1. Don't put it near light, especially sunlight, it can kill them.The good white liberal writers at the Indy Star have published a story that has the odoriferous stench of Thomas Malthus' ghost all over it, though on closer inspection it resembles the script for a world where those evil spawns from Gizmo took over.
2. Don't let it get wet with water nor give it any water to drink nor bathe it.
3. No matter how much it cries or begs, NEVER feed it after midnight.
Purporting to tell the story of an 8-year-old black male, Damarcus Cole, and his family's struggle to survive in black Indianapolis, it's actually a story that showcases why some form of those three rules for caring for a Mogwai should also cover the government subsidizing the black underclass. [A family's journey to escape violence in Indianapolis, Indy Star, 11-23-13]:
Eight-year-old Damarcus Cole sees a woman out his kitchen window, struggling to open an apartment door, screaming.
It sounds as if she's shouting someone's name.
Damarcus, who minutes earlier had been sinking threes through a portable hoop upstairs, thumps back up 14 steps to rejoin his little brother. He peers out their bedroom window.
Two boys sprint away from the playground, out the back gate, their figures shrinking in Damarcus' eyes.
Damarcus can't see why they're running, but many residents of the 164-unit complex can. The 911 calls come quickly.
"Please send somebody, please!" a woman yells.
"Keep breathing baby," another screams. "Keep breathing baby!"
Damarcus hears none of it. He steps outside and starts playing tag with his 4-year-old brother. The beige brick walls of the apartment building shield him from the chaos on the playground. When nearly a dozen kids gather at a nearby bush, though, Damarcus and his brother follow.
Now the playground is visible. Damarcus, realizing something is seriously wrong, tells his brother to stop hitting him. At just over 4 feet tall, Damarcus can't quite see what "it" is, but he knows what's there.
He dashes to his apartment and peeks inside. "Mama!" he yells. "There's a dead body in the park!"
Horrified, Tyeisha Tillman runs downstairs and out the screen door.
Damarcus, his brother and three sisters — then ages 2 to 12 — are standing near the bush on the 83-degree July afternoon, watching with the other kids.
Damarcus gazes across the dandelion-filled grass, past the wooden edge of the playground, to the rock-covered mulch beneath the two swings.
There lies his neighbor — James Johnson, 16. A woman runs toward Johnson and sees his neck spattered with blood, eyes glazed open. "Who did it, James?" a friend desperately asks. Damarcus can't hear their cries or see the blood. Just a boy lying on his side next to a baby swing, his hands clasped over his rib cage, shot dead.
"Go in the house!" Damarcus' mother yells. "Don't look!"
But it's too late.
The killing is the third at the complex in two months, and Tillman has run out of patience. She swears she will get her family the "H-E-double L" out of Hawthorne Place, the Indianapolis Housing Agency complex they've called home for five years.
"I just cannot stay here," she insists, "another 30 days." But she will.
Your friends will be your downfall'
The statistics facing low-income African-American families are grim but common: This year in Marion County, 49 people between the ages of 16 and 24 have been killed. Nearly 85 percent — or 41 of them — were black males.
Damarcus and Tillman are just two of the countless bystanders affected by those numbers, people whose lives are altered in untold ways: children whose earliest perceptions are formed in a cauldron of violence, mothers who struggle to escape despite painfully limited options.
Growing up around that struggle is, as Damarcus simply puts it, "bad."
So Damarcus' parents worry. They're trying to raise five children and they worry about them all. But when you ask whom they worry about most, they don't hesitate. It's Damarcus, their goofy son who douses himself with Axe body spray to feel older, the boy who oozes confidence and pride around his siblings, but is also slow to see danger, and quick to follow others.
The preteen years are a vulnerable time. The average age that the black youths killed in Marion County this year were first arrested is 14.Johnson, the neighbor who was killed, first appeared in police reports at age 10.
When Tillman and Everett moved to Hawthorne Place in October 2008, they were desperate. Nearly five months earlier, a tornado had torn through their quiet apartment complex known as Falcon Point, ripping off the backside of their roof and soaking their new $600 couch and love seat.
Tillman had two kids, including Damarcus, by the time she met Everett. They had three together.
Tillman calls the tornado the hardest hit the young family ever took. They moved into her mother's home for a week and then a hotel. She looked at apartments across the city, but landlord after landlord rejected her because she had lost her job. Other apartments cost too much.
The family was thrilled — but also reluctant — when Hawthorne Place had an opening.
The stereotype that comes with Hawthorne Place — poor families sponging taxpayer money, or, as one resident says, "people that just don't try" — can be hard to break.
"A lot of people around here really are ghetto as hell," says Tillman, 29. The family has been awakened at night by screeching tires, shattered bottles and drunken fights. A few doors from their apartment, a bullet once pierced a woman's bedroom wall, missing her then 6-year-old daughter's head by 3 inches.
Some, including Tillman, blame the chaos on a lack of parenting. The 271 teens and kids in the complex outnumber adults by nearly 100. And single moms dominate, with 164 women aged 18 or older — compared to only 17 men.
But Tillman prides herself on keeping the apartment clean and paying the bills on time. Her family hugs, watches movies and eats spaghetti dinners together. She watches the kids, and prefers to keep details of whether her family receives public assistance to herself — "it's nobody's business," she says. Everett, a stern but sometimes comical 32-year-old, works as an apartment maintenance technician on the Westside for $12.50 an hour. He says he simply wants the best for the kids.
Tillman puts the responsibility for protecting her children on herself. The only way Damarcus loses, she says, is if she fails as a parent.
"I'm gonna try and not give up," she said. "I don't care where we live at, what gang is around, what they're trying to start. I don't care. Like I said it comes to the parent — them doing the job or not."
Everett agrees. But he puts more responsibility on Damarcus. He realizes he can't shield the boy from death and sirens forever. So he and Tillman hope Damarcus hears their advice:
"Swallow them tears and chuck it up."
"Learn how to do your own thing."
"Your friends will be your downfall."Just like cute little Mogwai from the Gremlins, the Indy Star tries to position Damarcus Cole as the black Gizmo of Indianapolis. But you can't base social policy on individuals. Those Mogwai's multiple. [Mark Russell: We can't accept everyday murder in Indy, Indy Star, 2-11-13]:
The definition of murder is "to slaughter wantonly; slay; to put an end to." Unfortunately, if you are a black male in Indiana or if you are the parent, sibling, cousin, friend or acquaintance of a black male in Indiana, you know all too well the impact this six-letter word has in terms of lives lost and opportunities vanquished.
Black males in Indiana die at a frighteningly high rate, as a study of The Star's Marion County homicide map will attest.
Since 2011 there has been a murder on the first day of every new year, and a black male were recorded as the first victim each time. As of Feb. 7, 11 of the 13 recorded homicides for 2013 involved black males. Of the 110 Marion County homicides in 2011, 67, or 61 percent, of the victims were black males. Of the 112 homicide victims in 2012, 60, or nearly 54 percent, were black males.Indianapolis.
Well, black Indianapolis: a demographic group full of children like Damarcus Cole, whose horrific state of civilization is a reminder that Thomas Malthus was right.The undertow mustn't be fed after midnight; when you subsidize the black population, the end result will always be the world found in Detroit 2013.