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Facing the unvarnished truth can at times be painful, and for the father of 23-year-old Sylville Smith, that heartbreaking truth came in the wake of a violent confrontation with a police officer, that left his son Sylville Smith dead.

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The brief video clip captures the unbridled anguish of a guilt riddled dad, coming to terms with his own shortcoming as a role-model.

In an impromptu street corner interview Patrick Smith tearfully attempts to explain what went wrong in both their lives;

"I had to blame myself for a lot of things too because your hero is your dad and I played a very big part in my family’s role model for them. Being on the street, doing things of the street life: Entertaining, drug dealing and pimping and they’re looking at their dad like ‘he’s doing all these things.’ I got out of jail two months ago, but I’ve been going back and forth in jail and they see those things so I’d like to apologize to my kids because this is the role model they look up to. When they see the wrong role model, this is what you get.

They got us killing each other and when they even OK’d them pistols and they OK’d a reason to kill us too. Now somebody got killed reaching for his wallet, but now they can say he got a gun on him and they reached for it. And that’s justifiable. When we allowed them to say guns is good and it’s legal, we can bear arms. This is not the wild, wild west y’all. But when you go down to 25th and center, you see guys with guns hanging out this long, that’s ridiculous, and they’re allowing them to do this and the police know half of them don’t have a license to carry a gun. I don’t know when we’re gonna start moving.

I’ve gotta start with my kids and we gotta change our ways, to be better role models. And we gotta change ourselves. We’ve gotta talk to them, put some sense into them. They targeting us, but we know about it so there’s no reason to keep saying it’s their fault. You play a part in it. If you know there’s a reason, don’t give in to the hand, don’t be going around with big guns, don’t be going around shooting each other and letting them shoot y’all cause that’s just what they’re doing and they’re out to destroy us and we’re falling for it.”

No doubt it’s too late for Sylville Smith, however perhaps listening to the pain of his grief-stricken dad recount his own troubled life, and the cycle of violence passed from one generation to yet another, might in some way inspire a young kid hanging out somewhere on street corner to stop a moment and think, and while Patrick Smith no doubt failed his son, his words just might safe someone else’s son on the verge.

 

 

 

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