By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

It was a freezing cold morning in the shopping and tourist district of Downtown Chicago. When he heard the blood curdling screams screams of a woman in severe panic.

The ear-hurting scream derived from a dimly lit alleyway, that despite the ankle high snow, the strong stench of urine that was deposited by homeless vagrants and drunk nightclub patrons could easily be noticed.

“I ran as fast as I could to see if I could maybe scare off her attacker, but it was too late officer”.

Officer smith with a sudden look of sadness and grief on his old and haggard face, looked in the eyes of the good samaritan that he now knew as the veteran U.S. Marine sniper, Eddie Diaz. The officer handed Diaz back his military identification, and said:

“Thank you for your service to this great country, Marine. I know you would of saved that women’s life at the risk of your own”.

As he walked away to speak with other police officers at the crime scene, he looked back at Diaz, and said:

“Keep your head up, Marine! You have nothing to be ashamed of”.

As Diaz stood in the freezing cold alley, with police and the forensics team working diligently on the gruesome and very bloody and frozen crime scene that looked like something out of the famed Michael Meyers film franchise. Diaz knew there was nothing he could do to save the woman he heard use her last breath to scream in agony before she died, he realized this after he overheard one of the medical workers say she was stabbed sixty-nine times. 69 times Diaz thought, a very sick joke, by a very dangerous man.

Officer Smith, before he left told Diaz, he believed it was probably an attempted robbery and rape gone wrong. Officer Smith, later said:

“We will not know for sure until the forensics team come back with their report, but many of the wounds on her hand and arms look like defensive wounds. Which means she fought like a soldier until the tragic end”.

Diaz knew that area was controlled by the vicious street gang known as the “Red Rebels”. They were a tough street gang that mainly consisted of poor and disenfranchised Black, Hispanic, and Asian neighborhood kids. Most of their criminal acts were in low level drug dealings, robberies, pimping and only on extremely rare occasions murder. If someone was killed it usually only happened during turf wars or a robbery gone wrong.

Diaz, Knew them well, before he was a decorated Marine sniper with over three dozen kills to go along with his glorious military awards, like the bronze star and the silver star and several others, he was a poor Afro-Cuban kid in that neighborhood. When Diaz was a student in a local neighborhood crime-ridden high school, he was part of a rival gang called the “Blue Blood Outsiders”. They engaged in many battles with the Red Rebels, one battle specifically left Diaz in the hospital with several stab wounds, and left his older cousin, Miguel Diaz in a morgue.

Diaz originally swore revenge for the death of his cousin, but instead of killing his cousin’s murderers and going to jail for it, or potentially getting killed himself , he allowed himself to be talked into joining the military, by his mother. She made him promise that he would get away from the ghetto Chicago streets, so that he would not die for some “ghetto street bullshit “, like so many of his friends, and family members. Sure, he could easily die in the military, but at least there is some honor in dying for your country, as far as she was concerned. Not that she wanted him to die, of course .

Now back in his old stomping grounds of his savage, youthful trouble making days, he realized what he had to do and that’s what he always did in his life when bad things happened. Diaz, did not know exactly which one of the Red Rebels killed the woman, but he knew who the leader of the Red Rebels was. A week later while Diaz was leaving a coffee shop before heading to the O’Hare International Airport to go back to his military base, he ran into officer, Smith, who said:

“Diaz, good to see you, I don’t know if you heard, but that gang that we suspect were involved in the killing of that woman in the alley, 20 of their members were killed by sniper fire last week. Just 24 hours after she was murdered, Cosmic Karma, I guess”.

Diaz, smiled and looked at officer, Smith and said:

“Well, back to the warzone to kill more bad guys”.

With s big grin on his face, officers, Smith replied:

“Continue to fight thr good fight, both foreign and domestic “.

The Cause (Short-Story)

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

Kwame Kodjoe, 34 , writer and activist. Kelsea Swanton, 28, psychologist and activist .


Seated across from my friend, confidant, and fellow activist. We are waiting for our meals to be given to us by the waitress, before the protest. With a big smile on my face, I jokingly tell Kelsea:

“You better eat up, you don’t want to go to jail on an empty stomach.”

Usually, she would laugh when I made a joke like that, she loves how I could bring light such a dark situation. But, she didn’t laugh this time, I knew she was still upset, she cried all day when the verdict was announced for the cops who shot the unarmed mentally-challenged boy 22 times. I noticed 15 minutes after the waitress delivered our food, that Kelsea still has not eaten a single thing on her plate. I reached across the large table that was wedged between us in the diner, grabbed her hand, looked deep into her beautiful green-emerald colored eyes, and tell her:

“We are not going to stop fighting, not until we get justice.”


“I can’t believe that they actually murdered a fucking child in plain sight, and that racist all-white jury said not guilty; I bet they wouldn’t of said that if five black cops murdered a white boy who was mentally challenged .”

I was so emotionally down after the trial, that my close friend, Kwame encouraged me to go to a protest with him. That was a couple of days ago. Now we are sitting across from each other, in this classic 1950’s style cafe in downtown, Seattle. A few blocks from where the protest is to take place. It is in front of the federal court, in the city hall area, where the verdict was announced. Kwame “cracks” a joke, I usually laugh at most of his jokes, but right before a protest, for the brutal and violent murder of a child is a little too inappropriate for me at this moment. Kwame is a wonderful friend, his big brown almond shaped eyes look deeply into my green eyes, he grabs my right hand from across the cafe’s large vintage looking brown table, that looks like an exact replica from the tv show “Happy Days”, and whispers to me:

“We are not going to stop fighting, not until we get justice.”

I am not sure I believe him, even though I so much want to…

The story is fiction, but it was inspired by a real murder trial in San Francisco. I went to the protest and where friends and family gathered to demand justice for Alex Nieto. The story it is based on is in the link below:


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