How many times have you come across someone defending the Confederate flag as a symbol of patriotism to the Southern American states? You know those people: they claim that slavery had little to do with the Civil War and that the Confederate flag has nothing to do with racism or treating the black population as if they were subhuman and cattle? Is it just me? Am I the only one who has had to engage in that foolish conversation (more than once)?
It’s a difficult thing to hear as a black person, and an even worse conversation to have with someone who holds onto those truths as if they are facts. I’d rather someone just admit they were racists and want to wave their racist red, white, and blue rag in the air because they do think that black people are subhuman and they wish the days of ethnic subjugation still existed.
Kansas City, Missouri resident Ronald Lee Kidwell was a man who fit into the latter group. He was overt about his racism and didn’t hold back in letting people know exactly what his thoughts were about anyone who wasn’t a good ol’ boy (or girl). He walked around bragging about being a member of the infamous terrorist group, the Ku Klux Klan, and he loved showing off the Nazi swastika tattoo he has on his arm. His family disowned him because of his views, but he told his daughter, Crystal Foster, that if she even spoke to a person of color, he would kill her and her children.
“He’s been a monster his whole life,” she said. “He’s the true definition of evil.”
Does he not have a belly button? Anyway…
I’ve heard people say that if we, as a collective society, ignore people like Kidwell, we’ll strip them of their power. If we don’t bring attention to racists, which is what they apparently are looking for, then they will fade into the background to the peace, love, and ethnic inclusion movement. I’m not sure where that thought process comes from, but I wish it would be cut off at the knees. Kidwell didn’t care about the spotlight, but he wasn’t going to be ignored, either. His daily life was riddled with hate-filled mantras. He spoke of abusing, attacking, and killing people of color as if it was his birthright — and he put those demonic desires into practice.
Kidwell, nicknamed “One Eye” after losing an eye as a child in a pit bull dog attack, was known to police for numerous altercations involving fighting and targeting victims because of their skin color. Collectively he’s spent 15 years in prison for those assault charges, including a five-year sentence stemming from a violent attack on a black woman in 2011. He hit her in the head with a hammer as she was sleeping and demanded that she take her pants off before he sexually assaulted her. Kidwell boasted about all of his attacks and confessed to police that he was aware of his HIV positive and didn’t use condoms or shield himself during his attacks.
“Whenever I was around him, he’d talk about white power,” Shana Turner, Kidwell’s cousin, said.
Although Kidwell was wrought with hate for people of melanated skin tones, he had black “friends.” (Side note: RACISTS CAN STILL BEFRIEND PEOPLE OF COLOR.) For some unknown reason, a woman named MeShon Cooper visited Kidwell at his residence in July 2018, according to one of Kidwell’s neighbors who only wanted to be referred to as Brown. After she left, Kidwell called her a “black bitch” and used a racial slur to describe her as he spoke to Brown. How MeShon and Kidwell knew each other isn’t stated in court records.
On July 6, MeShon was back at Kidwell’s home for what seemed to be a friendly get together. Kidwell left MeShon there when he went on a beer run, so MeShon and Brown struck up a conversation in the meantime. Brown said the 43-year-old spoke of how much she loved her brother and even told Brown she would teach her how to make soul food. After that exchange, Kidwell returned. He and MeShon went into his home. After that, MeShon went missing.
This was a woman who endured many battles in her life but overcame them all. She was born with an autoimmune disease, lupus, and received a successful kidney transplant that saved her life. Lupus is incurable and Meshon was qualified to receive disability but she loved being around people so she got a job working at a local Subway sandwich shop.
The day following her “hang out” with Kidwell, MeShon’s car was found abandoned with the keys left inside of the vehicle. Suspiciously, that same day Kidwell asked Brown to borrow a handsaw and asked if she had any spare trash bags. Police investigating MeShon’s disappearance traced her last moments to Kidwell’s home and it was there that they found her body in his garage wrapped in those trash bags. Kidwell told them that he punched MeShon multiple times before she grabbed a knife to defend herself. He was able to wrestle it away from her before he stabbed her in the neck and murdered her. The reason behind the killing? Kidwell said MeShon found out that he was HIV-positive and threatened to tell people.
“When I get mad, I make the exorcist look like a bitch,” Kidwell said, according to the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office.
MeShon leaves behind a 25-year-old son who lived with her at the time of his death. Her family members have become each other’s strength during this difficult time and can’t believe that MeShon was met with such a violent ending.
Kidwell was arrested and charged with second-degree murder as he told investigators that the slaying was not premeditated. He is being held on a $1 million bond. There has been pressure placed on the District Attorney’s office to charge Kidwell with a hate crime.
A GoFundMe campaign is in progress to help MeShon’s family during this difficult time.
This investigation is ongoing. I will update you with information as it is released.
Please share this story of MeShon Cooper to continue the conversation of her life that was tragically cut short. She is our sister and her life matters.