Part of the Bay Area News Group

A tragic start to the new year

By Katy Murphy
Thursday, January 6th, 2011 at 4:56 pm in high schools, the arts, violence.

Chris Jones (courtesy photo)Chris Jones was all set to graduate from East Oakland School of the Arts and study music at Cal State East Bay. He had his graduation day marked on his cell phone calendar — along with a note about how happy he would be, at that moment.

But, as you might have heard, the talented 17-year-old was shot Friday evening outside his house, in front of his mother and two sisters. It was New Year’s Eve, and they were heading out to eat. Jones was Oakland’s last homicide victim of 2010. His older sister was injured in the shooting. You can read the initial news report here.

This evening, classmates and teachers from his high school are holding a vigil in the family’s home. Seventh Avenue Baptist Church (1740 Seventh Ave.) is having a musical celebration in his honor at 6 p.m. Sunday. The memorial service is at 11 a.m. Monday at St. John Missionary Baptist Church, 1909 Market St. in West Oakland.

There will be a story about Chris in Sunday’s Tribune.

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  • Nextset

    Does anyone have any data on these Oakland killings? How many gunshot deaths per year by race in the 13 to 23 age range? Are they increasing in number or not?

    I expect they are going to get much worse as California Black & Brown areas are de-policed and abandoned to the gangs.

    While I have no knowledge of this shooting or any of the people involved in this shooting I am aquainted with the syndrome. I know you cannot take seriously published statements in the media about the involved people being “good boys”, “honor students” who have “never been in trouble” and such things. While anything is possible, that’s not typically what’s going on. I’ve seen those descriptions used constantly when they were patently false. The people who say it think it will bring comfort to the surviving family I suppose. Is it true here? Was this a truly random killing involving contact with strangers, a robbery by a stranger (doesn’t seem to be)? Are we to believe a stranger opened fire on a group of people – apparently not a robbery or carjacking – because he wanted to kill a stranger for no particular purpose?

    Right.

    This seems like a targeted killing of someone in the group – by people who have no problem with collateral damage. Now who do we know like that??

    Before some of the readers have a hissy fit I’ll repeat that I have no knowledge of anybody in this particular killing. I am annoyed that the body count is the way it is – where certain people of the public school variety get lead poisoning and certain other people of the other varieties seem to not have a problem with this.

    I continue to claim that the way the black kids are taught indiscipline and “what-me-worry” in the public schools increases their already problematic mortality risk even compared to other kids in the same school.

    The black kids are not wearing well – and yes, I believe the schools have as much to do with the “difference” in these death stats as the parent that fails to school the kids in risk management.

    Sometimes it’s lead poisoning, sometimes it’s Venereal Disease sometimes it’s any number of crash landings that Ken and Barbie and the others don’t have.

    The mortality tables should be trotted out and looked at. There is a reason these shootings are happening and in my experience these killings are not “senseless” or “random” but predictable enough. They will continue. There is a reason they occur. People do not want to hear the truth or face it. A lot of that is going around. Bad endings have a way of following bad behavior – starting with loud radios, sagging, tresspassing and provocative fashion. We need to make that more clear to you-know-who.

    I’d prefer to know the truth about these killings, which in previous generations the media would reveal if the police would not. What really happened here? What are the things that resulted in this particular death?

  • oaklandteacher

    As a teacher who knew Chris, I just want to say what an incredible young man he was. I will miss him in the hallways at EOSA. His vibrant smile, positivity and kindness are all things that will inspire me each and everyday I arrive at school.

    Every single day, Chris gave me multiple hugs and there wasn’t a day that passed that he didn’t ask me how I was doing. He was an excellent student who worked hard academically as well as musically. Almost every student at EOSA knew him because Chris went out of his way to know them.

    Our school is mourning the loss of an incredible young person who was destined for greatness.

  • http://www.teamupforyouth.org Sheilagh Polk

    Folks should know that the vigil is open to the community. It is from 2:30-6:30 PM at 7400 block of Fresno Street @ 73rd Avenue, East Oakland , CA
    Organizers would appreciate as much community support as possible. Thanks for posting this Katy.

  • Oakland Teacher

    #2 I am sorry for your school community’s and his family’s loss.

    Nextset: not all people who are killed by violence are guilty of something. That aside, no one deserves to be shot in cold blood, even if they are not an honor student or have had troubles.

  • Nextset

    Oakland Teacher: You just don’t get it, do you?

    You think it’s a matter of being “guilty of violence” that get’s a black boy killed dead. Black Boys will be shot if they go into the wrong neighborhood with the wrong color clothes, or as one teacher friend told me last week, they had a school bus shot into with students abord because some of the kids were making gang sings out the back windows as the bus drove around picking up other kids in a certain neighborhood. Their kids think nothing of throwing gang signs when and wherever they please.

    And you still foolishly think this discussion is a matter of whether one “deserves” to be shot – or I suppose “deserves” to be infected with HIV or Herpes.

    Well it’s not.

    And as long as you teach this nonsense to black children they are going to continue to walk out the OUSD door and get themselves killed and hurt at a rate far beyond the Mexican children who sit beside them for awhile in OUSD class.

