Jaylin Davis, who went by "Skooby Straightdrop" on Facebook (it wasn't the ONLY name he ever used on Facebook, he apparently started his profile with the name "Gwape Banddannsz") was either dealing drugs or determined to make everybody THINK he was a drug dealer by the stuff he posted on Facebook.
At this point we don't know why he was shot in the head but that kind of accurate marksmanship is uncommon in North Minneapolis shootings, so...
Cosmic Ennui Descends Upon The Blogger, Le Sigh
It has been the practice of this blog that both homicide victims in North Minneapolis and alleged committers of homicide (whose lives, 90 percent of the time, aren't much different except for "who got the drop on who") get their own special moment in the sun wherein this blog scours social media, finds what seems relevant and blogworthy, and writes about their short hard lives because, well, no other media cares that deeply about homicides in my neighborhood.
The whole point is we need to prevent these homicides. So we need to examine these snuffed out lives and their social patterns. No, I don't have a brilliant "plan to stop the violence" and for lack of such a plan I'm not going to stop writing what I write no matter how many badly-spelled, just-short-of-threatening-or-actually-crossing-the-line missives come my way.
Oh, I got a real DOOZY by email the other day from a relative of Jumoke Owens, mentioned in a recent blog post as what I can only describe as an "interesting but minor character who deserves his own sitcom."
But here it is the Fourth of July weekend. I would like to be grilling chicken right now. Instead I have to catch up on the life of Jaylin Davis because there are at least two other homicides in the pipeline and as soon as I have THOSE names, I'll have to dig into THOSE. By the time the long hot summer of 2014 is over I'll probably just post a link to their Facebook pages and say, "Here, check this guy out for yourself and STAY AWAY FROM YOUR WINDOWS."
I am like a mortician. A mortician momentarily questioning his calling. You start out wanting to be helpful, and also to make some money (well, THAT part of the simile doesn't really apply) and at first you love your work. But then the bodies start stacking up. One day it's the Fourth of July weekend. You want to be grilling, or fishing, or setting off fireworks in Laughing Duck Park under the watchful eye and de facto policy of tolerance by the Minneapolis Police Department, but instead you're working on a deceased person, 19 years old, shot in the HEAD.
Worse yet, word comes there are two more bodies on the way and a rumor a third shooting victim isn't doing too well. If the blogger is going to grill today, there will be moonlight involved.
Le sigh. Hand to forehead.
Barbeque Was A High Point In His Life
Jaylin liked barbeque. The photo, above, is one of his most happy and positive images, though even this photo has to be messed up by a gang sign. His Facebook page says he worked at "The BBQ Man" and there is a link to a Facebook community called "The BBQ Man." However, exploring the links only turns up various recipes (few of them for barbeque, oddly enough) and no actual business.
Jaylin did, however, post the following picture of a business:
The location of this business and any actual connection Jaylin may have had is unknown, though I note a "closed" sign and I see a lot of weeds growing in the cracks of the parking lot and the sidewalk out front, like that place isn't even open.
In Facebook discussion about the photo, a friend of Jaylin's using the name Trap KeepAPole Duhh (sic) chimed in and said "I started this barbeque bidness." (sic) Another friend responded, "yal wild lbs (laughing but serious) this is not yal business !"
Almighty Black P-Stone Gang Connections?
This is a good place to note young Mr. "Trap KeepAPole" makes no secret of his affiliation with the Almighty Black P-Stone gang, displaying the following image as his Facebook profile picture:
Jaylin had five (but only five) Facebook friends using the word "Moe" as part of their Facebook identity. The use of "Moe" is well known as part of Almighty Black P-Stone gang identity. Don't make me go explaining it for the dozenth time. Citizens in North Minneapolis (especially readers of this blog) know this stuff as well as we know the colors of our favorite football team's jersey.
Moe (equal sign) Almighty Black P-Stones gang. Moving on, folks, moving on...
Died Leaving At Least One Child
The image above was already published by Johnny Northside guest author Jordan North. This blog mostly refrains from publishing photos of children but there are a number of exceptions, determined in a case-by-case way, and this was an obvious exception. In the context of young father Jaylin Davis dead in a murder in the street, likely gang or drug related, the photo speaks for itself.
