'Up On Some Game': Check Your Space and That of Those Around You


Don't even go there. It's not fun. Period.

More than six hundred-PLUS gun violence murders, around the nation, have taken place since young Jaleel Rasheed Ali was murdered on October 24 - several of them (again) right here in the Fountain City.

Fountain City News
does not need to re-report the murders...the mainstream local news media does their own job of sensationalizing it. 

But we do need to talk about it.

This is a city with an underlying crime world that most people don't want to talk about, even though they know it is here. Some don't know that, but many do. It's a hard talk to have because it involves the possibility of accusing someone else's child of living foul.

When I was taking classes with CLEA (the Citizens Law Enforcement Academy) under the charge of the Columbus Police Department, it came as no immediate surprise to discover that Columbus is not only in the Top 25 cities in the nation with a high rate of STDs, but also that it is one of the top cities in which child and sex trafficking occurs. I'll finish the course one day, hopefully soon ... but I learned much while I was there.

One has to wonder if a city that does not have 200,000 citizens -productive and/or non-productive- living in it can afford these kinds of losses and still retain stability and a sense of order and decency to its overall feel.

Putting It On The Table

This is not meant to insinuate that the loss of Jaleel Ali was any different than all the others before him and since then, but it was certainly a marker, especially since his grandmother. Rasheeda Ali, is so well-known and beloved in the Valley and Tri-city area. She's local 'celebrity', and a woman who has certainly earned the honor of being so.

All of the murders are sad and increasingly frustrating, but this one struck home because it wasn't just unexpected, but it let the rest of know just how vulnerable everyone is.

Even before young Ali was buried, another body was found on a corner between 12th Avenue in East Highlands and Piedmont Hospital, literally only blocks away from the Emergency Room of the hospital.

But how did it happen that so many persons are wondering why a 14-year old was in the cold streets at that time of morning?

Let's take a look at what is going on in the local schools with regard to young kids under the age of 18 living criminal lives on school grounds.

This also happened to a young lady (and many liker her) who was living in Chicago. She made the news headlines because she had just recently been a member of one of the Chicago high school bands that played at President Obama's second inauguration. She was made 'famous' in her 'hood and she had a high reputation that she was "going places" in life - to college and all of that good stuff that she should have been doing.

But yet and still, her own friends -jealous of her accomplishments and accolades- set her up to be killed. 

These things -these yearnings to follow people we think are our friends- usually start to take place during middle school, somewhere between the ages of 13-17 when an innocent young person is "ripe" for the taking and truly doesn't know that their "friends" only participate in school activities and don't go to places that are not supervised. 

Trust the process ... nobody's REAL friends call them up in the middle of night or even asks them to go anywhere without parental permission. Not if they are real. This is not speaking specifically about Jaleel Ali or what happened to him, so don't get it twisted.

This is an issue, however, that needs to be discussed with young people, period. It's a hard conversation to have, to even insinuate that someone else's child is living foul by using young people in school to target other young people for unthinkable crimes, but it does happen all too often.

As a young lady in seventh grade, I was made aware of so-called 'gal pals' who lived a shady and fast life once they left school grounds. One particularly known 14-year old female was rife with drugs, alcohol, grown friends who carried guns, held prostitutes and forced others into prostitution, and who consorted with known rapists and murderers around the city that a more innocent child would know nothing about. She was basically unredeemable and had no issue taking others down with her.

These spiked young females were used as "mules" to lure other more naive young people, mainly young girls who had come of age and were still virgins, into the night or to spirit them away from home in a stranger's car for some type of "party" or "out-gathering" after hours. They would tip off with this friend out of mere trust ... just for them to get there and find out they aren't attending a party - they ARE the party.

Robberies, rapes, kidnappings, all that and more--often happen when "friends" don't turn out to be the friends they claim to be. They are easier to obtain through a trusted friend than just snatching them off the streets, especially young girls who don't have fathers in the home.

By way of side note: Plenty of those 12-year-olds at the health department that were mentioned on a certain unnamed Columbus Facebook page aren't just having under-aged sex out of wedlock for kicks ... many of them have likely been molested and raped, threatened and told they can't say anything about it -especially if a family member did it- and then christian-guilted into giving birth to a 'rape baby'. 

I can't even begin to talk about all the young ladies in these parts who were molested by family members and threatened with punishment or even death if they exposed it.

But back to the subject at hand ... 

Bottom Line: Any school friend trying to lure another child in their age range into a place where they don't belong and don't have permission to go to, especially at all hours of the day and night, are never up to anything good. That is always without any exceptions.

If the child 'sneaks out of the house,' thinking they are getting away with something by defying a parent or guardian, they can almost always expect to be robbed, raped, or even kidnapped and killed, sometimes, it can even turn into a gang initiation and still go sour. It brings to life the words "Ain't nothing in them streets but caskets and court dates."

Real friends are always above-board.

If they are a TRUE friend, they don't want you in trouble for any reason whatsoever, not even for sneaking out. They will TELL you to stay at home, and they don't get involved in activities that require them to 'tip out' after dark, or any other time for that matter.

It's not just "youthful free-spirited enterprise" any more to sneak out of the house ... these days, such parent-defying pranks can cost lives.

For example, 'BITD', toilet-papering or egging a house on Halloween wouldn't get you killed, it would just get you in big trouble with your parents, probably a good butt-whipping, and you had to clean up the mess you left behind. In some ways, it was often pretty funny to prank (trick) people in the neighborhood who didn't have treats, especially if they were "mean and cranky" neighbors. Nowadays, it can and will -very likely- get you shot on sight.

Don't overlook this one as "just kids getting in trouble" or "doing what kids do". It's not that easy or excusable any more; not even when it comes to school buddies.

We would all do well -as parents and guardians- to inspect other parents, their households and environments, and ask the hard questions about 'school friends' and their family backgrounds and where-abouts and their social standing... just like we used to.

It sounds rich-people "snobbish," but that is as it should be for all, even if they aren't so 'seditty.' 

Parents and/or guardians ought to do it and also understand it when other parents do the same. Check your space and check it well.


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