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    Jun 1, 2006

    "I will never, ever-as long as there's breath in my lungs, I will never forgive myself."

    -Darrell Brooks, 22,
    apologizing to the Dawson family's relatives for setting the fire which claimed seven lives in East Baltimore. Brooks had just been sentenced to life without parole.
    [quote source: Baltimore Mag]
    This ruling will probably close the book on this story [as far as the mainstream media is concerned] and it looks like the remaining Dawson family members will have to move on with their lives. What away to end this story!
    I am stunned by the news that the family's case was dismissed, but definitely not surprised. At the end of the day....they had one hard case to prove. The system they were expecting to provide them with justice....created the rules. They were never going to rule against themselves.
    I am more shocked by the words that city and police spokespeople are using to describe this situation. You won the case.....Is this a reason to celebrate or gloat. You didn't just send away the murderer...you told a mother and a child that "its too bad that you lost your mother....its not my fault...good luck! You lost your case...so get over it."
    Who is to blame if not the police or city of Baltimore? Who pays the price for this tradgedy. Was it the Dawson's fault because they should have moved? Didn't Katrina teach people that the decision to move is just not that simple for most poor people. I don't really think that all the people that keep mentioning that they should have moved have actually taken the time to consider how much of one's life is based around where you live and home's relation to one's activities of daily living. They probably didn't move ...not out of rebellion...but more so because moving was not a realistic option [in their mind]. Who would have imagined that people would want you out of their hair bad enough to kill you?
    Concerned citizens have always been a problem for drug dealers. Except when I was coming up and in the streets like that....drug dealers used to "take a break" when the neighbors were out or when they saw that "that nosey ole bat, Mrs. Jenkins", pulled up her blinds.......NOW a days they make neighbors go in the house. What has happened?
    Do you put all of your energy into hating the 22 year old murderer or do your put all of your energy into hating the system [conditions] that created the monster? It's the old story of what came first..the chicken or the egg. Yes! he should spend the rest of his life in prison, but what are we doing to make sure that we are not priming the next family killer? That is the real crime. In a few years these crazy and deranged youth out here are going to be the adults of the world...then we are really going to be in trouble.
    To us, this is just a sad story where alot of people made tragic mistakes [would have - could have - should have], but this is really someone's life. I wouldn't be surprised if this story doesn't become an episode of Law and Order. October 16 will go down as a very dark day in Baltimore City History. We must all make a promise to never forget the Dawson family. We must all recognize that this family was let down. By whom....that is the real question??? The law of the land has determined that it was not the police...so who?
    This ruling sends a clear message to me....we must all become way more responsible for our communities. The police can only do but so much. I read a story about two guys being found shot dead on opposite sides of a street yesterday. I thought that was crazy....only to find out...I know one of the young men that was killed. R.I.P. Aaron. We are going to miss you! This gang violence in our city must stop yall!!! Its not fair to the people that are left to pick up the pieces.
    What is this world coming to? This is what I ask myself at least once a day. The children are the future and they are dying everyday.
    May God rest their souls.
    Full Story:
    Wednesday, May 31, 2006
    WBAL Radio and The Associated Press

    A Circuit Court judge has dismissed a $14 million lawsuit against Baltimore and Maryland officials filed by the relatives of a family of seven who were killed when a vengeful drug dealer set fire to their house.
    The suit filed in February 2005 claimed city officials encouraged Angela and Carnell Dawson to report illegal drug activities through the city's "Believe" campaign, but did not do enough to protect the family from retribution. The suit accuses also accused state officials of negligence.
    The Dawsons and their five children were killed in 2002 by a drug dealer after being harassed and assaulted and after narrowly escaping an attempted arson two weeks earlier.
    Angela Dawson's oldest daughter, Lakeesha Bowell, and four other relatives accused city and state officials of gross negligence that deprived the slain family of life, liberty and personal security.
    But Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdock, in an order signed on May 25, dismissed the suit, saying, "This court finds that no set of facts can be reasonably inferred from the pleadings that would give rise to liability on any of the counts by any of the defendants."

