La David Johnson knew what he signed up for

By Pat Elder, October 25, 2017.

Sgt. La David T Johnson

By all accounts, La David was a good man. His friends remember him as a “reliable dad and husband.” “My brother stood for something,” Angela Ghent, his half-sister, wrote on Facebook. “He fought for this country and that’s how he will be remembered.”

But there’s more to it.

Johnson graduated from Miami Carol City Senior High School in 2010. The school is 99% minority with 86% identified as economically disadvantaged. Just 14% of the students are proficient in Math and 23% are proficient in English. The school’s college readiness index is a 7.5 on a scale of 0 to 100. Trayvon Martin also attended Miami Carol.

Miami Gardens, where La David lived, is a city of 110,000 that is 98% African-American and Hispanic. Over half of the city’s population were stopped by police between 2008 and 2013. Miami Gardens is one of the most crime-ridden cities in America. The murder rate is three times the national average.

La David’s daughter was born in 2011, the year after he graduated from high school. He worked in the produce department at the local WalMart. In 2014, he married Myeshia Manual and enlisted in the Army as a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic. He wanted to take care of his wife and child.

Like others, La David’s enlistment was a gamble that he hoped would provide a way out of poverty without getting killed or seriously injured.


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