robbersblog.jpgWhen I first heard the news about Christopher Avery and Andrew Butler I was somewhat sympathetic. The two men, both black, both in college, were recently sentenced to 20 years in prison for armed robbery. Avery was a theatre major on partial scholarship, who said he needed to go the ski mask way because once the tuition at his school was raised, his scholarship wasn't enough to cover.  Butler was an engineering major whose summer internship at Kroger's fell through, leaving him penniless and unable to pay for summer classes. The two of them said, there were only two choices: Steal the money or drop out. Before the judge issued his sentencing, he said he didnt' understand why the two of them would do such a crime, to which Avery and Butler said they did it for tuition money.

Really?

Now, I'd be lying if I said I never ever thought of doing something illegal to come up on more dough, especially for the four years I was in college. As anyone who's ever walked the halls of higher education will tell you, that shit is expensive. Especially, if like me, you're not there on scholarship. The only people who really don't have problems meeting the financial demands of college are A) People on full rides or other supplemental scholarships or B) students who strip. So when I read about Avery and Butler did a part of me tip my hat to them? Yeah, sure, for actually having the guts to do some gangsta shit.

But then once I turned off all that hippity-hop music going on in my head, I realized Avery and Butler are two of the biggest idiots of the year, if not, black history. Michael Vick, T.I., Flavor Flav, O.J. Simpson? You can keep the list going on for a long while before you find someone who tops Avery and Butler.

The problem with people like Butler and Avery is they think because they've lived on the right side of the law their whole life, they can just make a quick pit stop in the world of illegal activities, which is extremely shortsighted of them. The underworld is no place for fools. Sure it may be a stupid place to settle down at, but once a person makes a decision to live that life of crime, for the most part, they're smart enough to know how to navigate through it.

The other problem is Butler and Avery's actions reak of a false sense of entitlement that a lot of young men, especially black men, in college are guilty of having. I should know, because I was once one of them. Because there are so few black men going after those degrees, a lot of us have a tendency to act like the world owes us a favor or two. We're niggas with an attitude that we're better than everyone who isn't sharing a classroom with us. That's certainly what Avery and Butler believed. Why else would they committ a crime of this nature? The irony is that Butler went the ski mask way after he didn't get an internship at the corporate headquarters of a major super market chain. As though he was too good to get a job at one of their stores bagging groceries. And Avery, what the hell!? At least he had a partial scholarship, which is more than I ever had.

A wise man once said (I think it was Mark  Twain, but don't put that in Wikipedia), "Don't let school get in the way of your education." Funny how Avery and Butler are going to learn this lesson behind bars.

Motivation to Write This Piece 

- Robbers: Tuition Was Motive (From The Cincinnati Enquirer)