March 5, 2008

High Schooler Jamiel Shaw Killed While Army Mom in Iraq


We heard the drumbeats from Black Political Thought about some bad news. A young brother from my high school alma mater, Los Angeles High School, was shot and killed in random gang violence. Jamiel Shaw, 17, was shot multiple times on a sidewalk a few yards from his home after he didn't respond when two men pulled up in a car and asked him "Where you from?" — code for which gang did he belong to. He was not a gang member, so he couldn't answer the question. Two Latino men in a white compact sedan apparently decide that Jamiel's life wasn't worth more than the cost of a few bullets because he wasn't wearing a red or a blue hoodie. Authorities are calling the shooting a random, unprovoked gang attack.

This story struck me as wrong on so many levels.
  1. Jamiel was the Southern League's most valuable player last football season. Stanford University and Rutgers University were both in touch with him about possible scholarships.
  2. Jamiel's mother, Army Sgt. Anita Shaw, served on her second tour of duty in Iraq when she learned about the shooting. Can you begin to imagine what her emotions are like as she makes the journey from Iraq to southern California to bury her 17-year old son? "She called crying, saying, 'Tell me it's not my son,' " said Jamiel's aunt, Althea Shaw. "She was so proud. She felt he had made it through the hard times. She still called him her baby, even though he was taller than her."
  3. Jamiel's father said he heard the shots outside. "They killed him while his mother is in Iraq fighting, dodging bullets, and she gets a phone call to say her son is on the streets of L.A., dead. For what?" His son's ultimate goal was to be a sports agent.
Villagers, how many more of our young men must we lose? I have a 8-year old son. He loves playing football. He has some great friends. Will our society value his life and his worth? I'm sure that Jamiel's parents were dreaming big dreams about their little man. And then the unthinkable happened.

How do we protect our children from this type of danger? In any case, the prayers of the ancestors are with Anita and Jamiel Shaw Sr. as they bury their child. If anyone learns anything more about this case ... please let us know.

45 comments:

MsMarvalus said...

I've come back and read this story three times...I am just speechless and my heart and prayers go out to this mother...I can't even imagine.

I have a 12-year-old son who represents the air that I breathe...oh, the heartache this mother and family must feel at such a senseless and unimaginable crime...

Los Angelista said...

I am heartbroken over this story because it could be any of our sons in this city. I think about this every day when I walk out of the door with my boys. Last week 8 people were gunned down on a corner, children included. And although everyone survived, things are crazy in this city. It makes me feel like my boys would be safer in Iraq than they are here.

TakeNoMore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NA said...

When I heard about that gifted child being murderd by those dirty Mexicans...you know what it made me want to do right?

I have tried not to hate them but that boys killing was the final straw.

It's time for us to begin killing Mexicans on site. Men, woman and children. It's time. An eye for an eye.

That is not the correct solution, I know. But I refuse to be a victim of the Mexican. Especially when my grand parents and mother and father went through the same shit from white people in the sixties.

So now I carry a gun and hope that a Mexican approachs me and asks "nigger where you from?"

You'll read about me on that day.

Anonymous said...

i went to school with him and really my heart goes out to his family...once a ROMAN STUDENTS

msladydeborah said...

This is a sad story. It always makes me angry to read about someone who is the victim of mindless violence. What does it prove?

I feel for this family. I have no doubt that they are heartbroken over this senseless tragedy.

I have three sons. They are adults now~and I still find myself fretting over their well being even though they are grown.

We are going to have to be the ones who work on turning this trend around. I am tired of reading stories like this one.

Anonymous said...

