Revised
Eleven years later and after exhausting all appeals, the United States Supreme Court stepped in to right the wrong and assure history would be recorded a different way. With the exception of cold blooded murder, they decided it just was not right, and stripped the states of their ability to put our children in prison for life. Kenneth Young’s sentence was reduced from 288 years from the crime spree that rocked a community down to 30, more indicative of a punishment fitting the crime.
All but one of the victims that testified at Kenneth’s hearing, recounted the emotional pain of the day their lives crossed paths, and after playing back the historical tapes embedded in their minds, each urged the courts to not let Kenneth out. But one was not aware of the age of the defendant at the time, nor the story of his life. But with the new information, she did something quite extraordinary; while rolling the mental tapes, she inserted the information she had about him now, and it triggered new emotions and new thoughts. That the little boy was not the monster recorded in her mind, and he in fact had saved her “Please don’t do that man. Let’s go.” and she thanked him in kind. By having the courage and the wisdom to record her history with all the facts she now held, allowed her to move forward from the pain of the day, eleven years hence; and to understand, the problems that led up to their one and only encounter, were not created by him alone, but were born from the depth of society.
Society & Humanity
It is imperative, even more so than human compassion, that we think big in connecting the dots accordingly. History was well documented and recorded properly in the catastrophe known as Robert Yummy Sandifer’s life. Delivered on the proverbial silver platter a chance to create a template, to locate solutions, to prevent a repeat of a collective failure, but we did not act. The importance of understanding how history is recorded, the role each of us plays and noting its effects on future generations, cannot be overstated, but by itself, it is a tool that serves no purpose, if we as individuals, communities and states are not willing or prepared to put the law of man into its proper place.
- an editorial of thepublicblogger