Archive for July, 2016

I’m not chastising anybody. I’m not preaching. I’m not acting like I’m on a higher plane or that I’m more evolved than the next man. That said, last week’s assassination of five Dallas cops, and the attempted assassination of six others was wrong. It was the kind of evil deed that has no place in a civilized society. I sympathize with the losses of the families, loved ones and co-workers involved. Policing is dangerous business, but as we have seen again, it’s dirty business too.

You saw it just like I did. The video footage captured it all one more time for the world to see. Alton Stringer was wrestled to the ground and held under control by two Baton Rouge cops. They had him pinned. He was caught. All that was left was to cuff him. Instead he was shot in the chest repeatedly. Bystanders caught the murder on video. The clip went viral. As of this writing, no arrests have been made.

We had barely enough time to process the execution of Alton Stringer when a video posted to Facebook Live captured another assassination. During a routine traffic stop in an outlying suburb of St. Paul, a cop stuck his weapon in the open front window of the passenger side of a car and murdered Philando Castille, an admired public school cafeteria worker. Philando’s girlfriend was in the driver’s seat and her four year old daughter sat in the back. The girlfriend posted the shocking episode to her Facebook page.

The victims were Black. You knew that, right? Because the country has been plunged into another debate about the merits of the Black Lives Matter movement instead of taking a serious look at the lethal use of force by agents of the state. Passive aggressive, non empathetic and racist commenters would remind us that All Lives Matter. My take? I guess all lives would matter if those who keep killing us would receive due process and punishment – which is certainly better than the victims of this continued bloodshed have received.

And then there are those who would say that if you don’t resist you won’t be killed. Philando Castille was reaching for his license and registration when he informed his assailant that he was carrying a weapon that he had a license for. The cop shot him four times at point blank range. A video that surfaced last year showed a North Charleston, South Carolina cop shooting Walter Scott in the back while he was running away. Scott had been stopped for a busted taillight and ran because he feared prosecution over missed child support payments. Alton Stringer was selling CDs.

None of these instances carry the death penalty. Unless the real crime is blackness. Unforgivable, unbreakable, beautiful blackness. The crime that doesn’t require arrest, arraignment, prosecution, judgement or jurors. The crime that was once prosecuted by slavery and at other times by lynching. The crime that allows cops to end the lives of the perpetrators with full knowledge that they will get away with it.

I mourn the Dallas police who were killed, but I fear for my own life. I fear for the lives of cousins, uncles, friends, schoolmates and strangers alike. We are all at risk. Why? Because on the wrong street at the wrong time, no cop can tell how well traveled I am, how well connected I am, how well read I am, how much of a contribution I’ve made or how positive my intentions are. To that cop I may just be any other nigger or a thug. Not human, not a citizen – nothing.

With one fatal decision a cop can erase my past, remove my future and give my loved ones cause to doubt the system. The system that we have invested in as students, laborers, educators, clergymen, business people, writers, advocates and activists. The system that we have fought so dearly to be a part of so that we may be afforded the full rights of American citizenship and equal protection under the law. Yes, a cop can end it all and get away with it. Because the crime of being a nigger on a sunny day is greater than taking the life of one. How much more of this shit do we have to take? I am tired of these motherfuckers killing us, getting away with and people acting like it’s all good. – insideplaya

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