Man who inspired 'Wire' character weighs in on Freddie Gray, protests

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Linwood “Rudy” Williams is a Baltimore native who is currently serving life plus 130 years in prison after being convicted on 8 counts of a 36-count indictment involving a Baltimore-centered international drug ring.

Williams was part of the inspiration for the character “Marlo” on the HBO series The Wire.

He has been in prison for more than 20 years. He keeps up with current events and has been especially  interested in the events surrounding the death of Freddie Gray. sent Williams questions via email, and his lively responses range from condensed history lessons to a passionate speech that seems equal parts “Free me” and “Elect me.”

Do you think the looting, burning and destruction of property in Baltimore was justified, given the unresolved instances of police brutality and other issues that plague the black community?
Of course. My people are oppressed under a far worse tyranny than what America’s Founding Fathers faced when they took up arms and burned down the British ships during The Boston Tea Party. So why do we praise the Founding Fathers but condemn black people for rebelling against tyranny and oppression?

How do you think the frustrated and angry people in Baltimore should express that frustration and anger?
Set positive goals, organize, march, rally, protest and don’t let up the pressure on the bad cops and gangsters in the government until we run them out of office and the rest of them acknowledge that they are our appointed and elected servants and not our masters. We didn’t put them in office so that they can spit on us and trample us under their boots like the British Red Coats did our forebears. Also, that message and spirit should be conveyed all the way up the ladder to our new kings and masters in Washington.

Who do you think is in the best position to create change and have a positive impact on the situation in Baltimore right now?
The community residents, the young people on the streets and in college — and, me, of course. If they free me, I will lead my people and show them how to ultimately get things done without outside help or government assistance. If bees can govern and feed themselves with no help from others, we certainly can. After all, it was we who invented civilization in the first place. I feel the blood of all our great leaders and thinkers running through my veins and thus no amount of pressure, adversity or want can defeat, discourage or deter me. I’m qualified to lead and speak for my people and I will never neglect or sell them short like the opportunist politicians are doing, and they know it. “FREE RUDY!”

How can we prevent something like this from happening again?
By policing our own communities. We don’t need to ask for anyone’s permission to police ourselves — nor to build up our neighborhoods to be totally self-sufficient, self-productive, self-governing and economically and politically independent. A trillion dollars pass through our hands every year. So, we just need to love and support each other a lot more than we have and in the way we are supposed to, and then we’ll be able to accomplish anything we make up our minds to do.

I don’t believe in wasting time, talents or resources. I’ve written 8 novels, 3 screenplays, a diary, letters and a ton of magazine articles for various publications, but with the love, aid and assistance from a lot of skilled and talented people who society don’t recognize or tap. The same is true of the black communities: We have innate skills, talents and immense resources and natural creativity that even we don’t recognize and use. And yet we could be flourishing on a trillion dollar level.

I see the big picture. I could turn our fortunes around and our adversities into advantages by using my independence and achievements as an example to my people that we can excel and prosper under any circumstances if we make up our minds to think for ourselves and stop others from putting their values into us, and stick together like Chinese Americans, Koreans, Arabs, whites and Jews, etc. True pride and dignity is worth more than all the Maybachs and Rolex watches in the world. I’ve rather be poor and my own master than to be rich and a slave. That’s the pride, spirit and self-respect that we must get back to. Our true value is not in what we own but in who we are and what we stand for.

If you could tell the young people of Baltimore something about what’s going on, what would you tell them?

They know what’s going on because it’s been going for 500 years! To fight for a great cause is the greatest high in the world. So, what I would tell them is to keep up the fight against injustice, tyranny and oppression … and never let anything or anyone stamp out your fire to fight for freedom, justice and equality. Thank you.

Follow Demetria Irwin on Twitter at @Love_Is_Dope and connect with her on Facebook.