City Paper is not for tourists
I’m sorry, but I’ve missed your writers’ collective point of view in the tragic story about Thomas “T.J.” Boykin’s alleged slaying of James “J-Rock” Richardson at Ballou High School (“Incident No. 1113,” 3/5). Between the cynical disgust aimed at the school’s administration for not doing enough (actually, nothing) to prevent this tragedy and the story’s conclusion, where T.J. awaits his sorry fate in prison, I lost track of the authors’ angle.
Perhaps I misread, but it seems that the five writers who collaborated on the story were trying to dismiss all that transpired as some twisted act of fate. It seems that both T.J. and J-Rock Richardson were victims of some or all of the following: an inferior, uncaring, overwhelmed school system; a general atmosphere of violence; a neighborhood feud dating back generations; and oh yeah, the way life in the ghetto sucks. Of course it sucks. Does that in any way justify anyone’s choosing to gun down another student? T.J. allegedly pumped at least three bullets into J-Rock’s body! By all accounts, no one else at the scene, including the victim, was armed. It was not exactly an accident. And it certainly was not fate.
Interesting how millions come out of the D.C. school system and manage not to mercilessly shoot down people in school. Are we really supposed to feel an overwhelming sense of pity for T.J., who supposedly just got caught up in this whirlwind of violence? In my opinion, he needs to spend the rest of his worthless life in jail. End of discussion. And shame on you for attempting to elicit sympathy for him. I can’t imagine J-Rock’s family is too concerned with his sorry future.