Sunday, May 10, 2015

Black Lives MUST Matter!

  • Florida deputy stops black man on bike, shoots him 4 seconds later
  • South Carolina police officer charged with murder after shooting man during traffic stop
  • NJ cops shoot 9 times, kill black man who had his hands up


Over and over the headlines tell the story. A police officer somewhere shoots an unarmed black man (usually a man, sometimes a woman or child) and then claims it was self-defense.

The officer apparently doesn't shoot to wound, but rather shoots to kill. Not a single shot, but multiple shots. South Carolina officer Michael Thomas Slager shot Walter Scott in the back eight times and then claimed he thought he was holding his stun gun, not his revolver.

Really? You're accustomed to firing your stun gun eight times in a row? Come on.

Slager won't get off, but the vast majority of other officers will be exonerated, the killing determined to be justifiable.

Yes, of course, justifiable. Someone you think might have a gun moves his hand and you, in self-defense, blast him. And then, while he is lying motionless on the ground, dead, you scream at him to hold still and don't move.

Where did this come from? What training did you get to think it's okay to assume that every black male you encounter, whether he's 12, 20, 50, or 70, whether he has his hands up, his back turned toward you, or clearly mentally ill, to shoot him until he's dead or until you're out of bullets, whichever comes first?

Now, there are absolutely times when killing a suspect is justified, no question. But lately that "justified" thing has been bent past the breaking point.

Killing a man with his hands up is not justifiable.

Killing a man because he has a steak knife and is walking toward you, when there are two of you, each with a gun, is not justifiable.

Killing a boy because he's holding a toy gun in a playground is not justifiable.

The argument, well, they should have done what I told them. Who are you? You're not God, you're a police officer. You're supposed to uphold the law, not break it. You're supposed to use your weapon as a last resort, not a first one. You're supposed to use your thinking brain, not your racist heart.

I'm sick of this, just sick. It HAS to stop. Black lives matter, just like white ones, just like Asian ones, Latino ones, Native American ones. And if you don't believe that, I mean really believe it, get off the force before you kill another unarmed black man just trying to survive.

More About Police-on-Black Violence