When Public Inconvenience and Poor Police Standards Outweigh the Importance of Black Lives: Introduction to ‘Merica 101
The newest police shooting victim, Stephon Clark, appears to be getting equal amounts support to equal parts hate. A flood of encouragement by famous basketball players and marches and protests that have created many traffic jams on the I-5 freeway, national attention and national tension is growing. This, coupled with no fewer than 63% of whites saying the NFL protests (which were against inequality and police violence) are hurting the cause of racial injustice, I’d say times have certainly changed. In 1966, 85% of whites felt marches and protests were hurting the “Negro cause,” so that’s a hell of an improvement, right?
People are, just like 50 years ago, up-in-arms over these non-violent protests. All of them. From #Handsup, to those (peaceful) Black Lives Matters protests, almost everything seems like it’s too much of a distraction to some people. It’s inconvenient. It doesn’t makes sense. “This is fucking stupid! Why don’t you work hard and get off your lazy asses so you can change your own community?” Is a non-violent march or protest more offensive and more inconvenient to you than the floats and parades on Thanksgiving Day or Columbus Day? Because, let’s be honest, these are the festivals which celebrate illegal alien terrorists who robbed, killed, and raped hundreds of thousands of Native Indians in the name of God and the “pursuit of happiness”, with liberty, and justice for all.
If you ignore that fact, and take these parades at face-value, with giant, beautifully-decorated floats of cute turkeys and pilgrims with buckle hats, and you need to go somewhere, but can’t drive—you know how frustrating it is to be stuck in front of one of these celebrations, and whether you agree with what’s going on or not, you stop, and pay attention to what’s happening. You are aware, albeit bored and frustrated.
I wish we lived in a world where African American inconvenience was the same. I think those of you angry at protesters blocking your car need to get some perspective…your frustration is nothing compared to living in a community constantly inconvenienced. Oh, also, a community disproportionally shot by cops based on population size, as there are approximately 160 million more white Americans than black. So for all you mathematicians out there decrying how we need to stop crying because more whites get shot and killed by police than blacks, you’re missing how dubious that claim is.
That said, let’s get this out the way: The cops should NOT have killed Stephon Clark. Gasp, surprise, surprise, right? Whether or not you agree with that is up to you, and maybe you need to pray about it, because even the Mayor of Sacramento, Darrell Steinberg, condemned the officers’ actions and even brought up the idea of racial motivations.
Many people will say, “He should have put his hands up,” or some variation on that old trope. But I’m one of those people who can relate to other people’s suffering, and also a person who knows it doesn’t matter what someone like me does or does not do, there’s always threat of death via trigger-happy cop. Let’s look at some common sense points, really quickly. Due to this incident the Sacramento police will:
- Receive additional bad press
- Run into further distrust from the black community
- Cost the government a fortune if, and when, the judge awards the family a payout. This one should probably be the best motivator for bringing in live suspects. My new favorite quote: “Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.”
- Be forever known for producing this man’s specific set of fatherless black children. You know you screwed up when you are synonymous with the death of one or two specific people, specifically when kids are affected
Keep in mind, the Sacramento City Council had already forced the police department to institute a system of better accountability practices back in 2016—because there was adamant push-back from the police department itself. These mandated practices were supposed to include using less lethal weapons, and releasing police dash and bodycam footage within the first 30 days of lethal shootings. Tim Davis of the Police Officers Association said, “People are rushing to make changes that may or may not be needed…we’re asking for a prohibition of activists being on the commission too,” and “it just confuses things when the city as councilmembers try to weigh in on a subject that they’re not experts in.”
Here again, we are faced with the subject of the police force not being properly trained in de-escalation and marksmanship, and the idea that maybe it’s less of a problem with them not properly aiming and more of an issue with not caring enough to aim correctly when black assailants are involved. It is now known that many white people are under the impression blacks feel less pain than whites.
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More important than saying blacks need to learn how to be arrested, is the fact the police need to learn how not to shoot. Avoidable deaths are rampant. And so are poor training methods.
In 34 states, police de-escalation techniques, such as slowing down, giving suspects space, and talking (imagine that…police departments aren’t training their officers how to talk to suspects) are not required. Georgia, for example, only requires one hour of training per year in de-escalation. Biggest reasons these departments give for not mandating de-escalation techniques? Lack of staff, lack of money, and lack of necessity, because these techniques “get in the way of proper policing.” Absolutely…because shooting unarmed men 20 times is just good police work.
