The recent tragic and untimely death of entertainer, entrepreneur, community activist and investor Ermias Asghedom, known to the world as Nipsey Hussle, ushered in a wave of despair, confusion and anger amongst legions of loyal fans. Many denounced his murder as yet another act of government violence against the community, citing his charitable works and his efforts toward a documentary depicting the 1987 trial of Alfredo Darrington Bowman, also known as Dr. Sebi, a Holistic Doctor who died while in government custody in Honduras.
The theories have since been formally debunked by the LAPD and close friends and associates of Nipsey Hussle who have identified Eric Holder, a member of the Crips street gang, as the principal suspect in the murder of Nipsey Hussle. He was arrested in the City of Bellfower, California on April 2.
Video surveillance of the crime scene show Holder executing Asghedom in front of his business, the Marathon Clothing Store on Slauson and Crenshaw. According to reports, Holder apparently was prohibited from shopping at Marathon and returned to murder Nipsey Hussle in retaliation for the prohibition.
The presence of weapons and the perceived humiliation of the alleged perpetrator clearly were the causes of the assassination-style murder of Nipsey Hussle, yet many members of the public allege that the government or some other entity was responsible for his death. Putting these claims to rest are an integral part of giving closure to the millions of people who revered and respected Nipsey Hussle.
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Role of Weapons In Inner City Violence
The primary factor in the death of Nipsey Hussle was the presence of weapons in his store on the day he was murdered. Nipsey's store was located in a region of South Central Los Angeles that has been fraught with violence since the proliferation of drugs and weapons into the community that began in the 1980s and has persisted today. The Terrorism Research Initiative has shown that prior experience in handling guns plays a significant factor in one's propensity to use guns to commit violent and murderous acts. Children are frequently exposed to guns through the media, music and video games. More alarmingly, it has been shown that 25 percent of children living in the inner city are exposed to violence at some point during their preadolescent lives and such exposure to violence often causes victims to become offenders, as they resort to violence to protect themselves.
How did Guns Get Into Inner City Communities?
According to the University of Chicago's study into youth violence, the increase in guns and violence witnessed during the 1980s were driven by an "'ecology of danger,' comprising street gangs, expanding drug markets with high intrinsic levels of violence, high rates of adult violence and fatalities, and cultural styles of gun possession and carrying."
There have been several claims that the U.S. Government or CIA is directly responsible for the proliferation of guns and drugs in the Inner City during the 1980s. In August of 1996, the San Jose News published an article stating that the CIA had "sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency."
More specifically, it alleged the CIA had provided cocaine to "Ricky Donnell Ross, a South Central crack dealer, who turned the cocaine into crack and sold it wholesale to gangs."
Based on these reports, in 1998, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California demanded that the Agency conduct an investigation into any possible link between the CIA and sales of cocaine to inner city communities in Southern California.
Beginning in 1981, the CIA began financing the Contras, a rebel group meant to defeat the socialist regime of Sandinista Junta in Nicaragua. According to the CIA's own reports, "By January 1987, CIA was providing large quantities of supplies and new weaponry. Extensive training was also provided to Contra fighters." Oscar Danilo Blandon and Juan Norwin Meneses, two of the heads of the Nicaraguan drug cartel that flooded the streets of South Central Los Angeles with crack cocaine, stated they made donations to the Contras.
According to the CIA report, "In 1984 one Norwin (Meneses) was involved in drug activities in Costa Rica. He is apparently known as the Nicaraguan Mafia, dealing in drugs, weapons, smuggling and the laundering of counterfeit money."
"Freeway" Ricky Ross stated in an interview that he also believed that Blandon and Meneses were involved with the CIA. An FBI special agent, also stated that Blandon and Meneses were connected with CIA and that he sought prove a definitive link between the U.S. Government, the Contras and drug smuggling.
In its report, the CIA denies that any of these allegation were ever substantiated or proven to be true. However, these reports may be the basis for continued speculation that government involvement is responsible for the drug trade that fueled the increase in violence in inner cities, providing weapons to the street gangs, which eventually lead to the deaths of Nipsey Hussle and thousands of other people in South Central Los Angeles.
Humiliation and Violent Retaliation
Humiliation has been defined as any experience in which an individual feels "demeaned, devalued or subjugated by another’s actions in a social context," where that experience produces a "deep dysphoric feeling of inferiority."
We always have to remember that one of the scars of slavery is the devaluation of human life. Americans of African and Caribbean descent were reduced to articles simply being bought and sold. Devalued people feel humiliated and are more likely to commit acts of violence.
Humiliation is a dangerous combination of rage and shame. Once humiliated, the enraged person becomes filled with shame and seeks to reduce the level of shame he or she feels by committing acts of violence against their perceived attacker. Studies into the psychological motivation behind lone attackers, like the man who allegedly murdered Nipsey Hussle, show that they are often motivated by a personal grievance. Personal grievance is the "perception of unjust injury to self or loved ones."
There is something insipid about valuing human life in terms of our ability to procure material goods or maintain ideals such as pride, respect and territory. Life cannot be dominated in dollars and cents, or even in less tangible metrics such as time. Life is as a sacred gift that should be treasured and respected simply because we are blessed to experience it.
Regardless of the source of the weapons that people use as instruments of death, we have to address the ingrained psychological wounds borne by the inner city that affect people's perception of value and self-worth in our communities if we are ever to stand a chance at combating violence.
Nipsey Hussle was an asset to the community, who will be missed by many, including his longtime love, Lauren London, and his two children. Government conspiracies can only tell us the why of what happened, but there is little value in hindsight when we are burying the best of our people in the prime of their lives. Preventing crimes like this in the future is a burden we must take upon ourselves to heal our generational trauma. Perhaps the death of this great man will not be in vain if it serves to drive a commitment to addressing and healing these wounds.