Are You Serious?

Posted by Kevin Lockett | | Posted On Feb 4, 2010 at 8:36 AM

Iran sends TURTLES into space!

And you thoughAhmadinejad was crazy before. Hey, it's Franklin!

With Liberty and Justice for Some...

Posted by Kevin Lockett | Labels: , , , | Posted On Jan 29, 2010 at 12:52 PM

I just so happened to click onto (Philadelphia Inquirer/Philadelphia Daily News) and see this story about a complete travesty of justice committed against a high school student. I encourage you read the entire story beginning to end. Here, I'll provide just a few highlights so that you can get the idea (but you really should read the whole thing to get all the details).

The principles in the story are two Archbishop Carroll High School students, Tiana Drummond-Phiri  and Steven Farley. Seniors at the time, the two got into an argument over an incident that actually started with other students:
"What's your friend's problem?" she asked Farley, who told her to get away from him and to "shut the f- up," according to the police report.
Their angry exchange marked the beginning of a high school beef that would have an unfathomable result.
Though the two were not even the original combatants, they sniped at each other the rest of the day and into the next.
Tiana, who took the train back to Overbrook every day, called her ex-boyfriend to meet her at the station and ride home with her.
A fight broke out, and Farley was injured, not by Phiri's ex, but by another, unidentified black male.

So, take a wild guess: who gets charged with a crime? 
Authorities sucker-punched Tiana, though she stood 40 yards away and never threw a punch herself.
They didn't just throw the book at her - they pummeled her with the entire Criminal Code, nine charges in all: simple assault, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, three different counts of harassment, two counts of conspiracy, and reckless endangerment.
And in case you're wondering, no, we didn't go through a wormhole and into an alternate universe in which Pennsylvania becomes Jena, Louisiana.

The circumstances here are not all that different. The punishment sought be the district attorney was excessive, the application of punishment was unequal (no punishment for any of the people actually involved in the fight?), and the justice system was revealed to be anything but just.

If we are to assume that Phiri called her ex with the intent that he would come and fight Farley, then yes, she was in the wrong and deserves some form of punishment. Nine criminal counts? Suspension from school for the rest of the year? I think those are excessive punishments. I went to high school in suburban Philadelphia. There were plenty of fights. I don't remember any bystanders getting suspended for the rest of the year and having to finish their degrees by mail.

Of course, even that analysis is based off an assumption that Phiri shares some of the responsibility for the fight. However, because the case was so poorly handled (Phiri had a public defender - what a surprise) we didn't even get to hear the whole story: 
Farley is allowed to testify without repercussions. But Cann, Tiana's primary witness, is pulled from the stand after the prosecutor asks for a conference, according to Tiana's lawyer. A public defender called by the court then tells him he could be criminally charged if he testifies. He doesn't.
By the way, Farley testified to underage drinking the same day, which in case you forgot, is illegal. There's more: 
Common Pleas Court Judge Charles C. Keeler was clearly aggravated by Tiana's lawyer. "My client's an honor student, waiting for the train to go home," William J. Ciancaglini said. "If this were a white honor student and a big black kid was yelling in her face, guess who's getting arrested. It's the black kid, guaranteed. . . . I'm sorry if I've offended the court."
"You have," said the judge, who admonished him with "you be quiet" and "you shut up" later in the proceedings.
Wow, what a fair and impartial judge.

Still, this was not the most disturbing part of the article. That actually came in the comments section, as I read the reactions to the article. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the racist, vitriolic remarks. I thought this was Philadelphia, a progressive, intelligent Northeaster city. What I read sounded more like it was from a conservative Tea-Party rally: 
Hall, You are the true bigot. She should have been in class instead of walking the halls. AS soon as blacks stop crying about race every time they are held accountabble, the better off society will be.
racist article written by a racist writer...should we be surprised? welcome to blackadelphia...where the inmates do run the asylum. badly i might add lol 
stay in the city
Even if she wasn't guilty of all these crimes in this incident, she would have inevitably committed all these crimes and then some.
why is it always violence that surrounds african americans? I grew up in delco and the few african americans we had in our school, were involved in about 90% of all the fights? Why is that? Genetics? Intelligence? Just asking.
All I know is that in the past 4 years my neighborhood has had a huge influx of black people and a huge influx of crime...stop blaming racism for your own actions...oh and thanks for dropping the value of my house even more than the economy did, to the point where I cant sell it without a loss
So she calls the homies to defend her honor and the homies promptly do what they do best-assault people-and it's the school's fault? Ususally the homies are cuttin' and shootin' each other, except when they form a mob and assault Asians, but apparently there's a lower level of tolerance for this type of thing in Delaware County
American Africans will be crying and moaning until the end of time. Pains in the a**. I curse the forefathers who are responsible for bringing them over here. Hope their coffins are leaking.
Why bring up topics that don't appear in the article (like property values)? Why refer to "homies"? Why wish that black would stay in the city or had been left in Africa. Whether Phiri is guilty or innocent is not the issue here. The issue is whether justice was applied and applied equally. When two people get in a fight and the non-fighter gets punished, even thought the fighters have been identified, that's not an equal application of justice. Whether this is a case of racism or sexism or just plain stupidity is debatable, but the racist nature of the response is quite obvious. I don't know whether to be embarrassed by these comments or to be glad that this racist venom that always lurks beneath the surface has been brought to the light.

Please comment.

