It's Not Political, It's Just Life

Political discourse without the spin.

Police Shootings: That’s Enough!

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post here. I could go into a long explanation as to why; however, I’d rather discuss what prompted me to show up today. I should’ve started writing that weekend last month when the police in my city shot about 3 people, one of them 1/2 block from my house. Every few days this summer, the police have shot another young African-American man. Sometimes, it’s just too much. This has been going on for many years, it’s not new.

What Year is It? 1965 and 2014 - From Facebook, R. DeVaughn

What Year is It? 1965 and 2014 – From Facebook, R. DeVaughn

This week as of Fri. 08/15/14, has been wrought w/turmoil over the policeman’s murder of a young man in Ferguson, MO named Michael Brown, 18.  At first, people in his St. Louis suburb were protesting all over the place, and the small-town police department all of a sudden had tanks, smoke bombs, tear gas, rubber bullets and everything else you use in war, to fight the protesters. They, on the other hand, were quoting Michael, saying “HANDS UP, DON’T SHOOT.”  That didn’t matter.

For 3 days, the cops reigned havoc over the peaceful protesters. It came to a head on Wednesday night, when they arrested reporters from Al Jazeera. Then, they turned around and ran reporters from the Washington Post out of a McDonald’s where they were regrouping, and arrested them when they got outside, smashing cameras and in general, acting like they were Chicago policemen. [That’s my joke, trust me, it’s true!] On that same night, they even arrested an alderman from St. Louis, for getting out of his car ‘too slow.’ It really was 1965 again. It’s gone so far that there’s even a Wikipedia entry on The Shooting of Michael Brown.

Ferguson Police Dismantle Al-Jazeera Camera Equipment After Arresting Them - 08/13/2014, Slate

Ferguson Police Dismantle Al-Jazeera Camera Equipment After Arresting Them – 08/13/2014, Slate

On Thursday morning, someone in authority had an epiphany, and decided to REMOVE the entire local constabulary from the job of handling the protesters, and instead, assigned a brother, Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald Johnson who grew up in or near Ferguson, to manage the situation. So, what happened? On the news this morning, video of Thursday night’s protests was like NIGHT & DAY from earlier this week, especially 24 hours before. Instead of tanks rolling down the small streets of Ferguson, there were cars, and people, and even state cops marching down the street WITH the people, not beating or throwing tear gas at them.

How did this happen, the turnaround? How could one rational brother turn this wretched situation into a civilized protest, which it would’ve been if the people weren’t attacked by the local cops? EASY. You can define it in one word – RESPECT. This brother, because he came from them, and even said that their children play with his, and he lives where they live, could only approach it one way. He had to come from a place of respect, but it IS him; Mike Brown was his son, nephew, little cousin, etc.

Another thing that happened on Thursday evening is that across the country, there was a moment of silence by thousands of people in honor of Mike Brown. Here, they were at Daley Plaza, thousands strong. There’s a short clip on YouTube where a young man speaks eloquently about the police situation here.

In the meantime today, the Ferguson police department finally released the name of the officer who shot Mike Brown, which was one of the reasons for the protests. In the same breath, they also released film of what Mike Brown was allegedly doing immediately before getting shot. The problem is, the cop that shot him didn’t know he was a robbery suspect. So then why did he shoot him? Right. He can’t even use that as an excuse for his actions.

National Moment of Silence Chicago: 08/14/2014. From Facebook.

National Moment of Silence Chicago: 08/14/2014. From Facebook.

We can only wait and see how this plays out over the next few months. In the meantime, there are policemen across the country who are still at work after shooting a young Black man, for whatever reason. There are so many quotes and references one can use to explain who, what, where, when and why the cops continue to do this and get away with it. Like with Rodney King’s case, or Fred Hampton & Mark Clark back in ’69. When you’ve seen this for so long… I can only imagine the angst of our ancestors, when they were hung and lynched across the South, and murdered in the North, in lieu of their 40 acres and a mule.

HOW can we walk around with pants drooping and nothing on our minds beyond the last celebrity gossip, when genocide is being committed ON YOU? I don’t understand it. From Jim Crow, to the Roarin’ 20s that didn’t roar for us; to the Depression of the 30s in which we’re still living, to proving ourselves [again] in WWII; to legislated housing discrimination in the 50s & 60s; to Civil Rights sellouts just as bad as the Net Neutrality sellout [to be discussed on the Deregulation blog soon]; to a total meltdown of our minds, as if we’re being drugged with foolishness. WAKE UP, and FIGHT BACK. If you don’t like it, CREATE YOUR OWN. You can’t keep complaining about what someone is allegedly doing to you; what are you doing to yourselves? And, this is not a case of blaming the victim for being attacked. It’s more like if you know the perpetrator is coming, will you just sit there and continue to accept his abuse? Or will you devise a preemptive strike instead? That’s the real question.


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©2017 – Julia S. Butler, “It’s Not Political, It’s Just Life.” Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julia S. Butler, “It’s Not Political, It’s Just Life” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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