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by Peter Moskos

June 7, 2016

All in the Family

Here's another one for the record books.

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.]


woolywoman said...

OK, Im commenting. That is one F'ed up family. Clearly that father never taught either of his son's a damn thing.

Ross said...

What evidence do we have that families like this are actually salvageable, or in fact are they doomed to forever be a drain on taxpayers' funds and a threat to taxpayers lives? If the latter, is the answer simply even longer incarceration, so they are removed from society as early as possible, and prevented from reproducing?

john mosby said...

Send Antonio IV to Janissary School!


Moskos said...

I think we need much earlier intervention, like in the 0-6 ages. We need to move away the easy and wrong answer that parents always know best.

We could front end a big chunk of the prison money to earlier intervention with home visits, help, and some socialization outside the bad influence of the family (massive free all-day day care, for instance). We need a better foster care system (which is easier said that done).

We need to push birth control harder.

In school, we need to group these children in special small well structured classes and not mainstreamed these kids with the children who are trying to succeed. Nor should we mix them, as we do, with developmentally disabled and other non-mainstreamed kids.

We need to provide legal employment opportunities to young teenagers.

And if/when all that fails, and after they've shown a repeated ability to hurt other people, we need to prosecute and remove them from society till they age out crime in their late 30s.

And we need to end drug prohibition, so the major source of illegal money, violence, and negative cultural influence -- illegal drug dealing -- withers away. This (and lowering the legal of work) is the only thing could be easily done. It wouldn't be a 100-percent solution. But it could make the problem 50 percent better.

DolemiteGK said...

Drug prohibition? Like Heroin, cocaine, crystal meth? I cant get behind having junkies roam the streets like the 90's. We never recovered from Schmokes lack of drug enforcement

Moskos said...

Decriminalization can be the worse of both worlds.
The point is to regulate and control. You can't do that under prohibition.

Cham said...

"Spitting in Public" is the kind of charge a racist cop with an ax to grind gives someone standing on the street corner minding their own business.

Moskos said...

It's also a legitimate charge when a cop tells a repeat violent drug-dealing offender to talk a walk and criminal spits in response.

jeetz said...

Peter Moskos, we must start somewhere.

jeetz said...

Peter Moskos, we must start somewhere.