The Inevitability of a Violent Response
(What did they think would happen)
Two days after the death of Alton Sterling, one day after the death of Philando Castile. Five Dallas, TX law enforcement personnel were killed by a sniper at a protest of the first two killings. While this particular response was not necessarily predictable, a sniper on a roof, alleged to have military style weaponry. That a response would ultimately come was foreseeable.
We will learn more about this shooter’s motivations. He said “he was upset about the recent police shootings” and “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.” I do not condone his reprehensible actions. Violence is not the answer and there will be no protests regarding his death in a standoff with police. Black people mourn the deaths of these officers in the same way they mourn the deaths of black men and women at the hands of police that did not deserve to die. Nobody wants these type of events to occur. This type of violent response will likely increase the racial divide in America rather than reduce it. I hate that it happened, but I’m not surprised.
The issue of black and other deaths in police confrontations will not go away unless changes are made. In Baton Rouge when Alton Sterling was killed. Had the investigation not been taken over by the Federal government; the officers would have had 30 days before even having to give a statement to investigators. While not the norm, in almost every major city, police unions have agreements allowing them every opportunity to escape prosecution and conviction when they shoot and kill when unwarranted. Police officers are often only subject to an internal review before being “cleared”. Police unions have generally fought against any type of civilian oversight, so that they can continue to police their own.
There are forces aligned to quell any form of citizen protests. They specifically call out Black Lives Matter and attempt to treat them as some type of terrorist organization. One former congressman today declared war on both President Obama and Black Lives Matter. Activist Jasmine Richards was recently convicted in California for “Felony Lynching” while protesting. That proves in an ironic twist on Malcolm’s words that they’ll use “Any means necessary” to shut them down. Last December in Minnesota, Black Lives Matter activists were sued and issued temporary restraining orders to prevent them from protesting at the Mall of America. Governor Mark Dayton was praised yesterday when he acknowledged Philando Castile would not be dead if he were white. It wasn’t long ago however when he called the Black Lives Matter group, “Domestic terrorists” and “inappropriate.”
There are people who will rightly say that violence is not the appropriate action and that a non-violent response is the only way to proceed. Black Lives Matter is the non-violent response and the powers that be did and still do all in their power to keep their voices from being heard. So when politicians and police unions barely even acknowledge the discrepancies in policing in America. When the go to response is to blame the victim. When every request to make the types of changes that might improve things is ignored, denied or belittled. What did they think would happen?
Did they think every black person in America would keep turning the other cheek? Did they think every black person in America would be quick to forgive as the families in South Carolina when they forgave Dylan Roof who killed nine people in a church after they prayed with him? After every announcement that no charges will be filed against police officers who kill unarmed men or armed men who relied on a 2nd Amendment right that was never intended for them, do they think we’ll forget? What do they think will be the culmination of continued racial profiling, stop and frisk, no justice, no justice, never any justice.
America has a chance now, as it always has, to reform policing. Police can take the opportunity to work with their communities, accept civilian oversight, improve training and remove bad apples. They can actually wear and turn on the body camera’s many have been issued. They can and must be accountable for their actions when they break the law, or there is no law. Communities can take back some of the power they’ve ceded to police unions and be able to investigate police officers in the same manner as they would you and I. There might be a valid reason to give an officer some time to recover from an incident and file a timely report. I can think of no reasonable excuse to allow them 30 days. It’s time for a change.