I feel so horrible for his parents. We try to raise our children right, teach them to be good citizens and unfortunately, we can't protect them from ignorant, senseless violence. It's so sad and unfair when kids that have promising futures never see their dreams fulfilled and the scum of society get to live to see another day and have yet another chance to enact more violence on another unsuspecting victim. Our hearts and our deepest sympathy go out to his parents, family and friends. Hopefully, those responsible will be brought to justice.

focusedpurpose said...

it is no accident that hispanics and blacks are pitted against one another.

we have more in common than not. what about we call a truce and work together?

it seems to me that us fighting and killing each other progresses an agenda that is beneficial to neither of us.

i live in los angeles. there are some things surrounding this story that caused my intuition to stand on end. everything on t.v. is make believe. including the news folks. i am not saying this young brother's life was not cut short. i am saying there is special business involved with the reporting of the circumstances.

black and brown hating and killing one another is not the answer. it makes as much sense as blacks killing one another. think about it...

humbly,
focuedpurpose

Demon Hunter said...

This is another case of senseless violence, and for what? A stupid gang. This young man had so much potential. He was killed because he did not engage in a conversation with "people" who felt they were too important to be ignored?

I live in the South, and the kids here think that they are starting gangs, but we're on top of it. It needs to be squashed because I don't want to have to live looking over my shoulder.

Black and brown people killing each other? Boy, are we making it easy for the Klan and the Skinheads. All they have to do is sit back and watch us kill each other. Ignorance is bliss...

Janet Shan said...

Thanks for the drum beat Wayne. It is an absolute sad occurrence for us all. The sad reality is that the fate that befell that promising young man could happen to anyone. My heart bleeds for the family and I pray that they find strength during this terrible time for their family. Our elected officials need to stop dancing around and we all need to find a way to step the wave of crime being committed by these gangs nationwide. Gangs are claming too many of our children.

www.blackpoliticalthought.com

Villager said...

Ms. Marvalus - Our first responsibility is to raise our own children up right. After that, we need to look around and see how we can help guide other children so that they don't go in the wrong direction. At the end of the day we must also pray everyday so that we never have to experience what the Shaw family is experiencing right now...

Los Angelista - Taking our boys to Iraq ain't the answer. We have to reclaim our own communities. One step at a time...

NA - Can you envision another solution besides going out and killing somebody?

Anon - Roman pride! The prayers of a nation are with our high school alma mater and the Shaw family...

Villager said...

Lady D - I agree that we have to take control of our own community. Any suggestions for steps we can take here with our blogs?

Anon - I agree with everything you said and I hope that the ones who snuffed out young Shaw's life are brought to justice as well...

Focused Purpose - You are right. The whole brown vs. Black thing needs to be played out. We need to move forward together. We have much more in common than we have as differences...

Demon Hunter and Janet - Any thoughts on how we can use our blogs to make a difference in ending these cases of senseless violence?

Janet Shan said...

We can make a real difference through words. I say that we each focus on this story in some way and even interview a few people from the area if possible. This is proof enough why we must take the right to vote serious. We can effect change in many ways and not be afraid to stand up for what we believe. We have to roll up our sleeves and go out into the communities to make a real difference.

Los Angelista said...

I know taking my sons to Iraq isn't the answer and they will NEVER be in the military. But it sometimes feels like soldiers are safer than the average black male in Los Angeles.

Yesterday a six year-old black boy got shot in the head while riding in a van with family that was on the way to an auto auction. The perpetrators? Two Latino gang members. I think much of this is perpetrated by those who benefit by the divisions, but that doesn't do anything to help the victims of these shootings.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi Villager,

I just wonder if the Latino gang members that you mention and Liz mentions are even here legally?

I think it's a tragedy on top of a tragedy when people who are not even supposed to be here commit these heinous crimes.

Randy said...

Having served in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 I can identify with the mother who has been told her child was murdered while she was doing her duty. I had nightmares about something like it as there was a child preditor in the area when I left. One thing though: NA put the gun away, it is not the answer. Look at what is happening in the Middle East and you will see the direction that mentality will lead. Bring these people to the courts and put them away for life. If it was premeditated then put them to death. Are there problems with the system, absolutly, but taking matters into your own hands is not the answer. Fix the problems and move on. I ache for this family and will be keeping them in my prayers.

MrsGrapevine said...

