It’s hard to write a response blog to a statement no one can ever hear, but I got to work in my favorite rap video of all time before the end, so at least part of this worked!
You know that I’m a hustler for real so you know I got the stolen bus pass.
I met for the first time a true hustler today. He needed transportation, all he had was a set and nothing to lose. He took an edged weapon and held it up to the little white boy.
“Choices” she said. That was the theme of the lady’s speech to the young Defendant I was defending. “You have all the choices in the world, and you chose to hold a knife to my son and threaten him.
Choices, she repeated thirty times.
Her son, for example, had chosen to play Lacrosse.
My defendant, a child of 15, hadn’t “chosen” to play Lacrosse? In fact he hadn’t even heard of Lacrosse. His father chuckled to me after everything, “How do you play Lacrosse, anyway?” Choices.
When he was younger he had a choice, either get beat up every single day, or join the gang, Halawa Mob.
When he was 12 he had the option, get beat up every single day, or smoke ice for the first time. How’s that choice?
One is my school. One could have been.
Aaron Sorkin famously said “You know how I got hooked on cocaine? I tried it”. Choices. He has a choice every single time
Choices, this mom had a choice, she could’ve voted for representatives that took better care of the local school system; Of after-school programs.
Choices, she could have invested in teaching young children the importance of teamwork, rather than gang work.
Choices, the State of Hawaii could have chosen a race to the top, rather than discarding a race to the bottom.
If you offered me ice at 13, I would’ve smoked it for sure. Luckily they only offered me Comics.
I try not to think: “Lady, you just don’t get it. YOUR son has choices in his life, he can choose what video game to play, or if he takes honors English or AP English. He can choose which sport to letter in. The defendant doesn’t have choices, choices have him.”
Of course the American dream is amazingly fair. Anybody can succeed, and exceed. But to do so you have to escape the trap. And if you can’t escape, you get neither the opportunity, nor the options to make choices. And we all start different distances from the escape.
The choices some kids have to make start with “how will I not get killed today.” If everybody you know, everybody from your neighborhood is dead or in jail by 21, what’s the point of planning for a career? If all your role models disappear by 23, you don’t make plans for 24.
Where I grew up, not going to college was unthinkable. It would be like not going to Junior High. Of course everyone goes to college. Where my client grew up, not going to prison is unthinkable. Everyone goes.
Life on the installment plan, that’s what the prosecutors call it.
Fat Cats Bigga Fish, by The Coup
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My life and choices
When my family was thrown out of our home when I was ten years old, that wasn’t a choice I made. That choice made me.
When I was told I would take a bus every day one and a half hours each way to Junior high, that wasn’t a choice I made. That choice made me.
And when I was in first grade, and they told be I couldn’t be with my friends, that I had to join a class in a special part of the school, with special kids who had special gifts, that wasn’t a choice I made. That choice made me.
Those choices made me, made me who I am today.
Choices are a good song to sing a child. Tell these kids they have control over their own destiny, they can do anything. Until the check comes.
Until our kid walks by someone. Someone who’s had nothing but choices made for them their whole life. Choices that make them into somebody that you don’t want to walk by.
I’m wishing that I had an automobile
As I feel the cold wind rush past
But let me state that I’m a hustler for real
So you know I got the stolen bus pass.
Mr Coke said to Mr Mayor: “you know, we got a process like Ice T’s hair
We put up the funds for your election campaign
And, oh, um, waiter can you bring the champagne?
Our real estate firm says opportunity’s arousing
To make some condos out of low-income housing
Immediately, we need some media heat
To say that gangs run the street and then we bring in the police fleet!
Harass and beat everybody til they look inebriated
When we buy the land, motherfuckas will appreciate it
Don’t worry about the Urban League or Jesse Jackson
My man that owns Marlboro donated a fat sum”