    Sometimes I think it’s hopeless. If you go to bad schools and are black you are just going to have these problems in life.

    For your information, being a “victim” is not the same thing as being evil.

    Being a victim has a lot to be with being unprepared, undiscriminating, unschooled, careless, undisciplined, reckless, improvident, incautious, or raised by people who are or taught by people who are. (IE: Child molest rate for children of alcoholics, single mothers, etc)

    There is a reason why some people get molested, stolen from, infected, traumatized, overdosed, and every other thing on the black mortality tables – more than others. Black rates are the highest, but even within the blacks there are some people who are victimized all the time and some who are not.

    And a good school, which OUSD doesn’t have – makes a difference.

    And the reason this goes on and on for kids like this now and not in 1950 I believe has something to do with what they are taught/not taught in the current government schools.

  • Oakland Teacher

    No, I do get it. That was my point. You said that it was unlikely that it was random. I was stating that fingers should not be pointed at the young man. My point was that perfectly innocent people do get shot, just like monogamous people become infected with HIV through their partner. It is not always necessary to immediately point the finger at people, except for the people with the guns or if you wish, a systems analysis. You are talking out of both sides of your mouth. In posting number one you point the finger. When questioned about it, you backtracked and accused me of blaming the victim, which is exactly what you did.

    Rather than have my words be fuel for further ugliness, I will remove myself from this board.

    Posting #1: …”I know you cannot take seriously published statements in the media about the involved people being “good boys”, “honor students” who have “never been in trouble” and such things. While anything is possible, that’s not typically what’s going on. I’ve seen those descriptions used constantly when they were patently false. The people who say it think it will bring comfort to the surviving family I suppose. Is it true here? Was this a truly random killing involving contact with strangers, a robbery by a stranger (doesn’t seem to be)? Are we to believe a stranger opened fire on a group of people – apparently not a robbery or carjacking – because he wanted to kill a stranger for no particular purpose?

  • Nextset

    Oakland Teacher can remove herself from the board all she wants. I still maintain that she doesn’t have a clue about the harm her liberal thinking continues to do to the children exposed to her. And she will never change.

    Those OUSD children are largely black because white families will not allow their white children to go to OUSD. Those white (and others) families are managing their risks and will not take that one.

    Her first paragraph above makes her point. Shit happens (as opposed to people don’t/shouldn’t let shit happen to them). This is not the message middle class whites are taught. Or middle class anybody. Even now in the face of the discussion of the death of one more black boy OUSD student, she maintains that such crash landings are just as likely to be a random event on an innocent – as she’d like to gush.

    I don’t know a thing about the boy. I know plenty about murder and related trauma. And I know plenty about casualty loss. There is usually a reason why victims are victims and other people are not victims. Ditto people who just happen to fall through thin ice, get hit by locamotives, and yes, get themselves infected with HIV, Herpes and all the rest. We usually think of it as risk management or lack thereof.

    Look at the Black Mortality tables, compare them to the Asian, Hispanic & White Tables. See the cause of death differences in the ages 13-25 and other age bands. See the avoidable deaths. Not only do Black Schools (and Churches) not teach self discipline, self control and risk management, they actively encourage the “anything goes” attitudes that result in these mortality tables.

    For those who still need illustration compare the Black Church mantra with the Mormons – or the Catholics. OJ and all the other black criminals would have been excommunicated and shunned in the other religions even before OJ chopped up that girl and the waiter. Criminality and degeneracy is not tolerated at all in good society (You do not get welcomed back into public life or society). As far as the Black Schools – the post pubescent difference between the students in these public schools and a real school is apparent at first glance of their dress and the first sounds of the loud radios and barnyard behavior. Black schools once did not have this atmosphere, but then they weren’t run by liberals then. And their students wore better.

    Ultimately the “difference” shows in the mortality tables. This thread is about a statistic on the Oakland Homicide sheet. Regardless of the individual facts on this dead child, Oakland’s homicide list each year is just like Los Angeles. Young Blacks Dead from flying lead in a City where the public schools are mid-single-digit white.

    Yes, Oakland Teacher, people actually are responsible for what happens to themselves and their families. Yes, it is wrong to go about your life thinking that whatever happens to you was an “accident”, “fate”, “random”, “just one of those things”.

    People are expected to look at their world and make their way in that world, not just exist. That’s the difference between an educated person and an something else. When I put a child in a school I expect them to be educated and to have a clue and a care about what happens to them and theirs. My students are not victims. They may have victims, but that’s another problem.

    Brave New World.

  • http://www.tigerthegecko.blogspot.com maestra

    for god’s sake, stop with the “Brave New World” at least – it’s seriously getting old.

  • Ms. McLaughlin

    When someone we know dies, it’s generally considered the courteous thing to overlook that person’s bad qualities and remember only the good. Thus it is that we always hear how kind the person was, and persevering, and how blessed we were to know the departed, sometimes even when all of that is not completely true.