I read this on another blog and I was shocked to say the least. When people say hope is just empty rhetoric, they take for granted that so many children in urban city don't have hope, if they did, things like this wouldn't occur. You have to have hope, in order to a have blue prints, in order to build a successful you.

Woozie said...

I imagine it also struck you as wrong because at this point it all seems so routine.

Kung Fu Pimp said...

[Sigh]

Anonymous said...

This is unspeakable. We really do have to take back our streets. We need both proactive and reactive strategies, and also gang punishment AND prevention programming.

There needs to be another clear path that boys can take that will provide what they are really looking for in gangs. They want family. They want respect. They want economic sufficiency.

However, the streets offer them a diabolical twist to those things. And many so-called 'good people' are actually helping gangs. For example, if you buy illegal drugs, you are funding a gang.

We need to stop celebrating everything that is dysfunctional and violent in our community. Stop giving our sons the idea that manhood means being cold hearted, selfish bastards. We need to stop pretending that recreational drug use ISN'T KILLING OUR COMMUNITY.

The answer is within ourselves, but nobody wants to listen to the inner voice.

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

This sad story repeats in cities across America with too much frequency. Some times it creates major headlines. Most times, just sorrow among family and friends.

I lead the Tutor/Mentor Connection, based in Chicago. I believe that we can compete with gangs and offer hope and opportunity to kids, if we create comprehensive nonschool youth centers, where teens and younger kids can connect with adult tutors,mentors and a wide range of learning and enrichment.

I maintain a database of more than 200 organizations who offer various forms of tutoring/mentoring, and host this on my TutorMentorConnection dot org web site, to help parents, volunteers and donors find these programs. I use maps to help people see where bad news is happening, and to learn what neighborhoods have none of these programs, which is where new programs need to form.

I then organize events intended to increase the number of people who look at this information, and do something to either help existing programs constantly improve, or help new programs form where there are voids.

This bad news won't change until we do more to make extra learning and expanded mentoring available in more places for more years.

Anonymous said...

I have a 17 year old son,I can only pray for his parents.This child's murderers must be exposed,arrested and face the death penalty.

Vanessa said...

I still get nauseous when I learn of stories like this. I know the pain Jamiel's mom feels. My prayers are with her and the rest of his loved ones.

Anonymous said...

First as Jamiel's cousin, I would like to thank all of you for the concern. Obviously something somewhere isn't right. The questions is what exactly is it that is causing these things to happen. Regardless of that, believe me, I want to go get revenge also. Our family is extremely calm considering the way we feel and what we're capable of doing. But the reality is that revenge will only lead to more pain. I don't want anyone else to feel the way we've been feeling this last not even a week yet....We lost a major piece of our family. We all loved him and rallied around him to see him succeed. I just helped him with some homework a few weeks ago. We got our haircut together a few weekends ago, we used to text each other all the time and most of all I looked forward to seeing him and other family members at church Sunday. We are extremely hurt right now. I'm not gonna say I forgive the people who killed him because I don't but our faith as a family is in God and if you had any idea what he's done for us since Sunday, you would have a little more peace within yourself right now. We are furious, we are hurt, we are devastated, but at the same time we are blessed and I thank God for my cousin who was like my little brother. I thank God for his parents and the rest of our family and I thank God for all of you who have supported us throughout this painful experience. Be aware that there is a $55,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the individuals suspected of comitting this crime. If youndon't want to talk to the police that's ok. But feel free to anonymously give us (not the police) any info by email @ wf892@aol.com or by contacting us. We are on the 2100 block of 5th avenue in Los Angeles..Thank You

Villager said...

Anon-Jamiel's Cousin - We are very sorry for your loss. The prayers of all villagers are with you and your family. It is evident that Jamiel was taken from you and your family much too early in his life.

There are over 100 Black bloggers that make up a group called The AfroSpear. Please feel free to call on us for any online activism...

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

One of the worst legacies of the all wealthy white male "founding fathers" is the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees that every Americans can purchase as many guns as he likes, of whatever caliber, automatic or not.

The Second Amendment, when combined with capitalistic greed, guarantees that America's streets and suburban high schools will be flooded with guns.

