Shame, disgrace, inhumanity, injustice – murder!
December 9, 2014
It all started here in this great free country of ours in the early 1600s with the slave trade. We will never know how many lost their lives during the despicable transport of slaves here in the holds of ships. We will never know how many lost their lives at the hands of plantation owners and other slave holders. We will never know how many lost their lives simply due to racial prejudice, without committing a crime, without injuring anyone, just because of their color, their perceived non-humanness.
It is difficult for most to even imagine how such a practice, such inhumane conditions could exist even then, let alone today.
It was universally ignored for century after century – decade after decade – the killings unreported and unprosecuted. Disappearances never solved – murderers uncharged, untried, unpunished – even unmentioned.
Trayvon Martin brought it to light a couple of years ago. He was murdered in cold blood by this cowardly creep who walked after being found not guilty of murder. If it had been the other around, Martin wouldn’t have seen daylight for the rest of his life. As it turned out he never saw daylight again at the hands of a cold-blooded murderer.
Just some examples of improper policing and injustice that have been publicized recently include: Michael Brown, the unarmed jaywalker in Ferguson, Missouri, shot many times by the frightened police officer, an officer trained to deal with such situations – by calling for support or using other methods of subduing a suspect; Eric Garner, the unarmed guy selling loose cigarettes on the sidewalk in Staten Island, confronted by police officers, disgusted with their continual harassment, subdued by numerous officers, died from a heart attack after pleading for relief from an illegal chokehold – by police officers who were trained for such encounters and had other means of subduing him; Bernard Bailey, unarmed, who came to town hall in Orangeburg County, South Carolina to protest a charge of a broken taillight, and was accosted and killed by a the police chief, who had followed Bailey to his truck; Akai Gurley, unarmed, killed by a police officer in New York City as he and his girlfriend opened a door into a stairway as the officer was patrolling the stairway.
We could write these stories for days and never mention a fraction of cases that went unpublicized, uncharged, unpunished – even ignored as a despicable practice of law enforcement has been allowed to prevail.
As Matt Tiabbi writes in the Rolling Stone:
“Nobody’s willing to say it yet. But after Ferguson, and especially after the Eric Garner case that exploded in New York yesterday after yet another non-indictment following a minority death-in-custody, the police suddenly have a legitimacy problem in this country.”
“This policy of constantly badgering people for trifles generates bloodcurdling anger in “hot spot” neighborhoods with industrial efficiency. And then something like the Garner case happens and it all comes into relief. Six armed police officers tackling and killing a man for selling a 75-cent cigarette.”
“That was economic regulation turned lethal, a situation made all the more ridiculous by the fact that we no longer prosecute the countless serious economic crimes committed in this same city. A ferry ride away from Staten Island, on Wall Street, the pure unmolested freedom to fleece whoever you want is considered the sacred birthright of every rake with a briefcase.”
“If Lloyd Blankfein or Jamie Dimon had come up with the concept of selling loosies, they’d go to their graves defending it as free economic expression that “creates liquidity” and should never be regulated.”
“Taking it one step further, if Eric Garner had been selling naked credit default swaps instead of cigarettes – if in other words he’d set up a bookmaking operation in which passersby could bet on whether people made their home mortgage payments or companies paid off their bonds – the police by virtue of a federal law called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act would have been barred from even approaching him.”
“There were more cops surrounding Eric Garner on a Staten Island street this past July 17th then there were surrounding all of AIG during the period when the company was making the toxic bets that nearly destroyed the world economy years ago. Back then AIG’s regulator, the OTS, had just one insurance expert on staff, policing a company with over 180,000 employees.”
As Matt Taibbi says, police officers have a dangerous job.
But let’s face it, the police officers are confronted sometimes with the ills and attitudes of people who have been discriminated against, deprived of equal opportunities, deprived of equal standards of living and educational opportunities – who have continually been treated as second class citizens – unimportant to society, harassed by law enforcement for pettiness.
It is time we acknowledged what they are saying: “Our lives are important too, give us a break, treat us the same as you would treat us if we were white, we have loved ones, we have ambition, we are seeking a good life – a life with opportunities for becoming educated, working hard, raising our kids, and looking forward to a better future – we aren’t asking for special treatment, we are asking for equal treatment.”
Every police department must be retrained to deal with these situations in a reasonable manner, with some compassion, some understanding, some patience, and some willingness to use the least harmful law enforcement necessary to control situations of perceived law violations. Cases with questionable conduct by law enforcement should be decided by a court of law, not a hand-picked grand jury. Our laws call for a jury of our peers, not a white jury or a white grand jury in a black community.
Whatever happened to common sense? Did it get eliminated along with government for the common good?
Think about it!