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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Shoot 'Em Up


*All persons alluded to or mentioned herein are presumed innocent unless otherwise proven guilty.


On February 15, 2024, I posted a blog entry entitled Make it Make Sense, in which I addressed a Kansas City (KC), Missouri mass shooting that took place on February 14, 2024. At the time, it didn’t make sense to me how the story was being portrayed to the public.


On February 17, 2024, I posted another entry entitled Two-Tiered Justice System, critiquing how law enforcement officials and Mockingbird media outlets handled the event. At the time, and though suspects had already been contacted by police, identities of those suspected of criminal activity were withheld from the public.


Since my last post, more details about the event have emerged. As I suspected, the identities of those alleged to be responsible for the shooting didn’t fit a convenient narrative. They weren’t white males, nor is there any indication of them being Make America Great Again so-called extremists.


For now, I will set aside the negligent manner in which government officials, as well as legacy and missing link media sources, cover shootings in the United States. After all, the prejudicial disdain which these entities have for an entire swath of people in this nation is apparent and a comment on the obvious is a bore.


Herein, I will address the shooting from a Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) perspective. To understand emerging details about the shooting event, it’s worth noting that one source states:


In surveillance video, [Lyndell] Mays and a witness, identified as Witness 9, were standing near Pershing and Kessler roads when the incident started. It appeared Mays got into a verbal argument with a group of people standing several feet away, according to one affidavit. “They began arguing about why they were staring at each other,” a witness, the boyfriend of Witness 9, told detectives.


If the reporting is accurate, the Activating event (“Action”) began with people staring at one another. Using the ABC model of REBT, I understand that an Action doesn’t lead to a Consequence when speaking in terms of mental, emotional, and behavioral responses.


I didn’t always comprehend how matters actually unfold, as I do now. When I was in high school and had an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex, I thought in terms of an Action-Consequence (A-C) connection.


For instance, in 1992, when the film Juice came out and featured a Cypress Hill song on the soundtrack called “Shoot ‘Em Up,” I irrationally believed in an A-C connection. To understand my ignorance, I valued how rapper B-Real began the song with his following verse:


Who wants the wrath, it must be the hood

Who’s up to no good and wishes a man would

Come up and give him a reason to blast him

I wouldn’t put it past him

He’s got juice; how long will it last him?

He’s getting’ back at all the punks that harassed him

Ask him, “Hey, what’s your main hobby?”

He’ll say, “There ain’t nothin’ like the motherfuckin’ robbery”

So, don’t crowd me, ‘cause, yo, I run shit

You know, homie, that old-time gun shit

I got a slug comin’ straight out the barrel

For your ass if you wanna ask a dumb question

‘Cause I’m quick on the draw, click-click, punks drop

Now your lives ain’t worth shit


Staring down someone, asking a series of confrontational questions, and using provoking speech and gestures are examples of Actions which I unproductively Believed should, must, or ought to have been responded to with violence (Consequence). Notice there wasn’t an A-C connection of events.


Rather, I self-disturbed with a Belief-Consequence (B-C) connection. This is what appears to have occurred in regards to the KC shooting, as the aforementioned source continues:


Mays allegedly started toward the group in an aggressive manner, according to the video. Witness 9 put her hand on Mays in an attempt to stop him from going any further. Mays and the witness appeared to continue to argue with the group, according to one affidavit. At one point, Mays backed up, pointed his finger at the group and continued yelling.


In “Shoot ‘Em Up,” B-Real’s declaration, “So, don’t crowd me, ‘cause, yo, I run shit,” is a form of demandingness. It essentially translates to, “You must not crowd me, because I’m in charge.”


One imagines that in the KC scenario, some form of rigid demand ostensibly played a role in what was presumably a B-C connection that resulted in extreme violence. When inflexible demands are issued in such a manner, they may create a threat.


Then, people may respond to the avoidable threat accordingly. What might have occurred had any party involved in the event simply walked away? Apparently, no flexible beliefs were used during the KC incident. The aforementioned source continues:


Mays then circled behind someone and pulled out a handgun and pointed it at one person, whose name was redacted, according to one of the affidavits. As Mays chased the person, others from that group pulled their firearms and pointed them toward Mays and appeared to start shooting in his direction. The person running from Mays appeared to be unarmed, according one of the affidavits.


Herein, I can only speculate about what was stated. I have no idea what actually occurred and I make no factual claim regarding the matter.


Nevertheless, what I understand long since 1992, when Juice came out, is that there’s almost certainly a B-C connection at play whenever shooting violence occurs within urban populations. One party demands something of another party. Not every member of the party will comply.


When that inflexible demand goes unmet, shooting begins. Not only was I once close to those who perpetrated similar acts as the KC event, I’ve since worked with similar individuals in a psychotherapeutic capacity. Illuminatingly, B-Real ends “Shoot ‘Em Up” by stating:


I’ve had it up to here with all the bullshit

Finger’s on the trigger and I’m about to pull it

King hard rock of the block, you know I rule it

To the punks around the corner, someone’s gonna catch a bullet

To the crew that wants to get with my program

I’m out to get mine and ain’t takin’ shit from no man

In the neighborhood, ‘cause there ain’t no brotherhood

In other words, good if you heard that we’re comin’ up

We’re out to make a quick buck, that’s what I’m thinkin’

And I’m smokin’ any punk who even thinks of finkin’


The thing about demandingness and the B-C connection is that there are flexible, more productive beliefs which one can use. Now, presumably because more adaptive attitudes weren’t used in KC, some lives may be forever altered and one life has been removed from this plain of existence. Things didn’t have to be this way.


If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.


As the world’s foremost old school hip hop REBT psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.


At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!



Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW





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