Sunday, November 13, 2011
DOMINGO EZIRIKE, A TAXICAB DRIVER MURDERED IN THE LINE OF DUTY.
Icheoku says regrettably the gist of this unwarranted wastage of a human-life was lost on virtually all that reported on the case. What is more important here and which should have been the newsworthy item is not that a man was killed driving a taxicab and over 75 cents disputation. No, the crux of the matter is that a breadwinner, husband, father, son and brother of some people was killed on duty, doing his job from which he puts food on the table for his family of a wife and three young girls as well as other dependent relatives, clothes on their backs and roof over their heads. Icheoku admonishes the world to stop seeing Late Mr Domingo Ezirike as a Nigerian taxicab driver who was killed over 75 cents; but to remember him as the father, brother and husband he was doing an honest job for an honest wage. At least he represents those 99% of Nigerians living in the US who are not engaged in fraudulent activities and for this, he should be mourned and missed.
Driving taxicab is a JOB; admitted that many people with PhD, law degrees, computer science degrees, banking degrees, teaching credentials, medical degrees as well as other advanced humanities degrees, who found themselves driving taxicab in the United States would rather be doing something else. These people did not wish that driving taxicabs were their first job. It is called situational condition and in America so many people are so conditional where you have to survive first before thinking about preferences. As an American would tell you, you gotta do what you gotta do. Would the late Mr Ezirike wished he had a 9 to 5 job on Wall Street pulling in high six figures every year, you bet; would the late taxicab driver Domingo wished he was a legislative assistant to a congressman in DC wearing shirt and tie to an air-conditioned office each day, probably yes; would the late Mr. Domingo Ezirike wished he was employed in one of the Prince William's county municipalities, pushing the pen or keying away on a keypad, yes; but in America the realities are different from the fabled and so many immigrants end up doing what they would not ordinarily settle for in their homelands including the risky driving of taxicabs. Literally stranded in America, they have to do what they have to do to survive as running back home to their motherland is not an option, some being already in debt and the northern star of their families in whom so many hopes are vested. Moreso many of such immigrants are raised not to be dependent and too steeped in dignity to settle for government handouts, they would rather pick leaves off the lawns for a living.
Yes, Icheoku is proud that 40 yr old Nigerian cab driver, Domingo Ezirike, was shot and killed in the line of duty, doing a legitimate job and not as a bank robber holding up one community bank in DC or a liquor store on the northeast corner. There is dignity in labor and provided it is legitimate, there should be no shame in that, no matter how lowly or menial that might be. Also the alleged disputation over 75 cents might seem paltry, but that is on a hindsight; moreso a cabbie who tolls all the roads trying to makes ends meet knows that such change adds up. Icheoku says late Domingo never knew he had a runaway from the Youth Correction services in his cab otherwise he would have waved him on without more and the murder suspect was not carrying a badge of infamy on his head announcing that he was going to kill the cab driver if he demands for his complete fare to be paid. Not even the police who stopped his cab and spoke to him about his unfastened seat-belt knew that they were speaking to a dead man driving a taxicab; or that the youthful passenger in the back seat of his cab was carrying a concealed weapon with which he would kill him within a short period of time. Should we now blame the police for not profiling a black male in a taxicab that night in DC by ordering him out for a stop and frisk which would have revealed the concealed weapon and perhaps prevented the commission of murder?
Icheoku says people tend to see the 75 cents as so trifle, but they should not be carried away by the seeming littleness of the amount in question; but should see the underlying principle that Mr Domingo Ezirike probably did not want to allow a strung-out on crack nigger-head to reap him off his hard earned money. It comes with the territory and drop by drop a bucket is filled; so he was not ready to be intimidated into losing some money by a troubled youth who saw him as that African here to serve them. Icheoku says let the 75 cents not becloud what really took place here and only if this would make the the bereaved family to share up a bit that their son, husband, father and brother did not die a shameful death but was a victim of a gun-ho society and a troubled youth who did not know any better. A dear friend of mine was similarly shot in a DC area of Oxon Hill sometime ago delivering pizza, by two juveniles who were declared minors and ineligible to stand trial for the crime. Although it was painful, but he died trying to earn his living wages and there is no shame in doing an honest work whatsoever. Take heart Domingo Ezirike's family.
FYI:- Mr Dominogo Ezirike was gunned down at 4300 Ponds Street, Northeast DC on October 22, 2011 at approximately 3.35am following a fare-drop originating from Morgan Boulevard metro station in Landover Maryland. The deceased cabbie was on a night shift which probably was drawing to an end judging by the time and may have been on his last fare run when 20-year-old Rashad Terrell Slye, a troubled youth and escapee from DC youth corrections services, shot and killed him. A ride of $27.75 which was paid short 75 cents resulting to argument, followed by robbery and then the murder. For those Monday night quarterbacks who are now arguing that a mere 75 cents is not worth loosing a life for, Icheoku asks them to name just that thing that is worth loosing a life for? Are they telling Icheoku that had Mr Ezirike known that it would cost him his life, that he would have argued with that crazy youth?
The guy was probably hustling for a Christmas visit to Nigeria and would literally kill for every dime, so do you blame him for demanding that the suspect paid his full fare? And when he gets to Nigeria his family will not allow him to rest because he is coming from America and should solve all their financial problems; assuming armed robbers and kidnappers did not get to him first? But like a popular Igbo aphorism goes, people will not because there is killing at the war front refuse to go to war - it comes with the territory so soldier on boys must. Hopefully a good lawyer will get some money for the family, suing DC for damages caused by an escapee from their Youth Correctional facility and possibly the taxicab company for failure to provide a safe work environment?
But in America, workers of every kind and manner get killed on their jobs - from lawyers as evidenced in the San Francisco law office massacre of some years ago, to cement plant killing as recently happened in San Jose California, to the proverbial going postal as a result of recurring post office workers killing co-workers. Even in hospitals, staffs have periodically lost their minds resulting in the killing of co workers, talkless of the military where a PhD military psychologist some few years ago lost his mind and killed several soldiers he was supposed to be counselling. So hazards of the jobs is not peculiar to certain trades or profession only, but comes handy whenever a nutcase losses his center and goes on a rampage. Nigerians are not the only nationality that drive cabs in America as Russians, Afghans, Pakistanis, Indians, Brazilians, Nepalese, Egyptians, Ethiopians, Somalians, Chechnyans, Eritrea as well as so many other immigrants world-over drive cabs in America. Most of these people are professionals from their home countries who could not stand the typical politics of America's job places, assuming someone cared enough to hire them in the first place. Some of these nationalities are just too proud a people to play the kissing-ass game that is required to get along in typical job environment in America; hence they would rather be their own independent contractors, risking their necks, driving cabs to pay for Uncle Sam's accommodation.
So as we mourn the loss of Mr Domingo Ezirike, the story should not be that a Nigerian cab driver was killed in DC over 75cents; rather it should be that a hardworking immigrant Nigerian, who was doing his job as a taxi driver, was gunned down by a troubled youth who was supposed to be under the custody of Washington DC Youth Correctional Facility which failed both the deceased and the suspect. There rests the case and that is the story of Domingo Ezirike, period. Icheoku says may his soul rest in peace.