The New York Times says that his death has "shattered" Baltimore. The paper quotes a former teacher saying that Scoota transformed himself into a "perfect gentleman" at age 17. A relative says, "He was far removed from that life, and music was his life."
At least Scoota's criminal nature is brought up:
Like many young African-American men in Baltimore, Mr. Watson did not graduate from high school and had a criminal past. He had been arrested on drug and weapons charges, and in April 2015, about a week after Mr. Gray died, he was arrested at Baltimore-Washington International Airport for trying to take a loaded handgun [with a filed off serial number] through a security checkpoint.It's the "like many young African-American men in Baltimore" part that bothers me. Because it's implying that in Baltimore City, Scoota's criminal history is somehow normal and thus OK. No. It's neither.
This isn't about defining deviancy down and a wishful return to some conservative moral utopia that never was. This is about honest reporting on leadership and saving the city from criminal control.
Most young black men in Baltimore, even those who are not "perfect gentlemen," are not arrested nearly twice a year (every year after turning 18) for violence, drug dealing, and domestic violence. Hell, most kids even graduate from high-school (a law bar, but still).
Should we not mention that Pastor Jamal Bryant is known for more than just being a "prominent minister"? I mean, even Essence called him out. Could not the Times? And the Sun does report, which is kind of burying the lede, that Bryant, "railed against what he described as disdainful Korean, Vietnamese and Arab business owners in black communities." [The rest of that sentence is "but also African-American parents too willing to spend money to see Beyonce but not look after their families." But that comes from a "reverend" who won't take responsibility for half the kids he's sired.] And should it go unsaid that Nick Mosby, "a city councilman, [who] turned to [Scoota] during last year’s unrest," is Marilyn Mosby's husband? Marilyn Mosby comes from a family of criminal cops and faces serious allegations of prosecution misconduct for her reckless charging and failed prosecution of police officers. (Many of whom, like Caesar Goodson, actually should be seen as productive role models.) Meanwhile Nick Mosby cosies up to criminals and holds them up a productive role models.
This matters because honest working people are struggling against criminals and crooked so-called leaders, elected and otherwise. It's not inconceivable that Baltimore is being run, in part, by elected officials protecting the very criminals putting the city and lives at risk.
Munir Bahar of the 300 Men March, is actually trying to push back against violent street culture. Bahar says Scoota's music "glorified the street life." Sure, we all sound old and get-off-my-lawn grumpy when we observe that maybe little kids shouldn't be encouraged to sing along with, "We selling scramble coke and smack, keep them junkies coming back," but Barah raises important questions:
Where’s the professional men, where’s the black intellectuals, the educated folks who have degrees? How come you can’t fix your own damn community?Those are the questions journalists should be asking.