“The American Negro has the great advantage of having never believed the collection of myths to which white Americans cling: that their ancestors were all freedom-loving heroes, that they were born in the greatest country the world has ever seen, or that Americans are invincible in battle and wise in peace, that Americans have always dealt honorably with Mexicans and Indians and all other neighbors or inferiors, that American men are the world’s most direct and virile, that American women are pure. Negroes know far more about white Americans than that; it can almost be said, in fact, that they know about white Americans what parents—or, anyway, mothers—know about their children, and that they very often regard white Americans that way. And perhaps this attitude, held in spite of what they know and have endured, helps to explain why Negroes, on the whole, and until lately, have allowed themselves to feel so little hatred. The tendency has really been, insofar as this was possible, to dismiss white people as the slightly mad victims of their own brainwashing.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
In the wake of the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson and the return of violent unrest in Ferguson, I’ve read and heard a lot about how Blacks and Whites need to stay calm and have a rational discussion.
Okay. Let’s calmly talk rationally about the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a Cleveland police officer last Friday, why don’t we?
CLEVELAND, Ohio – A Cleveland police officer fatally shot Tamir Rice immediately after leaving his moving patrol car while his partner stayed at the wheel, surveillance video shows.
The video showed Wednesday by police captures the Saturday afternoon shooting at a West Side recreation center in which 12-year-old Rice was shot.
The video contains no audio.
A rookie officer pulled the trigger, said Jeffrey Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association.
Police were sent to the Cudell Recreation Center at Detroit Avenue and West Boulevard about 3:30 p.m. when someone called 9-1-1 to report a “guy with a gun pointing it at people.”
The caller told dispatchers twice that the gun was “probably fake,” but that detail was not relayed to the responding officers, Follmer said.
Over the past few days I’ve read so much amateur analysis, part-time forensic experts and ex-cop war stories and “woulda/shoulda/coulda” scenarios made up of skewing some facts and misinterpreting and excluding others of what happened and all the while with fawning deference for Support Your Local Police Officer no matter what because gee they do a tough damn job and they are they only thing that stands between the nice people and the jungle predators.
Frankly, it makes me want to vomit.
I see no point in holding a rational discussion with anyone who can rationalize the actions of a murderer. A rational discussion serves no purpose when the intent to shame and embarrass one member of a racial minority into apologizing for the actions of a few while assuaging the fears of the majority that “we’re all not like that.”
I have no interest in having a rational discussion with anyone more upset by broken windows and the looting of cheap stores and shoddy merchandise and are untroubled by a young man losing first his life and then his humanity. They shrug it off with a blase “Well, I wasn’t there but he must have done something to deserve it.”
Something like boosting some smokes, jaywalking and maybe smarting off to a cop? Yeah, that’s some serious flaunting of the law there. Better pump 12 in him since he’s such a big target.
“A system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect.” – W.E.B. Du Bois
A rational discussion is a pointless waste of time when the same “rational discussions” have followed after the cops killed Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, Patrick Dorismond, Darrien Hunt, Joseph Ferrell,
Now add Tamir Rice to the roll call of the dead. What happened to him wasn’t a shooting. It was an execution. The trail of Michael Brown’s blood has flowed all the way from Ferguson, Missouri to Cleveland Ohio.
Some say the problem is the BB gun Rice was carrying looked too realistic. Okay, I see how that come lead to complications but how about training rookie cops better so they don’t zoom up to a 12-year-old suspect and fucking immediately blow him out of his shoes? Would that work? Shoot first, shoot last and keep shooting and asking no questions later is a prime example of piss-poor policing. You could paint the toy guns in all the colors of the rainbow and it still wouldn’t stop some of these trigger-happy cretins.
This is a problem situation which has to be resolved by addressing the issue of the realism of the toy and the overkill response of the cops. You have to start demilitarizing the warrior cop mindset when they zip around in their cars, never know anything about the people in the neighborhoods they patrol and start trying to change the adversarial relationship between cops and communities of color. Until both sides meet each other halfway nothing will ever change.
Changing the “I am a hammer and everything is a nail” philosophy of the warrior cop would help. Community policing isn’t a new idea and has had both its unqualified successes and dismal failures, but an adversarial relationship between cops and the communities they patrol is poisonous. Nothing positive can come from cops calling civilians as “fucking animals” while the civvies serenade the cops with a chorus of “Fuck the Police.”
The cops have the bullets and the weaponry to fight the community, but the community has bullets and weaponry too. Neither side can win so where does that get us to but M.A.D. (mutually assured destruction)?
White critics think violence and destruction are indefensible. They need to ask what brings people to react this way. —Tweet by Steve Chapman
Darren Wilson resigned from the Ferguson police department and possibly with a million dollars raised from supporters for a trial he was never going to face. Like George Zimmerman before him, Wilson has become the recipient of charity from supporters who hate the idea just because you shoot and kill and unarmed teenager that’s no reason you should be punished for it.
A million dollars. Imagine that. Who would have thought one dead Black kid was worth that kind of money? For Darren and George, despite being the ones with the guns its okay to take Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin’s lives a long as they claim were frightened for theirs. Not only will you go free, you’ll get paid too!
Get rich or kill trying.
While rioting is terrible a riot is not the most terrible thing. People never really understand something until it happens to them and sometimes not even then.
Peace will never be present where justice is absent.