On Second Thought
Highlights from Hair Balls
There was so much stupid on display at Quanell X's January 29 press conference for Carlton Berry, the man originally charged with a shooting at Lone Star College, that it's hard to tell where to begin.
First, the fact that Berry is even seeking an apology from Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia is kind of nuts — not because Berry never should have been arrested in the first place (this remains to be seen) but because Berry should have quit while he was ahead. If you're going to hold a press conference touting your victimhood, it would help a great deal if you didn't already have a criminal record.
This is not to say that only angels deserve equal protection under the law; it's to underscore the opinion that, as usual, the only person this press conference was good for was Quanell X, because — let's face it — the dude loves the spotlight.
Berry certainly doesn't have a violent criminal record, just a stupid one. And if the dude didn't even have a gun on him — and in fact no gun was found the day of the shooting — then we're sorta mystified as to why he was even charged in connection with that shooting. But for a person to hold a press conference when his recent history shows an alarming capacity for idiocy is, well, weird.
According to Harris County District Clerk records, he was twice charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana; he received deferred adjudication the first time and was sentenced to three days in jail for the second, which occurred in 2012. At the time of the second bust, he was carrying $2,563, which his lawyer successfully argued was the proceeds of his financial aid check, which he had recently cashed. Prior to that, he received deferred adjudication for a theft charge. That was in 2009.
Garcia has maintained that the investigation is ongoing and that two people identified Berry as the shooter, although authorities now believe it was Berry's buddy, Trey Foster, who's responsible. That Garcia isn't kneeling prostrate before Berry's feet has really irked Quanell X and Berry.
"The right thing would be for you to apologize," Quanell X said to the assembled media outside a small brick building in the Fifth Ward that is to be the future home of the New Black Panther Party. The murals on the building, by the way, are freaking ridiculous. We'll get to that in a bit.
Quanell X hypothesized that if Berry were Garcia's son, Garcia would demand an apology and a name-clearing.
"This is no gang member," Quanell X said of Berry. "This is no drug-related shooting."
He then asked Berry, who was on crutches, to say a few words, which Berry improvised, having apparently not composed a written statement. In response to a reporter's question about what Berry saw or did during the shooting, Berry said, "Once the shots came, I just blacked out." Riiiiiight.
Quanell X and Berry said they want his record expunged because they don't want this dismissed charge dogging him his whole life. Well, guess what, dude: The charge was dropped. Even if it's expunged, which it probably should be, you've got the drug busts and the theft. And the only reason Hair Balls knows that is that you called a fucking press conference.
Here are some things to think about: Try leaving your weed at home. If you're not selling it — carrying around thousands of dollars at the same time you're carrying your weed is absolutely, positively no indication that you're a dealer — then leave it at home. Clearly, the first time you got busted, you should've known that you're not very good at carrying weed without getting caught.
Second: Don't hang out with dudes who are hot-tempered enough to open fire on a college campus. This behavior does not spring up overnight, and for someone so concerned about their future, you should probably think about distancing yourself from these sorts of characters.
And if for some reason you find yourself the subject of another press conference, you might make a better impression if you have a prepared statement. Nothing fancy or long is needed — just a clear, cohesive summary of your position. Try to think of it as a job interview — you're selling yourself.
Now, as for how the New Black Panther Party building is decorated: Two quotes adorn the front of the structure. One is the lyrics to the Bob Marley song "War," with the quote attributed to Marley. This is annoying because we thought that even the most casual Marley fan knew that the words come from a Haile Selassie speech. The only thing Marley added was the refrain of the word "war." We can only infer that, in attributing the quote to Marley, they're emphasizing the "war" part, which is kind of a shame.
Then there's a quote attributed to Elijah Muhammad, and here's how it's printed on the wall: "A nation can rise no higher than it's women."
You know what else helps a nation rise? Knowing when to use an apostrophe. Seriously, New Black Panthers, if you're going to pass yourselves off as role models, then, for the sake of any kids who walk by the building, get rid of the apostrophe in "it's." Break the cycle!
Also, on the side of the building facing Lockwood Street, there's a mural that includes Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Quanell X. This might even be worse than the "it's" business, because it suggests that Quanell X occupies the same universe of significance and leadership as the other two. And, because that is not true, then the mural itself — like the apostrophe — is one big freaking typo.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.