    In the case of Christopher Jones, no amount of praise would be inaccurate, trite, or sufficient. Chris was an exceptional young man. I was blessed to have him in my English class at Oakland Tech this past summer, and he was as kind and respectful a child as I’ve ever worked with anywhere. Never did he utter a curse word, and N word, or a cruel word; it was always, “Morning, Ms. Mac. Thank you, Ms. Mac. Let me help you with that, Ms. Mac.” All the other kids liked him, and there was not a mean or cynical bone in this child’s body.

    Chris was all about his family, his church, his music, and playing basketball…and of course food, which is just fine for a tall, active 17-year-old. He worked hard to earn a good grade in the class, and he never complained or showed up with a chip on his shoulder. I’ll always remember the smile he came in with every morning, and his low-pitched laugh, and his gentle demeanor. If I could have a son of my own, I could ask for no greater blessing than to have a child exactly like Chris. His death is a loss to Oakland and to the world, and he’ll be sorely missed by all whose lives he touched.

  • Ms. McLaughlin

    Nextset: Ordinarily, your longwinded pondifications don’t bother me in the slightest, because I learned long ago to skip over anything you have to say. It’s all the same thing anyway.

    But your remarks here are inappropriate and repugnant.

    We get it, OK? You’re a black man who prides yourself, at great length, at having “risen above” what you consider the norm.

    But as you point out, you never met Chris, and you know nothing of the circumstances surrounding his death. Yet you go on and on making baseless accusations and using his tragic death as yet another excuse to point out your flimsy delusions of superiority, and to feign expertise about a dreadful situation about which you know absolutely nothing.

    Your attempts to prop up your own ego on the body of a murdered child prove you nothing more than an ignorant, mouthy, insensitive horse’s ass.

    Ms. Murphy, when are you going to get rid of this idiot?

  • Nextset

    Ms. McLaughlin: I appreciate your post because it makes several points about the continued threads educators – if you are one – make about the fate of the OUSD students and life in the Brave New World.

    First: Your instinct is to shut down debate rather than step up to it. I can be sure you conduct classes the same way and train the students to expect that a contrary word will never be heard. They will become physically upset as adults when they are confronted or reprimanded at work or in business. Well, life doesn’t work that way. If you as an adult cannot stand on your feet and defend your position logically you will not accomplish much. You don’t get to silence people who disagree with you, or dislike you.

    Two: You personalize debate and discourse. This isn’t about “Chris”, it’s about the collective fate of the black boys like him in Oakland – products of OUSD. That’s what we are here for. This isn’t a closed friends-only forum to hold hands and hug. You want it to be I suppose. You lose. Deal with it.

    Your first paragraph presumes I require your approval or adoration. Get Real. You are nothing to me. You are a voice in a debate. I am interested in your point of view and the bio that it comes from. I don’t expect anything more from a stranger. We are strangers, after all.

    People who ignore the past get to repeat it. I believe much of the gunshot deaths of the black boys could be avoided with better upbringing by the schools (parents too). Males have higher trauma death rates than females and black males higher than the average male. But what we are seeing in urban areas now is much worse than generations ago. You cannot teach incaution to the extent we do in the urban schools and be very surprised at what’s happening. (While I’m typing I remember the Bay Area teacher I talked to last wee telling me about an operating school bus shot into after some of the kids were throwing gang signs from the windows. He wasn’t there – wonder if it’s an urban legend or when it actually happened?)

    Ultimately it is the perceived low value/low regard some people have for the black students that lead to the indiscipline (which I blame for the higher trauma rates). At least that’s my take on all this. Can you give me your thoughts on that?

    If I can get the debate going around here instead of having a bunch of teachers saying we’re doing allright than maybe I’ve accomplished something. As things stand, your OUSD is probably going to decline and become a faint outline of what it was at it’s peak. I really think that is certain to happen. And at the rate things are going for OUSD products (and I include the drop outs), OUSD should be collapsed.

  • Nextset

    Maestra: BNW does make the point that things have changed.

    We once didn’t have much of these problems, even in the black schools.

    I suspect the pace of change is increasing for systematic reasons. Much of the current issues now find root in the fundamental separation of US Society into rigid classes will barriers to mobility established at birth. The public schools were/are the principal opportunity to stop this process. We have thrown that oppportunity away by ending standards in the public schools – having one public “school” system for blacks and such, and different public schools for the ones more cherished.

    Different language, different mores, with assortive mating. And everybody liking their own way and seeing no reason to change any of this.

    BNW sums it all up.

  • Nextset

    Ms. McLaughlin: I saw your post #9. You taught Chris and I’m sorry for your loss. I’ve now read your description of him.

    This debate is about the problems and the issues, it’s not about the decedent himself. I’ve repeated that I know nothing of him personally or his circumstances.

    I certainly do not wish to engage anyone who is dealing with the loss of a friend or someone they cared for. I was responding to your last post not having expected there was an earlier.

    These situations are difficult and I have been to funerals including high school students who died of misadventure while we were in school. It is difficult to have these things happen.