There is NO WAY that streets that are flooded with guns and bullets will be peaceful and safe.

Now, if you look at European countries that have one tenth the gun violence and death that we have, those are countries where it is nearly impossible for the average citizen to own a gun. And "SURPRISE, SURPRISE", they have virtually no gun deaths compared to the United States.

Let's face it: the problem is the Second Amendment itself.

It's true that you can also kill people with knives, but you can't spray death with a knife, and you have to catch and confront someONE with a knife, whereas an automatic weapon allows the shooter to kill several people in a college classroom before they even know what's going on.

Could that Asian guy have stabbed 32 of his classmates before being apprehended? Only over a period of several months, but not all in one morning.

Anonymous said...

Do NOT extend any olive branches towards the Mexicans... you will only get stabbed in return. There cannot be any alliances with a group of people who choose to separate themselves from blacks. They don't want anything to do with blacks, so therefore I don't see why we continue to include them in "our struggle".

Surenos want to see blacks ran out of California. And yet, to this day, I have not seen any leaders in their communities condemning the crimes of these criminals AT ALL. It's time that a lot of you started waking up and realizing that they're not "our brothers and sisters in the struggle". We are in this on our own, and the Mexicans have made it clear after the deaths of Anthony Prudhomme, Cheryl Greene, the deaths of various black men in Monrovia, the black family who got assaulted in the minivan, and NOW, Jamiel Shaw.

How much more black blood needs to be spilled in order for us to unite against multiple fronts? We are all we have.

Villager said...

Janet - I think that many bloggers are using their words to make a difference in situations like this one. In fact, last night on Harambee Radio I mentioned you as one of the up-n-coming bloggers in the afrosphere...

Los Angelista - We have to stem the violence. We need to continue to work to identify solutions...

Mes Deux Cents - Until the perps are caught we will never know if they are legal or illegal residents of our country...

Randy - I agree with you that the answer is not to take up arms ourselves. We need to work with the police to catch this perps as quickly as possible...

Mrs. Grapevine - You are right ... Hope is a commodity that cannot be underemphasized in our community...

Villager said...

Woozie - You may be right...

Kung Fu Pimp - This is my first time seeing your village voice. Welcome!

Anon - It is difficult to have a credible discussion with someone that is unwilling to come out from behind the Anonymous mask. However, I suggest that there is no upside to advocating race warfare with Mexicans. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I would remind you that not every Hispanic person that you see is a 'Mexican'...

Anonymous said...

I advocate violence and war against the mexican. All you people who continue to "look for a solution to the killings" Well that hasn't worked.

You peaceful black fools are naive. "Turn the other cheek" will you? You negros make me sick.

If they kill one of us, we kill three of them. men, women children, baby girls, it doesn't matter.

Violence is what they understand beacause they are animals. Give them death in return for death and that will their attention.

Anonymous said...

Hold on... killing isn't the solution either. But at the same time we have to become a unified block and show them that for every one of us that is harassed and killed, there will be repercussions. We have to start protecting our communities, and when they see that we're serious about protecting our own they'll think twice about taking the life of another young black child. I'm keeping my eye out for any demonstrations or conferences that I can get involved in to bring our people together and put an end to their bullshit.

Villager, I was born and raised in L.A. myself (Watts). There is no need to promote unnecessary bloodshed, however at the same time we can't let this keep happening. Are you aware that the Mexican Mafia has greenlit every black in SoCal for murder, whether if they gangbang or not? Now knowing this, and seeing how I haven't seen any efforts in the Latino community to put them in check, why would we try to "unite" with them? We can't stand idly by and watch another black life get taken. If these men were white Nazis killing off black people like this all of Los Angeles would be filled with angry black men and women with pitchforks, torches and shotguns. However since the perps were Latino we want to talk about "peace" and "solutions". An enemy is an enemy regardless of the color of their skin.

Anonymous said...

