2001-02-17 / Columnists

From The G-Man

From The G-Man

BCHS Students Respond To Column

Hey people! I received a letter from Bernard Gassaway, who is the principal of Beach Channel High School. He pointed out that he read the article entitled "The Shattered Dreams of Thomas Johnson", and he went on to say that he shared the piece with his students. Thank you so much Mr. Gassaway. As you can imagine, the students had much to say about my article, and I would like to present, and respond to, some of their comments.

"I usually read the paper, and once in a blue moon I read your article. I feel you are making people aware of the dangers in our community. However, I feel you need to work on your words. You are calling "thugs" complete morons, and you expect people to continue reading your articles?"

Kamran

Thanks for the response "Kam-dude"! I appreciate it. However, I must state that you do not have a complete understanding of how I used the term "thug", and that is because you only read me once in a blue moon. I have written this column for almost five years now, and anyone who has followed me on a regular basis knows that I have distinguished between "thugs" and "thugged out". There is big difference. "Thugs" are those who act in criminal ways and are dangers to their community. Those who are "thugged out" tend to dress, and act the part, of a "playa" or high roller within the hip-hop culture and music, but they tend to focus on the positive, and have a certain degree of consciousness about our culture and struggle. Also, I have stated in previous columns that those who are "thugged out" can, and have, maintained an "A" average throughout their education; such as Lil Bow Wow and Lauren Hill. Now you know! By the way, this response is also directed at "Valery", who also voiced her displeasure. I hope things are a little clearer for you now.

The next letter reads, "Dear G-man, Having read your article today assures me that there are others within ‘the hood’ vicinity willing to take a stand and oppose the violence caused by these ‘misunderstood’ gangs. I am an Asian student livings in the Rockaways, so I am somewhat used to the talk of being in gangs and threats to kill around the neighborhood. I, too, am sick of their urge to gain attention, although negative, from their peers through intimidation and fear."

Anonymous

I’m glad you got the real message of the article "Mr. Anonymous". As "Stone Cold Steve Austin" would say, "Ya hit the nail right on the head, son!" Like I said in the article, I’m willing to walk into the lion’s den and meet with the leaders of The Bloods, Crypts, Latin Kings, La Bamba, La Macarena, it doesn’t matter! The point is to try and dialogue with these groups in order to stop the bloodshed in our communities. I’m from "the hood" just like them, so I can relate to them better than "the man", whom they don’t trust, or some old fart that doesn’t want to hear, or address, their concerns.

"Vance" informed me that he has taken an active role in addressing the issue of youth violence. "Determined to write something productively, I proposed some classes be offered at Beach Channel High School such as ‘Negotiation’, self defense, criminal psychology and how to confront/handle and overcome violence in the making. With the addition of these classes, students will be more informed about how criminals work and how they might deal with situations accordingly. However, the students should not take these classes as a joke, since they might encounter these situations at some point." You the man Vance!

"Tamar" pulls no punches when addressing the issue of guns in the hands of kids. "These guys are so weak minded that it’s not even funny! They go and pick these so called ‘geeks’ because they don’t know how to think for themselves. You are right when you say a person with knowledge is much more dangerous than a person with a weapon, but I think that people do these things because they don’t have a goal or clear vision of their future. The whole thing is a mess, and no one knows how to fix it. Until then, all we can do is hope that one day people will stop and think about the consequences of their actions, and I hope it won’t be when they kill their first victim or when they end up behind bars." Well said, Tamar.

It was great to get such wonderful responses, even if some of you did misinterpret the article. I don’t profess to have all the answers, and as a journalist, it’s not my role to answer life’s most intriguing questions. All I can do is make certain points, expose certain truths and hope to get a reaction or provoke thought. Based on the letters from these great kids, I seem to be accomplishing that.

Come on Far Rock High School, it’s time for you to step to the plate now! Make this "Class of ‘81" graduate proud. You can feel free to comment on anything I may write. If something’s on your mind, from politics to "house music", let you voices be heard. You all have a friend in The G-man, and I will be happy to share your thoughts and feelings with the community. Besides, I know you want to see your names in print, so stop fronting!

See you next week!


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