  • Nextset

    This is on a similar thread but different sex wise. I happened to have recently reviewed a number of old rape reports involving schoolgirls aged 12-17 who tearfully reported forcible rapes. Arrests were made and the rape charges were essentially laughed out of court, sometimes not filed, sometimes filed and dismissed without any conviction for that girl’s case at all. The victims were black and hispanic – all minorities as were the boys. The races happen to match, the fact patterns were the same as some earlier cases I once read concerning white east bay 8th graders.

    Sometimes the girls cut class (with the boys) and went to a house where the adults were gone to work, got drunk with the boys and the stories diverged. I’m wondering if this is a familiar story to the educators on the blog. In another case the parents went out of town, the older children were left in charge, large amounts of liquor were brought in and consumer, and one of the visiting (gang?) males was accused of forcing himself on a young passed out drunk school girl.

    The results in these cases were the boy’s stories were more believable and consistent with the physical evidence than the girls – and the government seems to not prosecute stat rape for some reason (the boys didn’t deny sex, only maintained from the beginning that it was mutual activity). In one case the Hickeys all over the boy she reportedly paired with did seem to belie that girl’s story that there was no willing activity whatsoever with that couple, everything was forced. Typically the girls stories were contradicted by (all) the various other witness statements about her conduct with the boy in question. Her stories had no traction, no support from any witnesses, etc. And she was drunk (credibility of memory??).

    This thread started out dealing with (yet another) black boy killed by gunshot. I don’t think we have a statistically significant number of girls having that problem – but is it possible that rape complaints are the minority girls’ issue? I’m not sure if stats are kept on this the way cause of death stats are kept. I have read that being raised by an alcoholic/drug user does significantly elevate the children’s odds of sex assault victimization. I’ve read of a few college dorm and frat “rapes” that went nowhere also, one at a HBC, one at UC Berkeley. Similar stories. Girls gone wild.

    Is it possible there is a (relatively) silent epidemic of sex assault complaints by urban/minority girls?

    And is this – as the other social problems – related to incaution? Are the schools teaching incaution – as I say they must be (based on the behavior and the fates of their products). Would it make any difference if the urban schools such as OUSD aggressively taught their students to take responsibility for themselves and their fates?

    I’m still bothered by the hurt feelings of some readers. Not really, but I still am. The hurt feelings are unfortunate but these cases just seem to be too common and too centered around minority kids who really don’t seem to have been taught to stay out of trouble. (By which I mean they are the one having these problems, NOT Ken and Barbie).

    I can take a lot of hurt feelings if it means pushing these casualty stats down. And I don’t teach “becoming a victim 101″. Never have. Wasn’t raised that way either.

    Some readers by now get upset about this constituting “blame the victim”. You have to understand, trials are called a “trial” because they are not pleasant. I’ve seen a forcible rape case result in a 15 minute acquital and the girl’s parents screaming histerically in the hallway. It’s very rough when you know someone accused (or their parents/family), it’s rough when you know someone who is the accuser. Is it in any way the school’s portfolio to teach these issues and risk management? Does a school district with a large rate of poor at-risk single parent/mother kids have a larger obligation to address all these risk management issues than say, Piedmont Schools?

    Does OUSD have any obligation to try to address problems of premature wear in their products?

  • Gordon Danning

    Nextset:

    You are constantly harping on personal responsibility and the like, yet you do not practice what you preach. You implicitly blame the “hurt feelings” of other posters on their failings, when in fact the lions’ share of the blame belongs to you: You jumped to a conclusion about the young man in question — a conclusion which, in this case, seems to have been mistaken. Yeah, it is true, that many victims ARE partially to blame — we have discussed deceased students on here who were shot on the street at 2 a.m. on a school night — but this student is not, apparently one of them, as the initial report clearly implied. So, what you see as people being overly sensitive is, in fact, people coming to the defense of the good name of a young man who is sadly unable to defend himself from the bullying of someone who should, given his purported higher degree, be above that sort of behavior.

    Not that I think there is a snowball’s chance of it happening, but why not be a man, step up, and simply apologize? And, perhaps, be a bit more careful in the future? That would be a brave new world we would all welcome.

  • Ms. McLaughlin

    Nextset:

    First of all, I apologize for the angry namecalling. That was completely out of line on my part, and not the kind of energy I want to be spewing out into a world that’s too fouled as it is. Thank you for your kind response to my post about Chris. I promise you, if you had ever met this child, you’d have been nothing but impressed.

    As to your earlier post, I have no interest in shutting down debate. Censorship is not something I advocate often or lightly. But there’s a time and place for intelligent debate, and I don’t view an article about Chris’ murder as the appropriate time or place. There is (was) another teacher on this particular page who worked with Chris far more recently than I, and it appears that he or she is no longer comfortable even participating in the conversation. That’s just wrong, and when I saw the direction this thread was taking, I saw red.

    I think we all understand that young people who are involved in gang activities or other foolish life decisions are more likely than other children to wind up dead. I don’t see that as a topic of debate; that’s like debating whether the sky is blue.

