Monday, September 25, 2006



All of the theories, analogies, logic and observations in this article are based solely on the mental frame and leg work of Lady Gray.

When will it end, this vicious circle in life that tears up the roots of people and ravages communities all across this nation. The games of life where the players get younger every year, the paper chase, the self-servings agendas of a self anointed few who ravage the communities that either spawned them or they choose to govern? When will the security bars come off from the houses we work so hard for, our children be able to play stick ball and football in the streets again safely, spend Sunday afternoons as bar-be-ques and family gatherings on the yards in our
communities, men and women dressed in their Sunday finest with their children in tow walking to church again? IF, the biggest, little word in the English language,a self induced sentence all of its own making.

I am a staunch believer of “strength in numbers” and “collective wisdom and knowledge.” I often ask those within my alliance and following who are incarcerated, what would happen if men and individuals took all of their negative energy and converted it to positive power?

How many of you have ever seen the old classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life”? In the movie, the star role is played by James Stewart. Although he sees himself as insignificant and somewhat minute in his existence, by the end of the film, his individual character has touched and enriched everyone within his community, in all
reality, he is the most important man in town. As individuals, for every life we touch or enrich, they will in turn touch and enrich a thousand others in their lifetime.

This summer I was speaking with two elderly black women in Detroit, they live near the university. One of the women is a retired government employee, has lived in her home for 40 odd years. Two blocks from her home, when she came to a stop sign, a young male specimen broke out the passenger side of her truck and stole her purse. At the end of her street, a young white male specimen was found hanging in a tree over a drug deal gone bad. But the saddest news of all or information that I received, was when they told me the young “corner puppies” and individuals on the “paper chase” were hanging the sneakers of individuals they had “dusted off” or “powdered” (murdered), in their windows and on their porches to mark their territory.

First of all, I felt sorry for the families who would never have those sneakers sit beside or walk through their doors again. Then I felt sorry for the individuals who had no strength of their own, they felt the only way they could obtain it was to take another life. But most of all, I felt sorry for society in general in the community, the individual who once filled and gave life to those sneakers, would not be “touching” or “enriching” their lives.

This display of character and mentality upset me. I would like to now address this issue of these animalistic rituals and characteristics which is practiced in many communities across our fine nation. I had no clue of this display by male specimens who run the streets and life’s gamut, so I went in search of answers. This was a difficult task, finding answers and knowledge of this bizarre display of male identity. Most of the men within my alliance are from state correctional facilities and can stand on their own two feet, they don’t belong to any organization within or without, they’re independents and choose to exercise their intellect for the good
of the whole tomorrow. The men who are within my alliance that have been connected to an organization, do not practice this display of “thuggism” either, however they do respect and honor the silent codes of other organizations, and could or would not discuss my inquiries into “sneakers”. So I decided to run down some of the puppies within my realm who have come to me for help in the past and wrench the information from their depths (smile). The following information, although not forged in iron, is of fairly consistent knowledge and you may gather from it what you may. That’s both sides of life’s fence.

SNEAKERS: When I think of sneakers, I thing of youth and sports. However, over the years, podiatrists have found themselves recommending the foot apparel of yesterday to the elderly of today, for comfort and support. There is however, another mentality that thrives in this country, and they use “sneakers” to mark their territory as a symbol of fear and terror within their communities for all who reside or pass through their neighborhoods. For those of you who have not seen this display, who have not ventured outside of your safe bumper zones in life, I will now tell you what I know of “sneakers.”

In some cities, communities and neighborhoods, “sneakers” are thrown over telephone and electrical lines as a symbol that the drug shipment has arrived and the dope man is there also with his wares of debilitating vices for you to purchase. “Sneakers” which are hung within windows of houses like prisms to catch the light have two meanings of display as well. The first is the individual within the residence is gang related, he hangs his shoes up as a sign of the “dirt” he has walked through and dealt out on the streets within the games of life he chooses to play and distribute. The second display of “sneakers” are trophy symbols, meaning they belong to the individuals that they have personally “powdered” or “dusted off”, in other words murder. They hang these in a symbolic attempt to distribute their fear and terror into the souls and hearts of their communities and rivals. These “symbols” and “trophies” are used mainly by the organizations known as the “Crips” and the “Bloods” along with several factions and wanna be huggers within their organizations. This is also practiced by some Spanish-American organizations within the U.S. I do not or choose not to have these individuals within my alliance; I do not speak Spanish.

Now that I knew the gist of it, I wanted to try to find some level or plane of comprehension and reasoning behind these actions and rituals…evidently there is no sound logic behind this practice, so I had to indoctrinate my own reasoning and philosophy behind such a display.

Over the last two and a half decades, I have lived within and visited cities and communities throughout the U.S., where different factions of organized crime governed and dwelt. Within these neighborhoods the crime syndicate or faction did not need symbols of their existence or life’s feces droppings to mark their territory. Their names and actions within the neighborhoods carried enough weight and respect. Sad to say, but these are the neighborhoods I chose to live within, they were well protected and those who dwelt within rarely had crimes bestowed upon them, unless they chose to bring them down upon themselves. In other words, the governing self-anointed body did snot prey upon their own. For those of you who have lived within the realms of darkness, I prefer to think of these individuals as “Old Guard” and “Old School.”

However, there is a “new breed”, renegades or rogues who have spawned their own factions off organizations and syndicates of crime long ago. They prey upon society and communities indiscriminately, they have no cause, purpose or reason, they distribute their wares, fear and terror at will and with wild abandon. They have no sense of family values, moral or loyalty, yet they join these “gang factions” in an
attempt to seek out these very elements. But this is where I become confused…when young individuals tell me they joined these “gangs” and organizations for a sense of “belonging”, respect, family, loyalty, and these gangs advertise these attributes…if they don’t display it on the home front, and all of these individuals are
basically joining or being “plugged” in search of the same elements and aspects in life, how do they get it or find it in “the life?”

They don’t. Once again life has chosen to put a mirage in their travels. They become bitter, angry, spiteful and destructive, their animalistic and volatile behavior destroys the very communities that have given them birth. They start out on one block, one street, one neighborhood and when their virus has destroyed their
homestead, they move on to spread their incubated disease, envious of what is left still standing in life.

These fearless individuals who run in “gangs” or “packs” like wolves, mark their territory with the blood, sweat and tears of others, their greed and minds race faster than their legs, and soon they become engulfed by time, darkness and incarceration, if they’re lucky….

These are the puppies and waifs in life, who when they enter the dark halls and corridors of time, they are the first to wait for Mother Nature to provide them with release from their pain and self pity. They wait for it to rain, the rain drops masquerading the flow of their own fear now. They become preyed upon by men seasoned within times incarceration. Harassed, beaten, mentally and physically abused, taken for sexual “toy boys”, the very life they chose to prey upon, swallows them up in the bowels of darkness.

Facing conviction and atonement now alone, their biological families and “extended family” throw them to the dogs, they have nothing left to show for their time on the outside…no money, no material objects, no family, significant other or children. The only mementos of their life beyond the walls, are the scars, tattoos, and nightmares they harbor within their souls, and the hollowed shells of the communities they destroyed.

Two wrongs in life, don’t make a right, two negatives do not create a positive, and every time a pair of “sneakers” are adorned in some neighborhoods window…our youth and tomorrow, the future and hope of society slip within the horizon.

I leave as I came with a great deal of love and respect for life.
Lady Gray/bossladyjmc