Ducks – More great news coming out of the ‘Scrimmage against hate’ game. The Banners were contacted by the Tucker Road Ducks who wanted to schedule a couple of hockey games with us. The cool thing for both teams is it’s a chance for each to play another predominately black hockey team. I know for our guys seeing kids on the ice that look like them goes a long way to feeling part of the main stream of America.
An ounce – A week or so ago, a friend posted the summary of a hospital bill for $366,000+. It was for a kid who had been shot, but not killed. You know that kid has no money, so society is going to pick up the tab, one way or another. Part of the bill will be absorbed by the hospital and passed on as increases in hospital charges and eventually to people’s insurance policies. The majority will be covered by Medical Assistance and passed on to taxpayers. Interestingly, for $365,000 we could run our Baltimore Banners hockey program for 26, that’s twenty-six, YEARS. Anyone who made it to our ‘Scrimmage against hate’ game with the Maple Leafs will certainly be reminded of the old adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
City policing – Last week the police raided Tweet’s house. They found weed, other drugs, and a gun in the back yard. The guy who’s drugs they were was not home, so they arrested Tweet and charged him with two gun counts and four drug charges, even though they knew it wasn’t Tweet they were after. All the kids, and everyone who knows Tweet, understands why the case against him is bogus. Tweet is locked up with no bail. His initial District Court hearing is March 1 in which he will plead not guilty, the case will be transferred to Circuit Court, and a new trial date set. At the Circuit Court hearing, he will again plead not guilty and another court date will be set in two or three months for a trial. Inevitably, when the State’s Attorney has a weak or non-existent case they will ask for an extension one or two times delaying the trial for 3 to 4 more months. The police’s rationale for the arrest is to get Tweet to provide information and testimony (i.e. snitch), not to mention to ‘teach him a lesson’. The police don’t feel the courts provide justice, so they have their own justice system. The State’ Attorney’s rationale for pursuing the case is to get a plea deal so their record shows a conviction instead of a case that went to trial and they lost, In cases where the State’s Attorney knows that do not have evidence when it gets to court, they case will nul prose (drop) the case. Tweet has three choices in this situation: 1. Snitch to get out of jail and have someone on the outside after you, 2. take a plea deal to get out of jail and have a felony record, or 3. sit in jail for 8 months to a year before the case is dropped. That’s what happens to you when you live in the hood.
BCDC school – Sean’s Public Defender for Educational issues filed a complaint some months ago with the State Department of Education concerning the lack of schooling BCDC (Baltimore County Detention Center) is legally required to provided Sean. This past week I got the State’s final report with specific corrective actions as they apply both to Sean specifically and BCDC system for all students. BCPS (Baltimore County Public Schools) is required to show steps that have been taken to enforce the agreement between BCPS and Baltimore County Department of Corrections to provide the required educational services. BCPS has no authority to force changes at BCDC, and it is unlikely for BCDC to make anything more than cursory change as they have been out of compliance for years. It’s unclear how we are going to proceed from here, but at least there is some progress for the kids.
Second game – Saturday the Banners had our second game of the season against Mt. St. Joe’s Club team, which they lost 4 to 1. All of our games we play are ‘no check’ to eliminate excessive contact which, with our guys, would quickly escalate to the next level. Our guys complained about the refs (who were two of our coaches) for not calling what the kids considered excessive contact and fouls on MSJ’s players. Almost all of the players on MSJ’s team were bigger than the Banners players except for one small kid. What that guy lacked in size he made up for in aggressive play. The main problem was what that our guys see ‘no-check’ hockey as no-contact hockey, while MSJ was just focusing on chasing the puck. One of our guys took all he could and responded with a purposeful hit on their aggressive player. After a short chat by the coaches with each teams, the game continued. One of the things we will be working on with the kids is a better understanding of the rules. We had a couple of penalties for things the kids weren’t even aware was illegal. Since classroom and verbal lessons don’t work really well with our guys, we’ll have to come up with some clever on-ice demonstrations to get points across. Though, all in all, the team is making remarkable progress.