    But Chris was absolutely not one of those reckless, short-sighted young people, so I do feel that the debate you were wanting to have would be better debated anywhere else than as follow-up to an article about the murder of this, of all, children. This thread IS about Chris, or it should be, and it bothered me a great deal to think that his parents, his little sisters, his classmates, or any of the people who packed the rafters at his heartbreaking SRO funeral yesterday might read this blog and see him demeaned, however clinically. For those of us who were honored to have Chris grace our lives, it IS personal.

    I do recognize the low value/low regard that some people tend to have for black children. What’s ironic is the assumption of that attitude being common among Oakland teachers. In my experience, the exact opposite is true, and especially so since the district and the nation has put such strong emphasis on mandated curricular standards. Believe me, there’s no room in Oakland, or probably in most places anymore, for the errant teacher who hopes to plop The Lion King into the VCR and read the newspaper or whatnot. It just doesn’t happen anymore; it can’t, and not just because public school teachers are currently under the national microscope. My sense is that anyone who may once have considered teaching school the road to an easy paycheck has picked up on the “Get the hell OUT OF HERE” vibe and, by now, for the most part, has planned his or her future accordingly, elsewhere. Rightly so, and Yay!

    As to the parents, I’ve got to tell you, I have never been so proud to live in Oakland as I have when I’ve called the parents of our students, which is quite a common occurrence, much to the disdain of some of our little dear ones. It was true when I was in school, and it’s true now: Sometimes parents just aren’t aware of the people their children turn into when they leave the house. And in Oakland, let me tell you, the parents are ALWAYS thankful to find out.

    That’s not to say that all the students or parents in Oakland are walking around with golden O’s over their heads. I’m not that naive, but by the same token, I have noticed a tendency in your posts to swing entirely too far toward the “eff Oakland and everyone who lives there” side of the scale. If you don’t mind a little constructive feedback from an English teacher and a longtime editor, the valid points you hope to make wind up buried under piles of cynicism and condemnation that nobody wants to read.

    Please forgive me if that sounds too personal; my intent is not to attack you any further. Your post #13 touched me deeply, and I thank you once again. Blessed New Year.

  • Nextset

    Ms Laughlin & Mr Danning: I’m jumping on and off the blog in between other things – often as I’m thinking about how to contain damage or a problem involving messed up people.

    I haven’t had time this morning to study and think about your immediate posts, that happens sometimes. Right now I’m still thinking about the detailed and unpleasant reports about those alleged rapes of those school girls (as I read them I think – what were they doing there??). And the thought turns to certain young girl relatives in Oakland I have as well as others in the Bay Area who are toddlers now. Remember, I have white, asian and black relatives.

    I’m thinking, do the odds of the girls being raped (we’re not talking sexual battery here either) have something to do with the school they go to and the deportment they absorb from that school and it’s expressions of “tolerance” and “normalcy”? With the boys – certainly the black boys – the odds of attracting flying lead and mortality in general are greatly affected by the same thing.

    A good school vs a bad school. Is this is why the hill people want to send their kids to Orinda rather than a OUSD “magnet” school. Boys can get shot, girls can get raped??

    Is the danger and the difference just the zip code or is it the culture and behavior coming off the students at the school – a culture and behavior the school piously refuses to deal with or change. At least it seems pious to me. Tolerance is used to promote acceptance and the “whatever” attitude.

    Like the sellers of the gun used to shoot the Congresswoman. Today they reported that they were afraid of the crazed man who did this, the thought he was off. But they felt they had to sell him the weapon merely because the came back clear on the computer check. So they sold the gun used in the atrocity. They were trained out of discriminating, they shouldn’t have been.

    I believe the bad results we see develop for the OUSD products have a lot to do with the schools teaching completely different notions of how to be. I’m afraid that the root of this is the notion that black children have to be taught to stay in their place, to keep it real, to accept what is thought (by white liberals?) to be “black” notions of right and wrong, duty and responsibility. When they leave OUSD they can’t freely move in greater society. Just as if they speak a different language.

    My White and Asian relatives do not keep it real. The Black relatives in or graduated from OUSD sure want to. My Jewish friends children are on a different planet looking down at the Los Angeles Unified kids and laughing. The various groups are growing apart despite the common Great Grandparent. Thus the BNW.

  • Ms. McLaughlin

    Nextset: I’m only now emerging from a state of sheer exhaustion, so bzzzzt, feel my empathy.

    I’m wondering this, though. What place does commentary about teenage rape victims, or Oakland schools vs. Orinda schools, or any of that other stuff, have on one little blog page about Christopher Jones?

    I’m not wanting to invalidate your desire to discuss these issues. I will ask, though, please, that you raise them elsewhere. Even elsewhere on this blog site would be fine. But none of that stuff is remotely relevant to the hideous fact that one of my babies was shot to death.

    He’s gone. His smile is gone, his laugh is gone, his sparkling eyes are now underground. I slept very fitfully Monday night thinking about Chris being down in the ground in that coffin, Chris being buried alone, as there was no other choice.

    Please don’t bury his memory under a lot of unrelated socio-political points, however valid. Please. We’re all still alive here, and capable of voicing our assorted concerns anywhere else on the Internet or out in the real world.

