Attempted murder is a serious crime. With serious crimes come serious consequences. Brandon Spencer was just 21-years old on the night where he shot at a rival gang member at a party near the University of Southern California campus in 2012. But that night is going to haunt him for the rest of his life.
The video below shows Spencer’s reaction to the sentence, handed down by Judge Edmund W. Clarke Jr. Upon hearing the consequences of his actions, the young man breaks down in front of everyone, having to be consoled by people around him as he bangs his head in response to the verdict.
“I’m sorry for what happened but I can’t spend the rest of my life in prison,” Spencer said, according to the LA Times. “I’m not just some gang-banger that they portrayed me as.”
Spencer had never been convicted of a crime before and had a job as a security guard. His attorney, John Blanchard, says that he was even on his way to college. He also claims that there is no credible evidence that he was the gunman.
Spencer was accused of shooting at Geno Hall and aiming at him in the crowd as he tried to run away. Police say that the motive for the shooting was that Hall actually shot Spencer in 2011.
Here’s the thing:
1) Media images that glorify black male genocide, thugging and all kinds of harmful behavior are psychologically destructive to the black male and his future. It increases the chances that otherwise normal young black men will get caught up in stupid situations and won’t figure out their mistake until they are standing in front of a judge. I believe this young man is a good person and redeemable, but in most cases, young men don’t know the serious consequences of certain choices until they are behind bars. It is our job to warn them and to also fight against media images that convince young black men that it’s cool to be a killer.
2) The use of drugs and/or alcohol is often behind many long prison sentences. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen cases of young men doing something while under the influence that they would not do otherwise. I can’t say for sure if this brother was drinking on the night that he decided to shoot, but most of us know that the likelihood of fights and gunshots breaking out at parties/clubs is higher than in other places, primarily because the liquor is flowing and everybody thinks he’s like Superman. So, tell your sons to avoid drugs and alcohol by any means necessary. As Malcolm X once said, “The white man will sell you the liquor bottle, then lock you up for being drunk.” Here’s another example of a young black man who did things under the influence that may end up costing him his life. We must share these stories with our sons as much as possible to warn them of the dangers that await them.
3) This man’s sentence was probably harsher because it was near a college campus. When the safety and security of rich (typically white) kids is threatened, police often go out of their way to make an example of the person who has been accused. This method of punishing “rogue black men” has been used since slavery in order to control us with fear, reminding black men of one simple message: “We don’t halfway give a damn if you kill each other in your own neighborhoods. But if you bring that stuff around here, the counsequences are going to multiply.” That’s likely a big part of the reason that the judge decided to throw this young man’s life into the garbage can over a shooting in which no one was killed and the evidence was inconclusive. Had he shot at the other kid in his own neighborhood, he might be out in five years or less.
Watch the video and pay attention to it closely. Then, ask yourself: How many young black men are serving life sentences in prison for doing things they would not have done if someone had warned them of the consequences in advance? Protect your sons by teaching them to think outside the box. Black men are being fed psychological poison behind every corner, and in many cases, another black man (i.e. a wannabe thug rapper) is the one hired by a corporation to spread this destructive message. Black men are not meant to kill or be killed….we are meant to live long and prosper.