Sad news out of Chicago surfaced over the weekend when it was learned that 20-year-old Jose Mendoza (pictured above) was murdered outside of the barbershop he worked during a robbery gone wrong. Apparently, Mendoza planned to meet a seller of Air Yeezy's with a purchasing price set at $1,800. Instead, he was met by three assailants who attempted to steal his money and, in the process, shot Mendoza when he resisted. According to The Chicago Tribune, the three suspects, known to be Eddie Garcia, Salvador Alvarado and Jonathan Ivory, are now in custody.
While it seems those who committed this heinous act will see their day in court and be brought to justice, this is merely another episode in the epidemic that is sneaker violence. Whether it's fights breaking out in line on Jordan release day or someone murdered in cold blood during an aftermarket deal, it's hard to say whether these acts are indicative of our lack of compassion for one another or the result of sneaker brands' (like Nike) perhaps too successful hype and scarcity tactics. After all, the only reason anyone would kill another human being or inflict any harm upon them at all for a pair of sneakers is when the value of said sneaker outweighs the value of not being a terrible piece of shit.
Is the solution to this problem the online raffles brands have been utilizing recently? While on the surface it seems they may help reduce on site, release day violence, it does little to nothing for those buying and selling "valuable" sneakers after the fact. Rather, the only logical solution would be for brands to simply release more of the sneakers people want. At the same time, as consumers, would we even want the latest J's if we knew everyone could also get a pair? Are we that fucked up?
Certainly, it's impossible to assume that an end to all violence, especially in "Chiraq", is feasible in the immediate future, but why can't brands produce sneakers for everyone who happens to covet a pair? Instead of manufacturing a finite amount of kicks, why not just see how many people actually buy them and release pairs on a made-to-order basis? This would not only eliminate the irrational craze and thirst that surrounds certain releases, but severely decrease the power of the secondary market. Whatever the solution may be, something obviously needs to be done so that what happened to Jose Mendoza doesn't happen to anyone else ever again.