    On behalf of everyone who loved this child and will always honor his memory, and who are having one hell of a painful time dealing with him being ripped out of our world, could we please, please keep this one little page all about Christopher Jones?

    Thank you in advance.

  • Nextset

    This is an education blog about education policy. When I see a thread here with a photo about one more murdered black child from OUSD I discuss school policy in that context. This blog is published for the public at large rather than a close knit circle of acquaintances family and friends of an individual.

    Sorry I don’t see this as a Memorial Page to the decedent. There are other pages for that usually that are run by friends or family. That page would be filled with people talking about the decedent and not school policy. And lots more photos.

    There is no other Oakland forum on school policy. OUSD would never dare run one. The last thing they would want is a running debate about school policy, they have their schools exactly as they want them.

    I would never post an entry on a memorial page for someone discussing “what if” and policy questions. That page is strictly to comfort the living. This is not.

    We go through this from time to time when an OUSD child is killed or shot. It’ll happen again any day I suppose. And that’s terrible. especially for the friends and families.

    So I’m sorry for your loss. If we are to ever reduce these killings we really most get a dialog going about what is going on in OUSD. It’s not just about Chris. And as I brought up above, I’m really worried we are only seeing and talking about the most visible casualty of black kids at OUSD. the fatalities (usually male). Very bad things are happening perhaps over and over with no publicity or fanfare – to the girls (and not just the sex assaults either).

    I make the point that this seems to be an Otis and Latifa problem not a Ken and Barbie problem. Can something be done? If we don’t speak about this I fear no one on the OUSD board or administration may be spurred to do something. Maybe Katy and the Tribune will be spurred to research and run more stories about the various casualty rates and compare OUSD and other districts. Policy can change. Instruction policy can change. I want it to change.

  • J.R.

    He is right in this instance,
    Without real motivated sustained “from the top down” systemic change, there will be dozens of “Chris’s” in the not too distant future. Oh what a disaster our social policies have wrought, the cradle to grave mentality has meant progressively shorter time to that grave.

  • Byron Dugger

    Nextset you are a idiot.
    Chris is my nephew and Brenda is my sister. I read you post but I have a question? What are you doing about it? Do you really think that all Black men in Oakland are stupid and uneducated? So we are all gang bangers? I graduated from oakland High School in 1985. I have been shot a total of 15 times, 2 inthe Guld war in 1991 and 13 time in Oakland. My mother raised three educated children, B.J. is a nurse in oakland,Brenda is sucessful and Me I retired at 30. I have four B.S. degrees teach at Texas A&M University. I run multiple mentoring programs for troubled youths of all colors and teach parents how to raise good productive students. When I moved to Tecas we have a gang and violence problems too. I gathered other fathers from notorious cities like my own and “convenced” the young gang bangers to move to Waco, Texas and eliminated the rest. Now we have almost no violent crimes. Chris was a good young man brought up by a great mother. Oakland will be Oakland. People will continue to die. When concerned people like yourself get off the forums and start doing something other than running off at the mouth the city will gradually get better.

  • Livegreen

    To Chris’s family (Byron & others), I am sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine your pain. I know there are many young black men who are good and doing their best to stay clear of trouble. It is hard to lose any life, but especially one like Chris who had succeeded in navigating life’s challenges (with the support of a loving and caring family), to still be gunned down.

    Let’s remember Chris for the happy, successful young man that he was. And let us remember by contributing to the lives of others and giving them the support they need to continue navigating the perils that they meet.

    There are different groups out there that support the positive young men and women in Oakland who are meeting these challenges. I hope Katy will consider reporting about these groups and how we can help support them, or the Oakland schools such students attend. (By volunteering, financial assistance, or both).

    Many people do not know how to contribute, and it is important to report practical steps at a time when our President and our Mayor are calling for us to contribute and be part of the solution.

    Again, my condolences to Chris’s family. You are to be commended for having raised such a successful young man who made such a positive impact on so many people at such a young age. I hope I can do half as much in my life (in middle age) as Chris already has done in his.

    He is an example for us always. Sincerely, Livegreen

  • Nextset

    Byron Dugger:

    This isn’t a memorial to Chris, it’s a policy blog. Since you are here, can you please tell us why is it you have been shot at in Oakland and why so many times. Isn’t 13 times excessive? (What are you doing to avoid a 14th time?) Was it all at once or is it a more frequent experience?

    You say your finished OUSD in 1985, since then, what other formal education or training have you had? What occupations have you done since high school? This info helps us understand your points of view.

    You are making personal attacks/insults towards other people while in public discourse. Can you explain why, where you learned to do this?

    Why do you believe public discourse about policy is “running off at the mouth”?

  • Sue

    This hits me in the same way that Eric Toscano’s senseless murder hit last spring. What a terrible waste of potential. I’m so very sorry for the loss both families have suffered.

