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A story in the San Francisco Chronicle today describes a shooting in East Oakland in which a beloved young rapper was gunned down in the prime of life.

The rapper's nickname was Boonie, and not far from where he was shot dead a memorial has sprung up with flowers and hand-printed messages from his many friends in the neighborhood. "The world's gonna miss u," read one message.

It is all so sad. Police and members of the community call the shooting tragic. The cop investigating the shooting said the families are devastated. "There are no winners in this situation," he said, quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Just another gang shooting, right? Another family burying one of their young adult sons, brothers, cousins.

Well, kind of. Actually Boonie was more than just another rapper. He was also a domestic abuser, a firearm brandisher, a convicted drug dealer, and on the day he died, an armed robber.

He and his swaggering crew of "rappers" came into a family owned pizza joint, Boonie stuck a 9mm in the face of the frightened owner and said this is a robbery. The owner's family was in the restaurant and he didn't know where this was going. He pulled a gun from beneath the counter and shot our young rapper hero dead.

The pizza owner might have had a parade down Market Street in San Francisco. Instead, he's scared. He won't even say he's glad he defended his family, and the cops are saying things like this from Officer Roland Holmgren, who said, "Who knows where the suspects were going to take the situation? But by no stretch of the imagination are we agreeing with or justifying what the owner did."

The owner defended himself and his family against a gun-wielding thug. The thug was shot dead. This is the way things should work.

Instead we have an Oakland cop actually saying he wants the citizens he is supposed to protect let themselves be victimized rather than defend themselves. Holmgren said: "We're not saying that we want citizens to go out there and arm themselves and take the law into their own hands. We want citizens to be good witnesses, to be good report-takers and to identify suspects."

Officer Holmgren, our rapper guy came to the pizza shop with a gun, which he pointed at the owner's head. I have one question for you: Do dead victims make good witnesses and good report-takers and good identifiers of suspects?

You need more people like the pizza shop owner in Oakland. Maybe the so-called rappers who moonlight as armed robbers will wake up one morning and read a newspaper and they'll figure it out.

That's My Word.

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