    None of the defendants' action or inaction constitute "extreme and outrageous acts" as defined by law, she wrote.
    "If any one person's action was extreme, outrageous and perpetrated with reckless disregard of potential distress, it was Darnell Brooks' act of setting the Dawson home ablaze," Murdock wrote.
    Brooks, a drug dealer, told his friends he planned to "get" Angela Dawson and her family for "snitching on people." He doused the first-floor foyer of their home with gasoline and set it ablaze. The children and their mother died in the house; Carnell Dawson jumped from a second-story window and died a week later.
    Brooks pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in 2004 to setting the fire. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
    "It's a great human tragedy," Baltimore city solicitor Ralph Tyler said Wednesday, "but the court correctly determined that there was no city liability here."
    Margaret Burns, a spokeswoman Baltimore's state's attorney's office, said the ruling validates what prosecutors had long contended: that the Dawson family received, but refused, an offer to be relocated.
    "This is a wonderful victory for the state's attorney's office," she said Wednesday. [<----Poor choice of words]
    None of the family members who filed the suit, nor their lawyers, could be reached for comment Wednesday night.
    This story is particularly important to those in the Hip Hop community. While I do not believe the CD is still for sale, Kelly's words and the community's contribution are still worthy of recognition..........
    Music Monthly Archives
    Street Beat > December, 2002
    by: Kelly Connelly
    It is music's lofty mission to shed light on the depths of the human heart. -Robert Schumann
    People's hearts certainly were heavy upon hearing the horrible story of the arson murder of the Dawson family -a mother, father, and five of their children. Their house, on the corner of Eden and Preston streets in East Baltimore, was firebombed in the middle of the night, allegedly in retaliation for reporting drug activity in front of their house. Around the same time, our area was living in fear of the serial snipers, still on the loose at the time.
    Out of these terrible tragedy, an idea was born among the Maryland Hip Hop Alliance to put together a compilation CD. Remarkably, the 17-track effort was assembled, mixed, mastered, printed, and available for sale, all in less than one month. (Equally remarkable is the fact that all services and CDs were donated, including mastering by LB and duplication by DiscMakers.) The finished product, Strength In Numbers,doesn't bear any markings of being put together in such haste. What it does contain, however, is a lot of thought-provoking, thoughtful, and heartfelt songs.
    One standout track is Ogun's "Dedication", a song recorded prior to the organization of the CD. The song is particularly meaningful, as Ogun knew the Dawson family personally. Parts of the song are difficult to listen to, as Ogun wonders about how sacred the children must have been as their house burned around them. But, ultimately, Ogun's message is one of working to create unity and build up our communities - a message that Ray Lugar also visits in his powerful "Believe", which affirms his belief in Baltimore and its potential for positive change. Kross' "Delete It All" imagines a scenario in which he could just erase all the craziness, and he delivers the idea through powerful lyrics set over a somewhat eerie beat. Parts Unknown take us all to church on "Oh My Lord", while Hard Heads take us on a Mobb Deep-esque journey through the "Cold World". Blitz, Bas, and Abrock–on their respective "Reality Check", "Hold For Me", and "Problemz" - all provide thoughtful commentary on different world happenings. Songs that don't speak as directly to the actual issues at hand ring just as powerful, as evidenced by Soulstice's "Sacred Ground", Arcane's "Bipolar", and Storm's "Contradictions". Ritual and Tislam team up to ask the question "How Many"-how many more children need to be killed before people take a stand. Strength In Numbers is one step towards taking that stand, in this case, through music. The release of Strength In Numbers was celebrated with a show at the Vault last month, with performances by Tislam, N.U.O., Ray Lugar, Ogun, Abrock, DJ Face the Arkitek, and Storm the Unpredictable. As is the case with the sales of the CD, all profits from the evening were put aside for the various funds set up in memory of the Dawson family and the sniper vicitms. For more information, please contact me at kelly@musicmonthly.com....

    Music Monthly Archives
    Street Beat > July, 2003
    by: Kelly Connelly
    ".....Last fall, the Maryland Hip Hop Alliance released Strength In Numbers, a compilation sold to raise money for the Angel Family Fund. (You will undoubtedly remember the awful story of the Dawson family, whose members were killed in a fire set by drug dealers outside their east Baltimore house.) Well, after a big benefit show, many freezing cold weekends outside the Walmart near the Hanover Street bridge, and just general hustle by some members of the Alliance, a check for $4,000 was presented to Angela Dawson's mother, which was in addition to a $1,000 donation made some months ago. There were many people involved in the production and promotion of this CD, but Ritual deserves an extra pat on the back (or maybe an extra pint of Guiness) for all his hard work and dedication from beginning to end of this project......"

    Angela Maria Dawson, 36
    Keith and Kevin, 9-year-old twins
    Carnell Jr., 10
    Juan Ortiz, 12
    LaWanda Ortiz, 14
    check me out on MYSPACE @ www.myspace.com/clove
    [vigil picture: city gov]
    posted by C Love "The Rap Addict" @ 6/01/2006 10:02:00 AM  
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