This isn't the first time somebody has been shot at a funeral. Kevin Rector and Justin George of the Sun observe, "Gunfire has marred other services in recent years to mourn deceased victims of violence in Baltimore."
And this is probably not even the first time a father has been shot at his son's funeral. Gosh, you might be thinking, what could possibly be worse?
Well... how about being shot at your son's funeral by your own son, the deceased brother.
Antonio Addison was killed on May 25 in West Baltimore (less than a mile from where Freddie Gray was arrested). And today, at Antonio's funeral, Antonio's father was shot by his own son. Yes, Antonio's brother done shot their pa.
Police said the older Addison and his father got into an argument over an obituary written by a family member for the younger Addison brother. The older brother's name was omitted, his grandfather, Charles Addison told The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday.Classy. (Update: Though I bet there's more to the story, maybe this is what happens when everybody in the family has the same name.)
Police spokesman T.J. Smith said called this, an "open and shut" case. He added:
I can't even begin to explain and categorize how ridiculous some of the stuff that we have to respond to is. And this certainly underscores that.Call me judgemental, but I'm going to go out on limb and say this behavior is wrong. I mention this no-brainer because I can hear cops -- white and black alike -- say, "something is fucked up with these people." And then I can hear tender outsiders gasping in a politically correct way, saying, "I can't believe they just said 'these people'!" So people don't say anything and violence continues.
There are these people -- not all of any group, race, or neighborhood -- who choose to do dumb violent shit. And cops (and nurses and teachers and paramedics) have to deal with these people every day. Really, what else can you say about a family that shoots each other at a funeral? Go ahead: blame racism, poverty, unemployment, lead, under-education. Sure, those all matter. But no, none of those actually makes you bring a gun to your brother's funeral and shoot your father.
A lot of people somehow manage to grow up with less than nothing -- on the short end of the stick, without a full deck of cards, holding an empty bucket that leaks, with nothing put a broken spork in their mouth -- and still don't shoot anybody, much less their father. See, this is the culture/pathology issue that is all but taboo to bring up in polite society. But if we don't consider culture and the inter-generational transmission of violence as a negative force, we cede this discussion to right-wing kooks and racists. I don't know what the answer is, but ignoring bad culture won't make it go away.
[This may be as good as killing your brother over a Turkey drumstick on Thanksgiving.]
Update: Antonio Addison Sr, the shot father (DOB 2/1969), has 33 cases in his rap sheeting including: attempted murder, kidnapping, murder, drug dealing, armed robbery, handgun.
Antonio Addison Jr (DOB 12/1990) presumably Antonio's brother and the shooter (you read it here first) of Antonio Sr, 23 cases: Assault, carjacking, drug dealing, resisting arrest.
Antonio Deandre Addison III (DOB 7/1993), presumably the deceased: 26(!) traffic violations in two years, domestic violence, child support, drug dealing, child support, drug dealing, drug dealing, and -- this is my favorite -- spitting in a public place. That's the kind of ticket I might give to a drug dealer in order to legally arrest him for being an asshole. The case was dismissed.
And collectively, with no listed date of birth, there are another 25 or so cases against one of these Antonio Addisons. This is a family of violent drug dealing criminals.
So when the Addisons are out on the corner doing their thing, what exactly do you want police to do? And when somebody runs from their drug corner, should police just let them be? And when the press interviews one of these guys (because when the press goes slumming and looks for people to say something about Freddie Grayand police, these are the people you'll find hanging out) why in the world would you believe what they have to say?
Maybe it's more productive to ask how we can possibly help the next generation. But if you were a teacher, would you want 6-year-old Antonio Addison IV in your class?
[Update: my next "all in the family" installment.]