HOWEVER, and I hasten to point out (I do not "hesitate" to point out, and it about drives me crazy, the muddling of the English language by those who say "I hesitate to point out," to the point it's very nearly accepted usage) that photos very much like this one exist in my own family albums.
Ah, yes, there is little Johnny posing with firearms (some toys, some real) as Daddy Willard teaches little Johnny about hunting anything and everything to provide for the family (we didn't have indoor plumbing until I was in 5th Grade, and this was Minnesota, so do the math) and tells little Johnny how to kill a charging Japanese soldier with a malfunctioning weapon by, if necessary, smashing that Japanese soldier with the butt of a rifle and sending him to meet his Shinto ancestors.
So I sit here and I judge. I judge this photo and I judge it harshly even though similar photos exist in my family. Context is everything, isn't it? I judge my own photos to be righteous and upright. I judge this photo to be troubling.
What is being said in the photo? What is being taught? The photo provides a rich blank canvas for discussion. Discuss.
In any case, Jaylin had at least one child, a baby girl whose name starts with "V" and whose birthday is apparently January 29. Jaylin posted a "happy birthday" message on January 29 with two pictures of the child who appears to be about two years old. But there are a couple photos where the same little girl is pictured with Jaylin and a little boy who is somewhat younger.
A Facebook friend asked Jaylin how many children he had, but the query was not answered. JNS blog can say "One for sure." There is, however, a photo where the little boy is identified as "Little Skooby G." (Jaylin also used "Skooby G" as a nickname) Evidence leans in favor of this child being his son, but it's possible it was a beloved nephew or cousin.
Street Life Was More Important Than Fatherhood
Jaylin himself wasn't terribly clear in Facebook discussion. Nor terribly involved. There are 14 pictures that include children on his Facebook, using a generous scoring system and including, for example, a composite photo as "two photos" but not counting duplicate postings. It should be noted one photo of Skooby with his daughter is prominently positioned as his "wall paper." In one of the photos he is, of course, wearing a Chicago Bulls hat. The huddled masses of Chicago yearning to commit crimes in North Minneapolis continue to be the bane of our neighborhood existence.
There are, in marked contrast, many more photos of Jaylin smoking unknown substances, flashing gang apparel or a gang sign, posing with money, etcetera.
It's fair to conclude he was much more interested in living life on the mean streets than being a father. But, hey, what kind of role model did he have as an example?
I assume Jaylin had a father. Everybody did. But no relationship with a father or, for that matter, a MOTHER appears to be documented in his Facebook pictures. One concludes this kid was left to raise himself and this, predictably, is how things turned out.
Deja Vu All Over Again
I remember this van.
North Minneapolis isn't a very big place, and I tend to notice unique vehicles with special features. (Like tail lights composed of red cellophane) A friend of mine pointed out this vehicle to me a couple years ago and after that I kept noticing it whenever it rolled by, and it was CONSTANTLY rolling by. Now it turns up on the Facebook page of this murdered kid.
Here, a brief musical commentary.
With the face turned downward or away, it's difficult to determine if these two photos feature Jaylin or a comrade...
The individual in the photo MIGHT be a friend of Jaylin's using the Facebook name Freakii Stayhigh (sic) who is shown in this photograph posted by Jaylin:
There are a few photos like that, photos along the lines of "Here are some young, urban men posing with cash." Where did this money come from? Barbeque sales out of the back of the Skooby Mobile?
I doubt it.
This one above is my favorite. Note the composition, the color, the eyes rolled back up into the head in expressive ecstasy.
Oh, I may quibble with the CONTENT of the photo, but I have to say...
That's a great photo.
This photo, above, is too posed and too blurry.
Now this is the part of the blog post where I roughly total up the money displayed in the photo and point out the sort of not-very-exciting things which could actually be purchased with that amount of cash. Today I see enough money to...
Make a down payment on a new riding lawn mower. Get a bungalow completely scraped in preparation for a paint job. OR have the mid-sized muddy lawn of a newly constructed house completely reseeded. Not quite enough there for turf, however.
I'm sorry, honey, but we'll have to go the economical way and just reseed. I promise you some petunias.
The photo below had the caption "Free Lord." I'm not sure who "Lord" is, but apparently this particular "Lord" was incarcerated instead of crucified.
