What Has More Value, a Car or a Person?

On January 7th, a 13 year old boy, Karon Blake, was shot and killed by a man who thought he saw Blake “tampering” with neighborhood cars. The shooter, who has yet to be identified, came out of his home, had some sort of exchange with the boy, then shot him repeatedly.

[This happened in Washington, DC, my hometown, where I was a resident and homeowner until a year ago. So I am familiar with the city, its politics and culture. I also know the neighborhood where this occurred because my son attended the same middle school as the deceased boy (although they did not overlap).]

As a homeowner who had all kinds of shit happen in the 21 years that I owned my home (including a break-in while my son and I were asleep), if someone was breaking into my car or I THOUGHT they might be, I would not go outside with a gun. I have car insurance. I’ll call the police, it’s not that serious. Now, if I had a gun when the people were in my house, I would’ve put some lead in somebody’s ass because I’m protecting my family.

DC law says you can only use lethal force if you believe that your life is in imminent danger. Was it in this case? And if you leave the safety of your home to confront someone, aren’t you putting yourself in said danger? A grand jury has been convened to review the evidence and answer this question. To date, the shooter has not been charged. You can imagine that the community is in an uproar.

I posted to IG yesterday about this incident with the caption, “This shit is unreal.” A long-time friend commented, stating that he was shot because he was breaking into someone’s car. That the youth are out of control and some people aren’t going for it. First of all, I was disappointed and shocked to hear this from him. I responded that I didn’t give a fuck, it’s a car!!!!! He was 13. The person came out and whatever was allegedly happening, no longer was.

Then, I sent him a private message stating how disappointed I was in his reaction to a 13 year old being killed. I went on to state the points that I’ve addressed in this post. In addition, I pointed out that young people do dumb shit and should be allowed to learn from their mistakes. If he was breaking into the cars, he would’ve been arrested and suffered the consequences. If he was not a Black youth, he probably would have been given that opportunity.

He responded that when someone is breaking into your car, you don’t stop to ask their age. If he wasn’t breaking into cars, he’d still be here. I’m dumbfounded. Not only because I’ve known this Black man since we were teenagers and we had friends who were into illegal shit as teens, but also because he’s worked in DC’s juvenile justice system as a counselor to Black and Brown youth, assisting them to choose a better path. What am I missing?

To be clear: if the boy was breaking into cars, he was wrong (but the police have yet to state that he was). I just don’t think that he should’ve died for it. And because he’s dead, someone has to answer for that.

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