President Obama won't be saying "If I had a son, he would look like this Trayvon." There won't be any marches led by Al Sharpton over this Trayvon's shooting death which occurred Tuesday afternoon in a section of L. A. most Los Angelenos don't even know. CNN and every other network won't be providing "breaking news" reports if this Trayvon's killer ever comes to trial.
But, for the family of 16-year-old Trayvon Jackson, gunned down with his 18-year-old friend Antonio Riley in a firestorm of bullets on 64th Street near 6th Avenue in Hyde Park, well, for them , the world right now is a cruel place and they just want to be left alone..
"I don't even want all that attention anyway, like that Florida Trayvon got," said Trayvon Jackson's mother Tamiesha as she walked aimlessly around the driveway of a tattered two-story apartment complex on East 87th Place where she lives. five miles from the killings. Surrounded by two daughters and family friends, she politely and softly asked me to leave. I respectfully honored her. But, as I turned to go, her friend Demetrice Harbin asked me "Why are you here?" I told her this has been my beat for nearly 20 years and when I found out the name of the youngest victim, the contrasts in the media attention of Trayvon Martin, 17, and this Trayvon Jackson struck me.
Look, I get it. I don't expect the slaying of a black 16 -year-old boy from South Central Los Angeles by, almost certainly, another black male, to get to national attention. I've been doing this long enough to know that. Thing is, buckhorn foolish as it may be, it still irks me. I'm not alone.
“If this Trayvon would have been shot by a white guy, everyone would have heard about it," said Daude Sherrills, long time community activist who grew up in the Jordan Downs projects. “I mean President Obama was talking about the other Trayvon in Florida. Congress. Movie stars. NBA stars. You had them clowns Sharpton and Jackson doing their routine in front of the TV cameras. Where are they for this Trayvon and his friend? It's no big deal because a black guy shot them They're just as dead as they would have been if a white guy shot them "
Back on 87th Place, Demetrice Harbin went back into the apartment where the grieving mother had gone. Soon the mom came out and started talking about her son.
"He was just a kid. They try and make him out like he's a gangster because where he was," she said. (Police detectives have said the killings, in a Rollin 60s Crips neighborhood, were gang-related, most likely a payback from the Rollin 40s Crips to the 60s for shooting death earlier this month. Trayvon, nicknamed "Crafty", was what police call an "associate" of the 60s.)
The mom went on to say her son loved to watch action and scary movies. "He loved all them "Friday" movies. And "Boyz in the Hood." One of Trayvon's sisters, Beverly, said he loved to rap and admired the rapper Nipsey Hustle. The mom cut in, "Oh, he loved the oldies, too. The Temptations. Sam Cooke. We used to dance around the front room. Just him and me."
She got quiet and her daughter and Demetrice stared at her.
"Trayvon used to always tell me he was going to buy me a house and a truck."
Just under a mile away, on 81st Street near the Harbor Freeway, Anthony Riley was on his porch talking about Trayvon's friend, his own slain son, Antonio.
"He was just a baby," said Riley, 46 who grew up in Watts and now drives a tanker truck. "He wasn't a trouble maker. He just went to visiting a friend and he got killed for it. "
Riley, who got the bad news over the phone from a friend, said he has been in a state of rage since then.
"I'm hot as fish grease. Mad as a motherfucker," said Riley. his big biceps tensing up. But, he insisted he did not want to personally get revenge on the person who shot his son. "I hope they catch him. I don't want to go to prison. I have another kid to live for."