The McNabb Question

Posted by Kevin Lockett | Labels: | Posted On Jan 27, 2010 at 4:00 PM

I'm not a football expert, but I figure I've sacrificed enough of my life watching the Eagles loose that I can offer my two cents on whether embattled quarterback Donovan McNabb should be retained. I think it all boils down to a few basic questions:

  • Are the Eagles better off with McNabb, or the alternative: Kevin Kolb? If the goal is to win now, and by now I mean next season or the season after that, then the me this is a no-brainer. Of course the Eagles are better off with McNabb. Granted, Kolb could be the next great quarterback in the NFL, but we don't know that. McNabb is a special player, and chances are our next quarterback (or two, or three) just won't be as good as he is.
  • Is McNabb the source of the Eagles' problems? I would have to say no. Injuries. Poor coaching decisions. A porous that shows the impact of loosing Brian Dawkins. Small receivers. Andy Reid. This are all bigger problems than McNabb, and if McNabb is scapegoated, we'll still have those problems. Look at it this way: with a coach that at times doesn't seem to have the words "run" or "common sense" in his vocabulary and a less-than-stellar supporting cast for nearly his entire career, McNabb has gone to 5 Conference Championship Games and 1 Super Bowl. Can you argue that he should have won the Super Bowl? Yes, and I would agree with you. Still, the fact is, he could have had two or three more shots at it if his bosses weren't so incompetent.
  • Why, then, is there this perennial push to oust McNabb? I wonder this each and every year. The fact of the matter is that a lot of people in Philadelphia don't like McNabb. They never have and they never will. He is the best quarterback to ever play for this team. No, he hasn't won a Super Bowl as an Eagle, making him JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE who's ever played for this team. I think some people never got over the fact that the Eagles drafted McNabb, and decided that, no matter what, they would find a way to dislike him.
So, now what? I guess we sit back and watch the "fans" and "media" circle anxiously above McNabb like obsessed vultures. You can probably tell that I think McNabb should stay, but part of me can't help but wish he could be traded away (maybe back home to Chicago) because maybe Philadelphia just doesn't deserve him.

Past the Mind to the Real

Posted by Kevin Lockett | Labels: , | Posted On Jan 19, 2010 at 2:08 PM

I stumbled upon this post on a blog that I am really starting to like called Life from this Suburban Scene. The author was going on about being a packrat and not letting go of items that connect him to good memories. Then he really got into it:
But spiritually, and emotionally I find myself doing just the opposite.  I seem to collect the things I don’t want, don’t need, and shouldn’t have.  All my failures, my shortcomings, the times I’ve let someone down or hurt somebody. My insecurities, my disappointments, my doubts, my worries.  They all pile up and weigh me down from being able to fully move forward and embrace and live the life that Christ came to give.
I thought: that sounds like me. I dwell on bad things that have, or could happen to me and let the fear and anxiety paralyze me and cause me to make bad decisions. I'm sick and tired of it and I want to change because this habit has a negative impact on my life.

Now, saying that and quoting scripture is a lot different than actually changing. I need to learn how to move from knowing what I should do in my mind and feeling empowered to actually doing it. How do I move from the mental to the real? I'm asking not just because I like spilling my brain to friends and strangers on the internet, but because I figure I'm not the only one who has to deal with these problems. What do others do? How do you get freedom? How have you seen God's work come to life for you. How have you moved from the mental to the real?

Pat Robertson does it Again

Posted by Kevin Lockett | Labels: , , | Posted On Jan 13, 2010 at 3:00 PM

This man is insane. Please, to my non-Christian friends and readers, don't judge us by this man.

In this clip, you will witness the 700 Club host blame the struggles of Haiti on a pact that the Haitian people made with the devil.

I couldn't believe it when I saw it. I guess next he'll justify racial inequalities by saying they are a result of demon possession. The nation of Haiti is in the midst of another tragedy, and this man feels the need, at this time, to place blame on the victims. He says "they" got together and made a pact with the devil. Who is "they"? Did all of the people in the entire nation of Haiti come together. Did they call a devil-worshiper's convention and exercise the principals of representative democracy?

How does he draw the conclusion that the Haitians of old were in league with the devil? Were they any more ungodly that the Europeans who raped, pillaged, and exploited them and other brown people around the world?

But then, Robertson is part of the school of thought that believes that America is a holy nation (despite being racist, anti-labor, anti-justice, forsaking the poor and the just rule of law, anti-immigration, anti-environment, anti-equality, anti-youth, anti-aged, anti-women, anti-reality, anti-truth, and basically anti anything in the Bible that doesn't promote the dominant groups of society - wealthy white males) and uses that to justify American dominance.


Posted by Kevin Lockett | | Posted On Jan 5, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Welcome, everyone, to my new blog.

In case your wondering, I am phasing out my old, defunct blog which focused on race issues. I decided the focus was too narrow and I just wasn't enjoying it. I decided that instead I would broaden my focus to all of my interests. So, like me, this blog will be a little scattered. Eventually, I hope to branch out with more contributors in kind of a blog conglomerate.

I'm short on time right now, so here are some quick thoughts:

  • Someone tried to blow up a plane on Christmas. Why do we always react to these events instead of thinking preventatively?
  • The Stellar Awards are coming up. What new ways will the urban Christian community find to embarrass itself this year?
  • Why do we use "urban" as code for black & Latino?
  • Does anyone even care what's going on in my head? Will anyone really read or comment on this blog? Will people really follow what I write? And do I really care?

About this Blog

Posted by Kevin Lockett | | Posted On at 2:14 PM

What will you find at The Pen Warrior?

Basically, whatever comes to my mind. It's really that unpredictable. I could write about anything, but you can be pretty sure it will focus around these topics:

  • Politics
  • Race
  • Music
  • Philadelphia
  • Sports
  • Education
  • Christianity
OK, that's a lot, but my brain is basically a mash of all these things and more. So, if you thing any of these things are at all interesting, I'm sure you'll enjoy reading this blog.