I spoke with some people who have lived in Kirkwood before. One man lived there for 12 years. And said that even then, people were fucking with Cookie.
He lived in Meacham Park. Which is an area where the city of Kirkwood tries to limit the African American people to. The area is the same one where most of the new businesses (super huge Target, Sams, etc) have been built. Meaning that most of the homes of these African Americans have been destroyed. Homes where these people lived for long periods of time.
The man I spoke with (white guy) said that there is a "plantation mentality" going on in Kirkwood where the white people think they can squeeze out the black people and make them leave their city.
Cookie was trying to run a construction business. He would store materials in his yard since he could not afford to store them in some type of warehouse. He also parked his truck or van on the street. There the city would put tickets on the vehicle regularly. They also gave him tickets for having the materials in his yard.
But how do you expect a man to make a living if he can't afford to do business the way the rich people in the area do business? If he is trying to make a living the hard way since his family has not given him a ton of money and he is probably not given loans as easily as his white counterparts? If he does not have friends who can go in on a project with him with their "spare" money? How is he supposed to make a living if he is constantly having to pay off tickets or try and find a way to store his materials for his work?
It all drives me crazy. And I didn't live it.
And he constantly, for at least 12 years, has been trying to right the situation. He has tried to get people to stop tearing down neighborhood homes at the detriment of the people he knows, for the benefit of rich people in the area, or rich people controlling nation-wide franchises.
I hate that he did this. I hate that people died. I hate that he felt so betrayed and ignored that he felt this was the only solution. I hate that people are so out for themselves that they couldn't even fathom trying to listen to the man and help him out a little -- give him a little slack and let him do business from home. I hate that people ALL OVER THIS NATION are continuously trying to move African American people further and further from where they are -- further and further into nothingness. It is happening all over this city. It is happening just down the street from where I live, just across the street from where I live, just behind where I live. I am surrounded by it. I am disgusted by it. I am vehemently against all of it.
You cannot continuously ignore, mentally torture, displace, destroy the lives of, and fuck with people and not expect them to react in a way that you would not like; a way that will harm people.
People being interviewed on the news all say that they have known the situation with Cookie for a long time. Why have they done nothing to help him do what he was trying to do? Why have they continued to move people out of their neighborhoods? It has been a long time of people not addressing issues in ways that would resolve them. And I'm not just talking about Kirkwood. Conflict management people. Seriously. You have to deal with problems and not let people be shit on constantly.
Please understand that I am not condoning his actions. I am really and truly upset that it came to this. I know people from the area and know that they must be going through some tough times having lost people they know and have been around for ages. This city is a bunch of small towns -- people are connected in so many ways. I know that there were parents, siblings, spouses in that building. And it really hurts.
I just want people to recognize that all people are people. That they all deserve a chance. A fair chance.
Can that really ever happen in this nation?
I honestly do not know.