And finally, of course not all Latinos are Mexicans. Yet at the same time, other Latinos let it be known that they don't really like blacks in their little special ways, too. Just look at Miami with the Cubans and NYC with the Dominicans, it's the same shit with different assholes.

Villager said...

Anon - It is difficult to take anyone seriously when they use 'Anonymous' as their screen name.

Anyhow, I hope that the Hispanic population doesn't consider the Crips and Bloods to be representative of the overall Black community. By the same token, I see no reason to consider Hispanic (or 'Mexican') gangs to be represenative of the Hispanic community.

My hope is that we find ways to reach out to the more rationale elements of each community. I give much props to Jamiel Shaw Sr. for his wise words to look at the problem as a gang problem not a Black vs. Brown problem...

Anonymous said...

It's interesting how
the "Boys In The Hood" will kill their own brothers who are Crips and Bloods,

but when it comes to Mexicans killing black babies for fun, these Crip & Blood cowards are no where to be found.

Anonymous said...

The dirty Mexican cock roach who killed Jamiel is named Pedro Espinoza, according to police.

Anonymous said...

hello, I used to help out Jamiel Shaw with both of his science and math homework, I work as a teacher's aid at LA high. He was a great young man, meeting him you guys would've have notice that he was the star athlete and was a great football player. To get back on topic, it is also sad the kind of reactions I am reading from a few of the posters in here. Especially with the way the creator of this report called the gang members latinos, it does not matter what race any gang member is, they are terrorists and no matter what color of skin they have they are all killers and not innocent. using latino,black,asian, white on any given gang group tends to create tension between people of ethnicities, we do not need this at this time. And I am sure Jamiel wouldn't agree with the kinds of comments left on here by those negative posters, I know because he was so nice to everybody around him , no matter what color of skin you were. I will ask for the creator of this report to just leave it as gang members.

As for me, yes I am Mexican and latino. I am sad about this and have talked to a few of his friends at LA high. For everybody who has these negative feelings towards latinos,Mexicans. Hate creates hate, even Dr. Martin Luther King said this. The best thing for all of us to do is to get together and ask for the police officers to tread gangs, all of them, as criminals and arrest them.

Anonymous said...

I'm from N.C. and would like to say that this story has broke my heart for this wonderful family. I have a 13 yr old son and could not imagin how they feel. I do not know anyone in LA but i feel the world has lost a great life when he pasted away. I'll keep your community in my prayers. No matter what our color, race , etc LIFE IS SPECIAL and only our lord should be a taker of it.

Anonymous said...

We have a new myspace page being constructed for Jamiel

www.myspace.com/jamielshaw4

feel free 2 visit

Anonymous said...

Hard to comprehend any workable "solutions." I don't really see the Mexicans and Blacks "working together", because I don't know what that means and there is no one there to lead that effort anyway.

The trends tell us the violence will continue, the hispanics population growth will far outpace any growth of the Black population, and the majority of white/asian people will continue to have high anxiety about hispanics and blacks due to all the violence and race charged rhetoric. Many blacks seem to think that whites are racist because of this fear. One persons fear is another persons racism, I guess.

The fast changing demographics in LA will lead (has led) to an apparent marginalization of blacks, as whatever political representation they seem to have seems to be expressed in those intances where they are the victim of a race/hate crime. This is not where they want to be, but this is where they are.

As of now, the population of LAUSD (about 700,000 students) is about 70% hispanic, 12% black and 10% white. In about 30 years, the percentage of blacks decline to 5%, and hispanics go to 75 to 80%. These demographics have changed the culture of the city, and the changes will continue. No one will stop these changes, because they can't be stopped. I'm not happy about the economic impact of these changes, because most of the growth comes from illegal aliens, which has created a situation where our infrastructure is wearing out and we are going to have raise taxes in a big way to pay all the bills. many of the illegals don't pay taxes, and there is a huge underground economy that is tax-free. Having said that, the business that hire illegals should be punished big time. That is unlikely ever to happen though.


