Sometimes I get so caught up in the fuckery and the fun that I have talking shit with y’all over here that I forget about the real world. I forget to pay my cable bill, or my electric bill and then, bam! I come home and the lights are turned off. That’s why I really don’t keep food in my refrigerator. I know that any second the lights can go out and I will be sitting on the couch eating a can of tuna under candlelight. XXL Mag Dot Com helps me forget about the real world.

This week I had a jarring reminder about reality. No, my lights weren’t shut off, that’s prah’lee gonna happen next week along with the cable. This week I lost a good friend and a co-worker to some of the worst random and sensless violence that could occur. My homey, my brother, Raymond Barnett was killed when some cowards shot at the window of the pub that he watched the door for. This was worse than being senseless. It was shameful and cowardly. I’m not a proponent for the death penalty because it has never been adjudicated with equity towards people of color, but this is one instance that I wish death upon man.

Ray worked at the bar on weekends to get a few pieces of paper to supplement his day job. He and his wife were raising two daughters and such is the American economy that everyone without a Masters degree must grind that much harder for their chips. You still don’t go to work thinking that day could be your last unless you are a police officer that kicks in doors, or a fireman that kicks in doors.

Speaking of policemen and firemen, this crime occurred in the middle-class Bronx neighborhood of Pelham Bay Park. It’s an isolated neighborhood in the Northeast part of the borough that is a residential enclave for policemen and firemen, who want to maintain a city address, but don’t want to deal with the madness inside of the center city. I just pray that the cowards who committed this crime aren’t cops or kids of the police because then they will be shielded from any repercussions.

The bar was located on a strip where there are several taverns and pubs. The cowards tried to enter the bar after 4 a.m. which is closing time here in NYC. Ray denied them entrance. They left the bar, and when they drove past one of them opened fire at the bar. How cowardly is that? That isn’t Hip-Hop. That is bitchmade bullshit. But the damage has been done forever. Ray leaves behind a wife of eleven years and two daughters who will spend their lifetimes picking up these pieces. To think, dude came back home from the Persian Gulf War in 1992 only to meet his demise from a gun while trying to make money to put his kids through school.

Like I said earlier, I kind of lose my perspective sometimes when I hang out here, but now I have been crushed by reality in the worst way. To all the friends of this column, and the haters… Do me a solid today and pour a little something on the ground in honor of Ray Barnett and all of the fallen soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and America who were only trying to make life better for their families and for us.