    But, I have to report that Nextset has responded to Chris’s death in exactly the same way that he previously responded to Eric’s. No compassion, or even consideration, of the impact his words would have on those who knew the young men who have passed, and who might be visiting this blog for the very first time because of someone mentioning a memorial posting for their family member or loved one. Instead Nextset has consistently blamed each victim for “allowing themselves to become a victim”. I’ve learned not to expect anything else from him, but I’m a regular around this blog.

    I’m sorry for the people who aren’t familiar with his “style”, and are hurt by his words. They are hurtful to me too, and must be exponentially more painful for those people who are reading him condemning their loved one.

    Please try to remember the best of Chris, and please keep letting those of us who didn’t know him, know something of who he was to you.

    And please, please, please, do your very best to forget Nextset’s hurtful comments – he’s severely empathy deficient.

  • Nextset

    Sue, I hear your position. You and Gordon Danning in #9 read my points as condemning victims or my alluding that the victims were doing wrong. This kind of thinking is why Black kids aren’t being taught to stay out of the morgue and Asian kids are. You don’t have to be bad to be dead, you only have to be standing with a bulls-eye. You can be bad also, it’s not required. If I opine that someone was doing wrong and got burned by it I am not subtle in saying so. I know nothing about this boy other than what was posted here. I have no data to opine what may have been going on.

    And one of the reasons I’m being prompted to continue making this point is that it’s not being acknowledged – it’s being misinterpreted. You typically suffer premature death among other reasons because you are not avoiding risk – actually you can be taking risks whether you realize the significance of what you are doing or not. There are many reasons why a given person or group will go about risky behavior – including not having proper value of themselves and their health, and not perceiving various things they do as being risky. Bad schools and/or bad families go for risk. Better schools and/or better families are more risk avoidant and their products tend to stay off the mortality tables.

    As I’ve said before, this isn’t a Memorial Page and I do not know this victim or his circumstances. I do know a lot about risk and more than a little about the mortality tables. My thread here is always about the syndrome of dead black boys, one after another.

    Now you tell me why these black children in Oakland (and Los Angeles) have such stark homicide rates? Do we even think the schools should have a role in risk management education for our schoolkids?

    In defense of the schools, one could argue that the Mexican Boys sitting in class with the Black Boys have the same instruction and they don’t get shot as much, so the fault must be more the family circumstances than the caliber of the education and school atmosphere. So maybe the black kids aren’t being shorted anything in class.

    Still, I wonder if anyone ever explains to the black kids that they must never ever wear a Red belt. The Hispanic kids well know what that means (Norteno). A black child with that belt on would be attacked by the first Mexican Gangbanger they encounter. So if you want a red belt and you are not a Norteno it’d better be a nice belt that’s worth it.

    The uncle has posted on this blog that he’s been shot at 13 times in Oakland, an odd thing. What is he doing to avoid a 14th and possibly fatal shooting incident? Is their something about the uncle that affected his nephew (do they look/dress alike, frequent the same places)?

    This is an education policy blog. I’m making this point because I have reason to believe and I do believe that there is something about OUSD that contributes to the unacceptably high casualty and mortality rates of it’s black children. That something being mis-education or lack of education about violence and people in general, and health matters. Having said that if this were so true the casualty rates for the Mexican students at OUSD would tend to be elevated also since they share the classrooms with the blacks. Or, if I am correct the other races such as the Asian, tiny white population, and mexican students could be getting enough protective factors from their demographically different families to keep them safer.

    Or maybe I’m just blaming the schools because the (predominant) black single parents can’t be held responsible for anything.

    Or am I just mad about the casualty rates and want to blame some institution because I’m mad about all this and can’t blame the individuals for their own casualty rates.

    Anyway, Sue, you and all the others can take the position that we should stick to memorializing Chris and not talk about the casualty rate on the occasion of this, another killing. I don’t think that way. When there is a problem I recheck the insurance policies. We all should.

    Oh, and Sue, stop calling murder a “senseless” killing. It can be an atrocity, a crime, a monstrous act. It’s only senseless to those who refuse to see why these things are happening and are going to continue to happen unless and until good people take action to make it stop. You sound like the people who say a drunk driving crash and killing was an “accident”.

  • Sue

    Um, Nextset, I wasn’t addressing that post to you. I was apologizing for you, though, so I can see how you misunderstood.

    Yes, this blog – as a whole – is about OUSD, policies, staff, students, and the whole mess.

    However, I (and several others who’ve posted) have read this particular blog-post as being intended as a memorial to one student. Perhaps that was Katy’s intent, and perhaps it wasn’t – she hasn’t weighed in to let us know either way.

    In general, I (and most of the other regulars) don’t have a whole lot of objections to your continual, tiresome repetition of your dogma, other than the obvious; it’s continual, tiresome and repetitious. However, your words really seem inappropriate (is it possible that you *deliberately* intend to wound?) to this one particular post – but clearly you’ve missed that distiction.

  • oaklandteacher

    Let’s try and respect the family, friends, and students who all knew and loved Chris. There is a time and a place to debate and discuss but I do not think it belongs on a thread dedicated to this incredible young man.