Anyhow, all logical people will conclude the shooting was senseless and tragic. And, most people will dismiss the Mayor's comments that these are just "random acts" as political correctness, because it is clear there is high tension between gang elements of blacks and hispanics, and we all know that innocent people have been targeted in this "war."

The only approach that makes sense to me is to attack the gangs from a legal view. Gangs hold everyone hostage. And police chiefs and politicians that don't focus on prevention and enforcement should be replaced or recalled. I would even be willing to get the help of the national guard, because the situation is simply unacceptable. We just can't afford to lose good people like Jamiel anymore.

Villager said...

Anon - I encourage you to post with your name or an alias so that we can keep in touch with you on this blog or elsewhere. Your analysis and statistics are very helpful in the discussion.

I understand why Black and brown gang-bangers are at each other's throats. I don't understand why Black and Hispanic citizens are after each other. Is it as simple as the two groups don't like each other? Is it more nuanced that the two groups are battling over political power?

And if a solution requires someone to step up ... perhaps we can begin to step up here with some online activism. I'm down with it if anyone wants to get something going...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments on my statistical filled comment. This issue hit home, because I live in Los Angeles, and my friends run the gamit from blacks, asians and hispanics. I am far from perfect as a person, but the behavior and denial of the politicans and policeforce is beyond appalling. I want to know what they are doing today. The mayor is busy dealing with potholes, and the police seem more interested in issueing traffic tickets. Why can't we start with "gang-free zones" around high-risk schools, for example, starting with elementary schools? For example, take all those traffic cops and have them monitor / create a buffer zone to protect the young ones from actual danger as well as the well as the potential influence from gang elements? Some might ask where are the parents? Well, the simple reality is that most parents are trying to make a living etc.

Anyhow, where are the other ideas? What are the proposals? What are the actionable plans with task owners? The simple tragedy is that it seems like business as usual.

My email address is "final.four.guy@gmail.com". I'm a simple man, but this situation combined with the Jamiel tragedy has compelled me to speak out and to do my best to be a "change agent" by getting involved.

Final Four Guy

Villager said...

Final Four Guy - I was born and raised in Los Angeles. As stated, I graduated in 1976 from LA High School (Jamiel's school). My mom still lives there today. As such, I would love to see the issue with gangs fixed. My parents (my father died last year) live on a block that built a fence/barrier between the gangs south of Pico and their homes (north of Pico). That is a short-term solution. Long-term we have to find ways to provide economic alternatives for Black and brown families in Los Angeles and other urban areas around the nation. However, it all begins with you and me. I'm grateful to you for sharing your insights. Please continue to do so ... and please feel free to use your name, Final Four Guy versus Anonymous (smile)....

Althea said...

My nephew didn't deserve to be gunned down! I miss him sooo much! I'm mad because I miss hearing him say, "I love you nana". That's what he called me. It's just so senseless! So sad. I can still hear my brother calling my name telling me, "Althea, Jas is dead". It was an out of body experience. I felt my head turn in slow motion toward my nephew laying in the streets covered in blood. I try to get that picture out of my head, but as of now it's still there. I look at my brother everyday and it's so sad! My sister-in-law, My Mom...We all still cry everyday! I know that many people have gone on to the next story and/or the next conversation...but for us it's still, "Jas is dead?!" We still can't believe this has happened!!!! I pray that you all will NEVER feel this kind of pain! God Bless

Villager said...

Althea - Please know that the prayers of all villagers remain with you and your family. I thought that family showed remarkable dignity and restraint in the immediate aftermath of the shooting ... and I watched the funeral services from a live stream on the Internet ... Jamiel's uncle, the preacher, and the church did a remarkable job as well.

I've lost my brother (unexpectedly) and my father (colon cancer) in the past two years ... so I have a sense of the loss that you feel. Be comforted in knowing that Jamiel is in a better place and is at peace looking down on you, his parents and his younger brother. You'll see him on the other side.

Stay strong. Is there any new information on the foundation that Jamiel's father and uncle spoke about during the funeral service?

Eddie G. Griffin said...

We must pray for the family and teach our young people better. It's heartbreaking.