Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Killing in the Name of...

I have a lot of sorrow about a handful of recent deaths. There was this one young man,  really, Michael Brown, and he was shot about 10 times for running from authorities that probably looked to him like they were apt to kill him because, damn--they did. Or maybe he didn't even run. Who knows what happened. He was shot ten times or so by police who didn't need to shoot him once.

I want to speak also about John Crawford, who was shot and killed because someone called 911 to report a guy with a gun in an open-carry state. It was a  BB gun he was buying in that very store.  And yet there are assholes who feel totally comfy toting their actual weapons publically in department stores and malls.  Which one is free to do--if white.

And I want to talk about Eric Garner, but you know what? I can't. Look, there is a problem when black men are clearly being killed because they exist. This is the unifying thing. We have a justice problem if black bodies are selected for execution regardless of guilt. We have a problem in this country if people are dying to circumvent their access to the law. We have a problem when people speaking up for their own are stigmatized and accused of wishing murder on the police when all they want is justice for their dead.

I have seen this race problem, and I don't know how it is fixed, but I'd like to think that not shooting people might be a thing LE work at. I want to believe that treating racial consciousness like it is a thing could become an important part of criminal justice. And I want to know that we won't treat officers who violate the public trust easily because they are so entrusted--if they don't measure up.

I think these men and boys, their families, their communities, deserve justice for the lives that were robbed from them. But more than that--we have to work as a culture towards doing better towards human beings confronted by the law. Because they are human, and because the law should be just. And these killings seem anything but.

1 comment:

Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vixen, you certainly assembled a collection of outrages.

I was a juror on a high profile murder case once. What I learned was that very few people outside of the jury room have as thorough an understanding of the situation as the jurors. In my case, it was 3 days of debate and sifting of evidence. a couple of jurors had to go into the bathroom to be sick and to cry. I was interviewed by the paper after the jury had finished deliberating.

It taught me that most of the time you can count on the jury to do everything possible to understand where the culpability lies. Today in our media culture crime has become a fabric of pop culture entertainment just as have wars and important matters of state. What do they call it -- infotainment? At any rate, it distorts all reporting.

Speaking more broadly, as you know I was very involved in the civil rights movement and have black friends to this day (mostly conservative black church members). One of the problems that we never anticipated in the civil rights struggle was that after a new level of equality had been secured, a significant portion of the population would turn to crime. We were very idealistic, and if we had it to do over again we would use a different strategy.

The Bloods, the Crips, the Gangster Disciples, and too many others to name have really tainted a lot of our effort and good work.

You cannot really blame average Americans today for being concerned when so many minority youth have secured a reputation for extreme violence. Even in the president's old neighborhood, black kids are killing other black kids in territorial fights over the drug trade.

The rise of drug-fueled economies in the inner city enforced by murder and other violence has really turned the ship that we civil rights workers made such a diligent effort to change.

And, of course, in the same period somebody randomly killed a rabbi on his way to shul, and people are still playing the knockout game.

We'll just have to see what the jury determines.