This photo, below, was labeled "Suuwoo Blood." The term "Suuwoo" keeps popping up lately in North Minneapolis and appears to reference a new incarnation of gang. The endless mutation, names, nicknames, hand signs, symbols, it's tough to stay current. The gang hand signs are becoming so complicated that, at some point...
Now here, below, is irony for you.
Here the young man displays an expensive (or made to look expensive) watch. You can sure get someplace on time when you have a watch that that, can't you? But where is he wearing the watch?
In bed. Still in bed. Nobody deals drugs first thing in the morning. It's really more of a swing shift and graveyard shift activity. And I do mean "graveyard shift."
I presume by the way the gang sign is being made over the pant leg that something is HIDDEN in the pant leg? The caption on this photo appears to be an "in your face" challenge to enemies, as follows:
lmp southside im outsidde bitch #600
Who go do what?
Which translates as follows, and apologies in advance for this graphic message:
Lick my pussy, Southside, I am (right) outside (you) bitch. (The meaning of #600 is unknown but may be an apartment number) Who is going to do what?
A link to the internet slang meaning of "LMP" can be found here, click away.
We End "This Is Your Life" With Some Selfies
Yes, first it is time to enjoy The Selfie Song by The Chain Smokers.
Back to Jaylin...
These self-portraits are the image Jaylin Davis presented to the world. This was how he saw himself and wanted others to see him. It seems fair enough to close on my photo essay of his life with these images.
This last photo was used as a profile picture. More than any other photo, Skooby apparently thought this one summed up who he was and who he wanted others to know he was.
Note the gang sign.
North Minneapolis As "Self-Cleaning Oven"
Jaylin Davis, dead at 19, hardly deceased long enough to be written about before there are more killings. Yet all the while, decent people continue to work on their homes, accumulate equity, and make progress in the neighborhood. A bitter and cynical theory is often articulated in moments like this about North Minneapolis being a "self cleaning oven." According to the theory, a certain class of criminally involved person is both predator and prey to other members of his class, and this violence actually helps keep the number of criminals down in our neighborhood.
This is a bitter and cynical theory. I do not embrace it and wish to see the violence end. I would like to see somebody like Jaylin Davis grow old and have grandchildren and be the respected proprietor of a barbeque restaurant, if that's his dream.
Grassroots Media As Response To Neglected Crime News
I do not know how to end the violence. My goals are to counteract the harmful "politically correct" whitewashing of these lives by the mass media ("Family and friends say he was just starting to turn his life around") and to document the actual facts of their lives, possibly provoking enough discussion (and I do mean "provoke") to get actual clues aired.
I believe when there is a murder it's news. People should care. The murder should be discussed, the lessons about how NOT to live your life digested and applied to prevent FUTURE murders. It's clearly too late for the person murdered. Their life is, well, grist. The point is to prevent MORE murder.
In the little Minnesota town where I grew up, (OK, not within the town ITSELF but some miles away, out in the sticks) if somebody got MURDERED (about once or twice every two years, it seemed) there were endless articles in the local paper, every step of the way.
Somebody died violently and PEOPLE CARED. People cared day after day, week after week, they cared years later when follow up articles were written. And somebody was PAID to write those articles and there were advertisers.
There was, however, no WHITEWASHING. The ugly facts of the lives of the victim were aired. Not graphically, not salaciously, but coldly and factually aired. You could read an article like that and realize if you lived your life reasonably and didn't hang out with no-account criminal druggies, you probably wouldn't be murdered.
In our neighborhood people die...
And the media barely cares. They barely cover the story, and when they do they whitewash it to avoid offending WHO? The criminal class?
Does the criminal class even read the daily paper?
In my neighborhood, people get ARRESTED for murder, CHARGED with murder, and there's no coverage until CONVICTION. Meanwhile, both sides of the murder (friends of the victim, friends of the killer) are trying to HUNT DOWN AND KILL EACH OTHER and challenging each other to show downs on Facebook. The mainstream media generally ignores this. I mean, maybe if there were VIDEO somebody could get one of the television stations interested.
Except, of course...this blog covers our bloody neighborhood news. Some other blogs do, as well. And there's half a dozen or so neighborhood Facebook forums like North Vent and True North.
We are neglected by the mainstream media and so we have become our own media. Some may find my coverage of the life and death of Jaylin Davis harsh and critical, but at the end of the day...
I'm the only media who seems to care.