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Notorious notorious on MLK Day

You will find few bigger fans of the late rapper Christopher Wallace AKA Notorious B.I.G.

My old friend and former colleague Vikki Ortiz, a Chicago Tribune reporter, used to make fun of me on social outings 'cause when one of his songs began to play over the speakers, in my own bass drawl I'd keep up word for word...and dance badly while at it.

Cover your ears for a moment, ages 50 & up: Biggie Smalls was the illest!

Sorry, I had to flash back for a moment to my days of tall box hair cuts and Cross Colours jeans.

And yet, as big a fan as I was of Wallace's music I was also frustrated with it 'cause I saw raw emotion in performances and heard raw emotion in his words. And I used to wonder what life might turn into for Wallace if there wasn't always the spectre of death or violence hovering over his shoulder like the Grim Reaper.

So Wallace lived by sometimes violent words. And at the age of 24, in 1997, he was gunned down, fatally shot following an awards show in Los Angeles.

Fast-forward to this week. The film Notorious, which chronicles the story of Wallace's life, has just hit theaters all over the country. And already one man was stabbed at a screening of the film in New York, and another man was shot twice at a showing in North Carolina.

It's MLK Day. It's supposed to be a day of reflection about sacrifices. Do I have to say it? Seriously. Do I?

OK, I'll say it. MLK did not talk sacrifice and freedom and freedom of speech, so damned fools could go to movie theaters and shoot and stab people who look at 'em the wrong way.

These are the same kinds of dudes who will insist to their graves that they were just "keepin it real," in an effort to make sure everyone around them knew how tough and fearsome and not to be trifled with they were.

When MLK told black folks to be strong, he did not mean to unnecessarily flex muscle in the form of dumb violence.

When he told folks of all races that the future involved people learning to get along...or not, based on similarities and differences of character, not skin color, he did not envision dummies who 40-something years after his death would be willing to throw their lives away 'cause they got their feelings hurt at a stupid movie theater.

The shooter and the stabber in this case? Disgraces, both of 'em. It's 2009. We have cures for diseases. We can can get warring nations to talk to each other...sort of. We're about to plan a trip back to the moon. The economy is teetering between painfully slow recovery and destruction. There's so much big stuff going on, but there are still people out there who will attempt to kill another person over a slight at a movie.

That type of "freedom" is not what MLK had in mind. Not even Wallace would have condoned that kind of criminal stupidity. He died by it.

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RICK TRUTH SPEAKER

MR. BURNETT. WHAT YOU FAIL TO REALIZE IS THAT A CRIMINAL IS A CRIMINALL WETHER IT'S A HOLIDAY OR NOT. HE OR SHE ONLY LOOKS FOR THE RIGHT OPPORTUN ITY. I KNOW AFTER 28 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN LAW. ST. MATTHEW 10:26

csteelejr

Amen Mr. Burnett!!!

The CEO

Perfectly well and concisely stated. Well done, and thank you.

James B.

Rick Truth Speaker, I didn't fail to realize anything. I meant exactly what I wrote: that it's a travesty and a damn shame that in spite of the things King encouraged and the sacrifice he made, those who could most benefit from following his lead are completely oblivious to what he did.

The fact that this theater nonsense happened to fall in the week that King's birthday is celebrated simply helps highlight the irony of the theater mess.

csteelejr, thanks.

Monty, thank you again.

Melissa

I'm choosing to bypass the deeper meaning in this post at the moment and simply commend you for referencing Cross Colours. Wow, my neck almost snapped with that blast from the past!

James B.

Ha! Melissa you crack me up. It is a blast from the past, huh? I remember the first Cross Colours jeans I had were green. I had a red pair too. But my dad used to make fun of me and say that after purchasing those pants I could literally call myself "Mr. Green Jeans."

ɔıuʎɔıʇsɐɔɹɐs ǝɥʇ

I leave my guns and knives at home when I go to the theater.

James B.

Not me, Sarc. I keep 'em in the car...just in case. Kidding. I leave 'em home too,unless I think I might hate the movie and plan to get my money back.

mark

You said it all in that post James. Dr. King worked hard for a better America. There are plenty of Americans who have ignored his message.

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