He had nothing to be sorry for, having been nothing but kind (even helping me pick out my first firearm at a gun show in 2005) and a true gentlemen. He passed away late that same year after a terrifyingly painful bout with cancer, but this great man looked me in the eyes before he died and apologized.
In what was once his inviting living room, but had now become essentially his final resting place, he looked me in the eyes and, breathing with the help of an oxygen machine, apologized.
"I'm sorry for what you have to inherit," was all he said.
I never got to say goodbye to this great man, and everyday I lament how things ended with his daughter, yet few words have stuck with me in my life as his did that day.
The world of today will change.
What we have inherited was not of our doing.
Not because we want things to be as they were in the past, but because we understand they should never, ever be the way they are in the present again.
The world that he apologized for helping birth and nurture can be summed up in this piece from Bell Curve City. [Imagine A Better St. Louis: Rappers unite to spread message of peace, KMOV.com, 1-7-16]:
With 188 homicides, 2015 proved to be a violent year in St. Louis. That's why KMOV launched the End Violence STL campaign.
But with the new year we are shifting focus, making St. Louis a better place to live, work and enjoy all of what makes our communities great.
It's called Imagine A Better St. Louis, and we are already hearing from some in the community who want to see a change.
Rappers from all over St. Louis recently sat down with News 4 This Morning anchor Andre Hepkins, and told him they knew many of the young African-American men killed by violence last year.
They also said they know many of the killers.
Now they're united by the music they're using to spread this message: "We must stop killing each other."
The song is called “Neighborhood.” The hook came from Buddie Love, one half of St. Louis hip-hop crew The Yunginz.
The powerful pair grew up together in the same neighborhood near Natural Bridge Avenue and Grand Boulevard.
If Buddie Love is the Yin, Leak Jacob is the Yang, and the two think a way out of the grip of gun violence in the city is an alliance with other St. Louis rappers.
Most of them come from neighborhoods full of homes that are literally or figuratively broken, or both. They know a lot of people who have been shot to the death and they know the shooters who are still out in the streetsThat's why they're all coming together to stand behind the message of peace, rather than glorifying guns.
They came to that realization late last year. In 2015, St. Louis city detectives investigated 188 homicides, 148 of the people who were killed were black men.Now they want to be at the center of a new synergy that brings serenity to the streets of St. Louis.By the end of 2016, how many of these black "rappers" in St. Louis will have not only participated in a murder, but will actively help enforce the "no snitch" code keeping black murderers off the streets? How many of these black "rappers" will be dead by the end of 2016, by the hand of a black person?
There is no greater cancer in America than the population responsible for virtually every homicide and nonfatal shooting in St. Louis.