September 21, 2016
I hate the shootings. I hate the protests even more. I might be losing my mind. I might even be a racist. (But I don't think so.)
At, or near, the bottom of this post, will be an excerpt from a CNN report this morning. That's in case you want to know what set this off.
So anyway. Is it racist for me to think -- just think, not assume -- that most of the protesters hurling rocks at police cars and shouting "Black Lives Matter" are black? As I say, I don't think I'm a racist, because I really and truly believe that I have no proof, and no opinion, and don't even care, what the skin color is of the protesters. I have no objection whatsoever to nonviolent protest, but attacking police, not to mention looting and burning down businesses and all of the other craziness that has followed shootings in Ferguson, MO, or Baltimore, MD, or more recently, Tulsa, OK, and Charlotte, NC, is NOT going to solve the problem of wrongful police shootings of unarmed black people.
I repeat. It doesn't matter what anyone's skin color is. I say I'm colorblind, and I say it proudly, and I've been told I'm wrong, and maybe I'll learn why Oct. 1 and 2 when I attend a two-day workshop called "Dialogue: Racism." Cherry Steinwender, founder of The Center for the Healing of Racism, Houston, TX, and Marcy Jolosky will be the facilitators. As for why colorblindness is supposedly wrong, my hunch is that the blowback comes from the perception that I'm unaware of the scars left by slavery and Jim Crow. And I AM aware. That's not what I mean by colorblind.
Back to my "racist" thoughts. I hate the fact that I say almost the same words as some right-wing nutcase said the other day when she said that black people ought to take responsibility for their behavior. The difference is, when I say it I'm saying it with love and concern and respect. At least I think I am.
When a drugged-up, non-compliant "victim" gets shot (undeservedly) dead by a cop who was too hasty with the trigger finger, I'm all for a requirement that the cop be prosecuted. (Note: a judge or jury still gets to decide. But do prosecute the case.) I do feel that such a policy can be awfully unfair to a cop who is simply trying to make sure that he finishes his shift alive. But we who back the law enforcement side of this issue have to put SOMETHING on the table. And I've just put forth my offer. And another part of my offer is that even if a jail sentence is deemed unwarranted, a cop who shoots under questionable circumstances should be barred from continuing in that profession. That's plenty harsh enough, in my opinion, in cases where the shooter is "not guilty enough" to be convicted.
But I am not only on the law enforcement side. I'm also on the Black Lives Matter side. And we have to put something on the table as well. And that something is to take responsibility. The mother who is heartbroken over the death of her drugged-up, noncompliant son should be saying, "I should have done a better job raising him," in addition to demanding justice for the shooting.
What bothers me is that nobody (except that right-wing nutcase) is saying that the victims and their mothers should take some responsibility.
Michael Brown and Sandra Bland didn't deserve to die. (Brown was shot; Bland committed suicide in her jail cell.) But neither of them was compliant when directed by a police officer to be cooperative. That doesn't make the cops right. But it doesn't make Brown and Bland right either.
Here's an incident from my personal past.
Thirty years ago, I was working my 4 a.m. to noon shift at the Horseshoe Club in Las Vegas, NV. At about 10 a.m. we learned there was an active shooter at the California Club two blocks away, which is where I had happened to park my car when I arrived for work. After I got off work, I tried to get to my car. By that time, the shooter was supposedly inside the California Club, holed up, not yet apprehended. A city block had been roped off, and as I attempted to cross the street to get to the Club's parking lot, a police officer ordered me to keep away. I told him I needed to drive myself home, and he repeated the order.
Guess what. I complied. What else could I do?
I walked back to the Horseshoe, found a coworker who lived near me and he gave me a ride home and the following morning, I found someone else willing to drive me downtown so that I could be reunited with my vehicle.
I admit. If I had been a black person and a white cop denied me access to my car, I might have had reason to be even more peeved that I had been under the actual circumstances.
It doesn't matter. If you don't comply with a policeman's order, you're asking for trouble.
That's all I feel like writing for now. Here's what I promised. More about Charlotte, and a brief mention of Tulsa.
Violent protests erupted overnight in Charlotte, North Carolina, after a police officer fatally shot a black man while trying to serve a warrant for a different man at an apartment complex.
Police said the man killed, Keith Lamont Scott, had a gun. But his family members said he was carrying a book.
Several hundred people gathered outside the complex Tuesday night, chanting "no justice, no peace!" and carrying signs reading "Black Lives Matter."
The officer who killed Scott, Brentley Vinson, is also black, the mayor's office said Wednesday.
The Charlotte case is the latest shooting involving an officer, and racial tensions are high nationwide following a spate of others.
Last week's fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma, sparked protests after video of the killing appeared Monday. Protesters have been demanding justice and an end to police brutality for months.
In Charlotte, police went to serve a warrant Tuesday and shot and killed a man in the parking lot of The Village at College Downs apartment complex in the University City neighborhood.
Scott was not the person authorities were looking for, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said.
Scott died at Carolinas Medical Center. A gun he was holding was found at the scene, police said.
I'm not sure what CNN was talking about when it said that the "shooting of Terence Crutcher ... sparked protests" because more recent reports indicate a calm response to the Tulsa shooting. At any rate, the shooter is being charged with first-degree manslaughter, so that's a definite news update of the blog I posted two days ago.