Friday, November 27, 2015

I'm probably going to regret this, but....WITH EDIT




I honestly DON'T mean for this to be incendiary, but I have a question:  To the best of my recollection, in all of the recent incidences of minorities, usually youth, being shot and killed by police, the victims were almost all "wanted" for one thing or another.  Do the victims, due to their life choices, bear ANY blame?

I know what many of you are probably thinking....I'm just an old white guy blessed with "white privilege".  That's no doubt true.  I was raised in an all-white neighborhood (in the 1950-60's), I went to an all-white elementary school, and wasn't around many people of color until junior high / high school.  Then I had no problem associating with any of them....they seemed just like everyone else.  

Please educate me on the ways of the modern world.

The most recent police shooting of a black youth was in Chicago, where he was shot 15 times and died.  FIFTEEN TIMES?  I can't imagine how that couldn't be considered anything but murder, but I'll leave that final determination to the justice system.  But the fact was, the cops were called out to investigate a youth who was wielding a knife and was seen trying to break into cars.  I believe it was later determined that he was under the influence of drugs, too.  If the kid had been home watching TV, or doing his homework, etc, he wouldn't have had the cops called to come investigate him.   Right?

I can remember a police shooting in Charleston, SC where a black man was stopped for something (?), when he jumped out of his car and ran.  The cop SHOT HIM IN THE BACK, which again, I can't see how could be considered anything but murder.  (TBD)  But it turned out the victim was afraid the cop would find out that he was waaaay behind on child support, and throw him in jail....again.  So why didn't he pay his child support?  Why did he run?  Didn't he think that might look suspicious? 

There was recently an incident near me in Arlington, TX where police shot and killed a black youth who jumped a barricade at a car dealership, vandalized some cars, then broke out the dealership's plate glass window and went inside.  He was under the influence of drugs, also.  The cop went in and wound up shooting the youth.  The cop was fired because he didn't follow department procedure by waiting for back-up.  Again, why was the youth out vandalizing instead of doing something benign at home or work?

I've heard it said it isn't hard to stay out of jail, and I agree.  I've managed to do it for 65 years now.  When a cop pulls next to me or behind me at a traffic light, I don't panic.  I KNOW I've not given the cop any reason to be suspicious of me.  If he wants to run a license plate check on me, he can go right ahead....I'm wanted for nothing.  Even if I was black, it seems to me "innocent is innocent".  And if harassment ensues, well, that's what cameras and complaint procedures and investigative journalists are for.

I've heard it said it's a matter of the environment these kids have grown up in, which is beyond their control.  It's cool to not study in school....it's cool to go out at night and roam the neighborhood with friends.  How can any reasonable person, thinking of the adults here, NOT see that as a recipe for disaster?  

Is there any definitive proof that "midnight basketball" gyms will keep kids off the streets and out of trouble?  If so, lets put a gym on every corner!  Need more counselors and tutors to help kids stay in school?  Hire 'em, and hold off on hiring yet another few paper-pushing administrators! 

Cops often harass minorities, I get that.  It isn't right, and it must stop!  Cops who use excessive force must be held accountable, I get that, too.  But shouldn't the victims have learned that making poor life choices....taking drugs, disobeying laws, etc....might come back to bite them in a fatal way?

"Well, they were just kids.  Kids don't think things through all the time."  Bullshit!  I did when I was 12/14/16 (and 30/40/50) years old, and so did virtually every other kid I knew.

Regardless of race, creed, color, sexual preference....whatever, law-abiding people should have nothing to fear from the police.   And the police should know that body-cams, dash-cams, cellphone cams, CCTV cams outside many businesses, etc, will record any abuse they dish out, so don't do it!

I know my position is overly simplistic, but it seems to me that unless / until we recognize there is plenty of blame to go around, we'll continue to see more of the same.  It isn't just a minority problem, or a police problem, or a youth problem, but a SOCIETAL problem.  The problem is not one-sided!  

Enough already!

S

EDIT:  For the record, for 18 years I sat on the Civil Service Commission of my mid-sized suburban Dallas city, along with two others, a black woman and a Hispanic man.  On a few occasions we heard appeals from police officers who were "indefinitely suspended" (fired) for using excessive force, although none resulted in fatalities.  Our Police Chief was a no-nonsense cop who acted firmly, fairly, and promptly, and we unanimously upheld him in his decision(s) to suspend.  There is NO PLACE for brutal, abusive cops, period!  So please don't accuse me of being an apologist for the police.  Wrong is wrong!

