The Murder of Brandon Lincoln Woodard

It’s been a sad week. This morning I awoke to the news that twenty-some-odd children and adults were dead at an elementary school in Connecticut. Anytime a person loses his life for reasons other than natural causes is unfortunate. In the case that the person loses his life as a result of gunplay, it is tragic. Therefore, the events in Connecticut were tragic to say the least. That they involved the lives of so many people — young and old — is doubly tragic. Additionally, earlier this week, news about a young man being gunned down in broad daylight had circulated on the media outlets. I’d seen the story and looked at the victim’s photo. By his appearance, he was attractive and inconspicuous-looking except for his ears which like Will Smith’s are prominently exposed and makes recognizing him easier. The same can be said about Jay-Z and his nose, for instance. Anyhow, after looking at his photo, I quickly dismissed the story as some random act of violence that I found shocking. It was another cautionary tale about life in America. To me, it said: “America. Safe?”.  Then today,  I read a post on Facebook written by a friend who knew the victim since 1st grade. They were in the same classes and attended Pilgrim School in Los Angeles. I was two years older, but I attended the same school. The likelihood that I knew the victim was greater than I initially assumed. It was then that I began to search the internet for more information about the victim, Brandon Lincoln Woodard, as well as to look at other photos. I couldn’t recognize him in any current photos. Then after looking through several news stories there was one photo that I hadn’t come across anywhere else. It was then that I could see some resemblance to a kid I met in elementary school. The kid I remember had very similar ears. It was after looking at another photo that I realized that although many years have passed and he’s matured since he was thirteen which was when I recall seeing him last, it is the same kid I remember from Pilgrim School and Jun Chong Tae Kwon Do. He impressed me by showing me his copy of King Tee’s Tha Triflin’ Album. It somehow stamped him as a real n*gga even though he and I both shared private school backgrounds far from any hood-*sh. Yet it seems that the hood took him under nevertheless. That is a true shame. A travesty. All of the news that are being released about the circumstances leading to Brandon’s murder reveal a very dark life. His murder reminds me of another young black man I met at Pilgrim School who met the same fate. His name was Kelly Harper. Kelly and I spent some time together in high school. I was his wing-man. Perhaps because we attended Pilgrim and then later a much larger high school, Hamilton, he felt a kinship with me than with others. I don’t know what happened to Kelly, but I remember being told that he was murdered after some botched drug deal. For the victims in Connecticut, and Brandon’s family, it has been a sad week.

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