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Tony Robinson Decision Should be a Watershed Moment for Madison

May 12, 2015

I’ve been following this story since that tragic night on March 6 with Tony Robinson was shot and killed by a Madison police officer.  The initial reaction by most, including me, was outrage that an unarmed “kid” would be shot in an apartment stairwell by someone charged to “Serve and PROTECT”.

In the days that followed, however, I began to change my opinion.  You see Anthony Robinson was a troubled young man.  In fact in April 2014 he was convicted of armed home invasion of a home in Madison.  Interestingly enough he was never incarcerated for this crime, although found guilty.  One could argue had that happened, he would be alive today.   In the initial investigation of the altercation he had with the officer who killed him, it was revealed that he had allegedly ingested hallucinogenic mushrooms the day he was shot.

Now that the full report is being released not only did he ingest the mushrooms, his roommate admitted that they got high on pot that day as well.

So here we sit, a city in protest about a 19 year old’s life taken.  That is tragic.  I do feel for the family and their loss.  Yet I can’t help but feel what we need now is true LEADERSHIP from not only the city but also from the African American community as well.  What do I mean?  When will the black leaders step out and start shouting down the violent culture that seems to emanate from just a small faction of the community?  Where will the “Al Shartpon’s” of the world show up to say, Stop being Thugs.  Stop Doing Drugs.  Stop Idolizing a life of violence and crime!  When is that going to happen?

I put the point of that spear right with President Obama.  Here we sit.  At a time in our country’s history when we have our first Black President and he doesn’t even show leadership on this issue.  Instead, as I just witnessed on a CNN report where he sat at a table to discuss these issues by simply saying…I broke out of this and so can anyone else.  Is that leadership?  How about shouting down the small percentage of the criminals in our communities?  How about telling them to clean up their behavior or get out of the US?

It seems any form on LEADERSHIP on this is coming from our First Lady first shared in her commencement speech in Alabama this weekend.

I see this as a HUGE opportunity for the President to truly leave his legacy.  You don’t need the African American community to get re-elected any longer.  You could use your position and power to truly change the conversation within the entire country.

I’ve been nearly a lifelong resident of Madison.  I love this city in spite of some of the craziness it sees from time to time.  Let’s not allow this to change our city for the worse.  I believe we can be a city of complete inclusiveness.  I believe that can ONLY happen when we start treating each other as Madisononians–not giving every part of our diverse community clear distinctions.  Criminals are criminals.  Great citizens are great citizens.  Let’s DEMAND Leadership on this and see what can happen.

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