I would appreciate your insight, but please, be calm and respectful.



16 comments:

  1. I will no touch this with a 10 foot pole. As a white man of some privlidge, I am not qualified to comment.

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    1. Well I wish SOMEONE would comment as I'm really and truly trying hard to understand why/where/when/how we became such a lawless society. Right now we just seem to be in an accelerating downward spiral of violence and distrust on all fronts.

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  2. Huh. Yeah, I think you should think about this one a bit more. Finding a way to rationalize the victim of murder by a police has been done quite a bit, mostly by fox news and various right wing entities. Not sure you want to be in that company.

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    1. Where do you get that I'm trying to "rationalize the victim of murder by police"? As I said, in all the instances cited, the police seemed to be firmly in the wrong (regarding excessive force/brutality). And I am NOT a fan of Fox News at all. Please help me understand why there is so much lawlessness today. People should obey laws, and the cops should go after those (hopefully) few who don't. To just poo-poo my question doesn't seem to me to be constructive.

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    2. And please see my "EDIT" above.

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    3. Rest assured, I won't disagree with you again.

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    4. Please don't be thin-skinned. I honestly don't mind you disagreeing with me, but please give your reasons for disagreeing, and better still, offer a constructive alternative idea.

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  3. The issue is not so much the history or background of the individual. It is the use of deadly force and when it is justified. Deadly force is often final and should be commensurate with the crime. There is a clear distinction of using deadly force, for example, between the 1997 North Hollywood bank robbery shootout and the kid in Chicago with a knife. Rogue police officers who have a pattern of excessive force or abuse, as in the case of the officer in Chicago, should be dismissed.

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    1. I completely agree with everything you said, Bill. But I don't think cops break into law-abiding citizens homes while they are minding their own business and brutalize them. It's people out on the streets that do things (?) that attract the attention of police, or the attention of other citizens who call the police, that initiates the sad chain of events. My post did NOT mean to suggest that the police were justified in any way firing FIFTEEN shots at a kid on the ground.

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  4. Logic, Common Sense, Reasonableness and clear thinking have NO PLACE in the portrayal of this subject in today's media, social included. Ferguson and the BLM movement are poster children to how screamed LIES become 'truth' and "justice" is supposed to flow from mob rule. Lets try to remember that the cop involved had saved a child's life that morning, and was fired. That says it all. f

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  5. I'm also not qualified to comment, but I will say that having a black president might have been helpful throughout all of this if only conservatives hadn't cut the legs out from under him with personal attacks having nothing to do with policy.

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    1. Yep. I think Republicans will disagree with ANY Democrat just to be difficult. A black Democrat President just compounds their intransigence. But to be fair, Democrats will pretty much do the same to Republican initiatives. Our polarization is paralyzing. Grrrr!

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  6. Income inequality, inadequate male role models, hopelessness, neighborhoods and cities where violence and death are the norm.... you mentioned the children/young people should be held responsible for their decisions ..... yes ..... but maybe they do not see the Law Enforcers from the same perspective as you and I do .... we see them as an entity that we respect and follow (to a certain degree) ..... they often see them as "isn't that the cop that shot my friend in the back?"

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  7. I think you've got enough on your hands with that reasonable wife of yours, Scott. You two must have some fascinating "discussions".

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    1. That we do, Bruce. I think we've helped each other grow. She's sharp. 😉

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  8. I'm just an old white broad blessed with "white privilege." That's no doubt true. I was raised in an all-white neighborhood (in the 1960's), I went to an all-white elementary school, and wasn't around many people of color until high school. Then I had no problem associating with any of them....they seemed just like everyone else. <-- My description, with some very minor adjustments, so I totally understand how you feel.

    Now imagine you're a black parent, watching a kid wielding a knife, trying to break into cars, get shot. Or the black guy running away after a traffic stop in Charleston, get killed.

    And then you watch Dylann Roof get led to the police car...and the Planned Parenthood shooter in Colorado get arrested and you say to yourself...what?

    As far as the rest of the story is concerned, I agree with you. If you don't break any laws, you probably lower your chances of fatal consequences. I don't think it's so much about that...it's more about the unequal consequences.

    Just my humble opinion. I'm trying to make sense of this all, too.

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