    Chris was a shining light at EOSA. A young man dedicated to God, music, family and friends. I miss him everyday and feel lucky to have known him for a year and a half as a student at EOSA.

  • Nextset

    Hello Sue:

    Good to hear from you again. I’m done I think with this thread, unless more data arrives on what actually killed this student there’s not a lot that hasn’t been raised. Your reference to wounding people struck a nerve. I use words to try to get people their due. If the people I’m addressing nod and smile and go on doing what they have been doing, I didn’t get through to them. So I talk for a living if you will. I have to be sharp and to the point with people I am trying to help – they are much of the problem on occasion.

    I really do worry about what the detractors here will do when they encounter people who genuinely dislike them and very much intend to use words to wound (This is nothing).

    I realize my opinion is not welcomed in quarters that may need it the most – I’m really used to that. Actually that was commmon in the family line of work anyway. (No you can’t have a Codeine refill, Yes the breast has to come off, No you can’t play football with that broken arm, etc) Even before my generation got into our professions – which are different from the teaching and medicine/dental of the previous generations. I was not brought up at the dinner table to sing Kumbayah – some blacks were. And then there’s the school integration thing my generation went through. If we are trying to hurt someone you will know.

    We all (Black Professionals) deal with black folks with preventable trouble and spend our professional lives in many cases not being able to roll back these problems as much as we want to. Although I never did run a school district. Grandparent’s generation did. Their black students never had these problems (like this) in any appreciable number – maybe because of those black teachers and administrators. Things are different now.

    Will someone tell me if there is any consensus or feeling that the black casualty rates seen with the killing of Chris here, require any kind of adjustment or response on the part of OUSD’s educational program??

    When a white high school child at a white high school dies in a DUI car crash somebody has CHP Tow a wrecked car to the school grounds to make the point that DUI kills and the school wants the student DUI activity to stop right now. Any of you ever seen that? Or see similar reports of direct action taken if a white casualty rate elevates. What do you think Piedmont High would be doing if one too many of their Jewish kids started having any kind of elevated casualty rates – say, autoerotic asphyxiation. You’d probably see Celebrities flown in to tell them to knock it off.

    Should OUSD do anything at all about the gunshot death of their black students other than have a memorial?

    I don’t think a memorial makes the point. Not on this board and not at the school with the kids. Memorials are for the living to commemorate the decendent. These efforts we do here (on the blog) are to ask that something be done by OUSD policymakers to make the black boys wear better.

    Because we do not want more of these stories anytime soon.

    And I don’t mind being the skunk at the garden party.

  • Brenda Grisham

    First of all I am the mother of Christopher Jones for your information I was in the line of fire not my son he lost his life making sure his mother was behind him in the gun fire. My son and my whole family are church going people would your children lay down their live’s for you sir???? If you have any, mine did his concern when I saw the rifle and I told him to run was to take a split second to see if his mommie was behind him as I tackled him to the ground he lost his life they were not shooting @ him we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. But for you to associate my son with statistical matters shows your character. My son was about school, church,and helping others there is not and will never be a blemish in Christopher Lavell Jones character hew was everything they say he was and more and I will pray for you with views like yours our children will be like they are.

  • Katy Murphy

    To Brenda and all of the friends, relatives and teachers who are mourning the loss of Chris Jones: I am sorry that this thread caused you further pain. I didn’t delete the comments in question because I rarely use censorship, but it’s clear to me that I need to set a different standard — one that’s explained clearly, at the outset — for posts like this one.

  • Ms. McLaughlin

    Dearest Pastor Grisham,

    I had so hoped to meet you at the church on Monday, and to put my arms around you and say how very, very sorry I am for the loss of your beautiful son. The huge crowd of people at the service was a tribute to the impact that Christopher had on the world in his brief, precious life. Your own tribute to Chris at the service were some of the most touching words I’ve ever heard a mother speak about her child, and it’s evident that you possess an inner strength that will help you and your family carry on after this tragedy.

    It breaks my heart all over again to read your description of that dreadful evening. No one, and certainly no mother, should ever have to endure such horror. I’m sure all of us here wish you peace and healing.

    You and Pastor Jones are to be commended for having raised a young man of such outstanding grace, courage, and character. You are absolutely right; that child’s name can never be sullied. He was a treasure. I am one of many who will never, ever forget Christopher Lavell Jones.

    Blessings to you and your family.

  • livegreen

    Ms. Grisham, I repeat my praise above of Christopher, you and your family for having raised such a fine young man who accomplished so much and impacted so many people positively. Ditto also to Ms. McLaughlin’s comments. One of the best ways we can remember him is to share his positive attitude by doing positive activities in & for the Community. For example working with young people IN school (of all ages), or giving back in realistic, practical ways.

    Since our President, Mayor, Police Chief & OUSD Superintendent have all called for working with our youth, I think such activities would resonate far and wide and help the youth of our City. In part in Christopher’s name and memorial.

    Finally, do not heed the words of the most critical among our population. They are not the ones who will be remembered. Instead it is the voices of moderation, reason, and positive change. Especially those who convert those positive words to positive action. Like Christopher.