This is why Stephon Clark didn’t come home. Constables are so afraid of their own shadows, such poor shots, value expense over human life so much, they don’t know how to properly incapacitate assailants non-lethally because marksmanship went out the window and was replaced with “good policing”. Or, maybe they just find it unnecessary to spring for Tasers, beanbags, or rubber bullets. Good work, officers.
But let’s not talk about poorly-trained police officers, right? It was the guy running away from the threat of oncoming bullets, though. That’s right…no innocent black men have ever been falsely accused of anything.
Someone will always point to the 13% figure (the fact that 13% of America’s population is black and 50% of all crimes are committed by this group) and say something like “Well, look at the black community. They’re more violent than cops!” Which is an ignorant argument for two reasons: 1 Cops are trained to serve and protect, not kill and intimidate—that’s a criminal’s job. When you pretty regularly shoot unarmed black men, not just the ones who “appear” to be holding something, but ones who are definitely not holding something, you send the message that our lives are nothing but the cost of a bullet…or 20.
Two, the whole 13 percent figure assumes that the entire population of the black community is contributing to those crimes, which it is not. Just the fact that I have never committed a crime goes to show that the entire population of the community does not commits crime. Furthermore, of the 50% of crimes blacks are claimed to have committed, blacks represent 47% of the overturned convictions. Murder cases where blacks were wrongly convicted were 22% more likely to happen than with whites. Among drug convictions, innocent blacks are 12 times more likely to be convicted than innocent whites.
This is part of the reason I SMDH at people so quick to stand up for blaming my community for being killed by cops, while simultaneously defending the 2nd Amendment to death. Look at this logic:
You trust our government to protect us from the scourge of terrorism, and the threat of illegal immigration. And you’re a full-blown American patriot who bleeds red, white, and blue, and has a bald eagle perched on your shoulder day and night. So naturally you also trust the government is keeping you safe at night. But what if I told you that arming yourself with all kinds of weapons in case the government is disloyal to you (because as much as you trust the government, you daily juxtapose that with your constant fear and distrust of the government), makes your true intentions suspect? What if I told you the government treats its own citizens like illegal immigrants?
This government that you both trust and distrust creates borders and housing for which these “American illegal immigrants” are supposed to be bound. That restrictions to rights for these groups of people are based on the perceived notion that they’re “all the same,” a bunch of criminals and rapists and drug dealers, and therefore, they must all stay in their own little shanty towns, shitholes, “projects” that are far out of reach of traditional American government, and basically a part of a foreign entity, where services like the police, the paramedics, even adequate schooling are off-limits.
If I told you that their every move was monitored and every action seen as hostile because, after all, they’re not really Americans—would you believe me, or would you say that practices have changed since the days when our government really hated blacks and openly segregated rather than covertly? Because, you already said you distrust the government described in the US Constitution that went into effect back in 1787, which is why you are still holding onto your weapons in the event a well-regulated militia is necessary. Surely, the government is fairer…these days. They’ve changed. Except for when it comes to taxes. And eminent domain. And, especially recently, Freedom of the Press.
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So, if this is you, you may not be a racist (because you could absolutely be a black person who thinks the black community is suffering by choice—even I was at one point), but you damn sure pick when you’re in favor of government. And it’s usually at the expense of blacks, despite all the evidence that this very same organization has historically oppressed millions. You have an empathy problem. But it’s not completely your fault. Empathy for people’s suffering isn’t everyone’s strong suit, and it’s certainly not something the media has consistently supported. Nor is it something our society has consistently promoted.
Slavers used to condemn their slaves, saying they should be happy with what they have—that they had nothing to complain about. If you are a person saying the same thing about black’s attempts to get their voices heard that slave masters said 400 years ago, I have to call your empathy into question; with your notion of what people should get over—you can’t even get over the primitive thinking shared by the 17th century racists who owned people. Please, check yourself. Please, hold police accountable. Please, reevaluate what you think fairness and equality means to Americans who have less rights than you do. Be honest. Lord knows we need a bit of honesty in this world of a different Twitter lie every day.
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