We lost more police officers on Sunday. Dedicated men who chose to serve their country by protecting their community. More families don’t have a dad or brother husband or son returning home. While we mourn their loss a problem is occurring. Tons of people are blaming Black Lives Matter. They’re blaming President Obama. They’re not blaming gun laws that allowed deranged shooters to carry assault rifles. They’re not blaming divisive right-wingers or Trump rallies. They’re not blaming the lack of mental health resources for our discharged military. They’re not even blaming Louis Farrakhan who told his followers that killing whites is “justice.” They’re blaming protestors of color and their “anti-police rhetoric.” But let’s break this down.
Five years ago this weekend Kenneth Harding was caught riding the subway without a ticket and was shot and killed by police in San Francisco. He was left on the street by police for nearly half an hour where he bled to death in front of crowds and paramedics. The officer that shot him wasn’t reprimanded – in fact, he received a Gold Medal of Valor for the incident – but he was arrested two years later for child molestation.
Harding’s death preceded BLM, but it followed years of police brutality and misbehavior that quite often goes unpunished and denied. It’s been this way since Jim Crow, since NWA was rapping about police brutality, since the 90s, since forever almost.
Five years later, people of all colors are still dying by police hands when they didn’t have to. Civilians are being blamed for threatening behavior they didn’t commit. A lot of America may not have paid attention, they may not have experienced it, but in this year alone police have killed countless black, white, Hispanic, American Indian, and other civilians when they didn’t have to. They’ve paralyzed foreigners visiting their children in the US, lied about being attacked by a mentally ill man when there was video evidence suggesting otherwise, shot into cars without knowing who was in it, and failed to administer first aid to people they’ve shot although that’s part of their job.
Some of America is tired of this happening. We’re more tired of the people in our system failing to reprimand these actions and constantly finding excuses for their behavior by decimating the character of their victims. Officers often judge people of color by what their criminal counterparts, or the media, tell us they are: criminals, thugs, Worthless. But police urge us not to judge all of them by a few questionable shootings. The public is not allowed to say things that make it appear the cops can be a threat, even though people of color (POC) have been portrayed as a threat for years. If an unstable person carries out a heinous attack against police, they’re not crazy and tired of the system, they’re BLM pawns from a terrorist hate group. But if we’re killed in the street we can’t cite rhetoric that paints us as thugs and worthless, instead we get blamed for having a record or not following orders. See the double standard?
In America, we often lean on twisted biased truth that fits our agendas. This has to cease. We have to stop acting like anyone deserves to die. We have to stop thinking police stops are something we have to “survive” like a bear attack, or a strong hurricane. Police officers do way more good than these bad events we hear about. They save lives everyday. And sometimes they mess up. Quit acting like they never mess up. Every profession has to be accountable for its actions – good and bad. No one is perfect
These police killings have to stop as well. There are a ton of unstable people getting their hands on guns they shouldn’t have. Gun control lacks in this nation and that’s why we’re so violent. These disturbed people are shooting cops because we have an unaccountable law enforcement system in America that they’re tired of, and no one provided them with the proper psychological care that our military needs. In the first half of this year police deaths rose, and 71% of officers killed in the line of duty were gunned down by a Caucasian suspect. So police are not losing their lives suddenly because of minority protesters. These shootings did not happen because a few angry people shouted “f the police.” They didn’t happen because someone dared to stand on a protest line and say “Black Lives Matter.” They didn’t happen because Obama said race relations have to get better and people of color (black, Latinos and American Indians) are killed by police at a higher rate. They happened because the shooters are mentally ill and they reached their breaking point. No one wants to risk their life for their country and find out they’re a target in their own land. Interesting, because that’s just the argument our police are making, but perhaps that’s how these former soldiers and gunmen felt too. There’s a lot of reasons people commit mass shootings like this and trust me: Black Lives Matter isn’t one of them. “Anti-police chants” aren’t one of them, because that’s been going on for years. Yet tons of people can’t see the good that protesters are trying to do. They can’t separate police from police brutality. They want to say “all lives matter” but if they really believed that, they’d be on the protest line too. They would argue for Dylan Noble, Daniel Shaver, and Andrew Henson too. But I don’t see “all lives matter” fighting for those men.
I tweeted this over the weekend as the media and others were attacking BLM:
Innocent enough right? It got its share of likes and re-tweets. Most people who have been speaking out against police brutality also denounced and shared condolences for the Dallas and Baton Rouge police shootings. It’s very evident that slain officers is not what BLM and its supporters want. However, these are the tweets that I found in my mentions from little Internet trolls:
It’s very telling from this example that people can’t look at these issues objectively and see how all of these problems are connected. They only compound the issue with hurtful rhetoric. America created this environment. America created Micah Johnson and Gavin Long; not a few protesters trying to make our nation safer and more just. BLM didn’t rise up for the sake of being hateful like real terrorist groups do, it formed in response to a problem that no one wants to accept as America’s ugly scar. Without police brutality, there is no Black Lives Matter. You can’t corner a bear, take one of its cubs in an effort to “save” it, and then blame the bear for attacking you without acknowledging your part in the matter. If we don’t recognize the role that intersectionality plays in all of these events, we’ll be stuck choosing sides and losing our empathy. The blame game will only continue. Let’s not stand over each other’s lifeless bodies pointing fingers. That’s not the America we, or the world, needs.