Tupac Shakur’s Death And The Problem Of Gangs In America

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Gangs are a huge problem in America. They have taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people over the centuries. One of them being the King of Hip Hop. On September 7. 1996 at 11:15 pm, Tupac Shakur was shot.

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At age 25, he was shot and killed. He was in his vehicle with his producer, Knight, at a red light. At the intersection of East Flamingo Road and Koval Lane in front of the hotel Maxim, he was struck by four .40 caliber bullets from a glock: two in his chest, one in his arm, and one in his thigh. The exact reason is unknown, however earlier that year Orlando Anderson, who was present in the vehicle containing the shooter, and a group of Southside Crips attempted to rob Travon Lane (a friend of Shakur) in a Foot Locker store. Lane told Shakur who then attacked Anderson. Shakur asked him if he was from the South (South Side Compton Crips), punched him in the face, then knocked Anderson to the ground. While the exact reason is unsure it is likely to say that Tupacs murder was a result of his increasingly high tension relationships with members from gangs such as the one Anderson was part of. Six days after being shot, Shakur’s fatal injuries resulted in his death, and began a case that has never been solved and led to the resignation of at least one LAPD officer.

After years of investigation, uncooperative witnesses, and a political agenda the case went cold. Two years after the shooting of Tupac the suspected killer, Orlando Anderson, met his own end. Andersons killer is serving 3 life terms in prison as a result of several guilty murder convictions. Las Vegas cops told LAPD detective Russell Poole that, “…the main reason they would never solve this case is that the politicians didn’t want them to. They said the powers that be had let them know the city didn’t need an O.J.-style circus”. In 1999 detective Poole was taken off the case and he resigned from the LAPD. These actions were alegedly due to complications this quote had, as well as receiving backlask from rapper Bigge’s family while investigating his own murder. One theory suggests that one of Shakur’s producers, Suge, conspired with Anderson to kill Tupac because Suge owed him millions of dollars, and as a result was threatening to leave Death Row (Suges record company) which former LAPD detective Poole believed. Yet another conspiracy is that Snoop Dogg’s cousin Lil’ Half Dead was mad because Shakur allegedly stole the hit song “Brenda’s Got a Baby” from him. Rapper Lil’ Half Dead had allegedly helped Suge’s wife, and Death Row’s head of security attempt to kill Suge in order to take over the company. While Suge was in the vehicle in which Shakur was shot, and was shot himself (in the head), he did not die from his injuries. Suge also never admitted to seeing anyone in the vehicle that shots were fired from. This theory suggests that the bullets that hit and eventually killed Tupac Shakur were meant for Suge, but they simply missed their target. The last popular theory suggests that the FBI didn’t want Tupac starting a black revolution. He was and is still known as being an avid black power figure, and wrote many songs disenfranchising the police and treatment of black people in America. This theory concludes that he is now in the witness protection program, alive and well in Cuba.

This case is a prime example of our country’s gang problem. Shakur beat up a killer, who then killed him. All over a piece of jewelry stolen from a friend. Shakur, who came up with the term THUGLIFE (The Hate U Give Little Infants F**** Everyone), chose to live and die by the rules of Thug Life. Our society’s inability to face that fact, that he choose the way he would die consciously or not, is a manifestation of our inability to help one of the most underprivileged groups in America, young black men. One of Shakur’s most famous quotes, ¨My mama always used to tell me: ´if you can’t fiind somethin’to live for, you best find somethin’ to die for´¨ (Shakur) which is another prime example of how his murder was agreeable to a lifestyle that he chose. He died for what he lived for. This case had a huge impact of numerous communities of people. The rap industry, black America, civil rights groups and others. This case has since gone could. However the murder of Tupac Shakur had and continues to have a huge impact on the recognition of how dangerous gangs can be and what getting involved with them can do.

As stated previously, this case had impacts on cases following it as well as the people working this case and others. The resignation of former detective Poole being a great example. The following years of Shakurs murder, another rapper known as Bigge was murdered. Detective Poole, who was a leading detective, had previously made statements regarding why Shakur’s case had never and will never be solved. Detective Poole along with many other officers and civilians believed that Shakur’s murderer would never be caught due to politicians at the time political agenda. Shakur once said, “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside while still alive”. It is safe to say that while Shakur may not have wanted to die, that he understood it was a possibility with the life that he lived.

The death of Tupac Shakur, nearly 25 years later has still never been solved. While the case has gone cold, it still remains an open investigation. Weather the police tried to their best ability to solve this case is a question that may never be answered. However this case has affected how one detective in particular solved his cases, and led to his resignation. Shakur’s death was a shock to the entire nation, and national outrage ensued soon after due to the circumstacnes of both his murder and the treatment of his case. 

16 August 2021

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