This morning, I read a blurb from my RSS newsfeeds where it was reported that a Black man in Georgia was found hung in a tree; allegedly, this man did something to a white woman and, apparently, got lynched for it. I read the blurb and thought, “My God… are we going backward?”
I’ve been around long enough to remember shit like this and it wasn’t a history lesson. I can remember being told to stay away from certain states – like Alabama and Mississippi – because some folks there were still lynching Black people like it was a sport… and just because they could. Hell, even living “up north,” there were certain neighborhoods you just never dared to go to for any reason; no one was getting lynched but you could wind up really fucked up, dead, or worse just because you were Black.
And that was before the riots that jumped off after Dr. King was assassinated. I could see that we had made great progress dealing with racial prejudice; it wasn’t easy and a lot of people wound up dying for this worthy and necessary cause – but it was happening and we were finally all kinda getting along. Now it seems to me that all this shit with the police killing Black men and the subsequent retaliation against police officers because of the first thing has set us back fifty or more years, threatening to make all that was accomplished worthless.
It’s now as if Dr. King died for nothing. Instead of evolving, we’re devolving… and a lot of this is due to the fact that our justice system really doesn’t work as well as it needs to work. It doesn’t help matters when the police – those folks tasked to protect us and all that – are themselves afraid and to the point where excessive and deadly force is now at the top of their list instead of being measures of last resort. And, it’s not really all that hard to figure out why they’re reacting in such a way – there are just too many people out there today who’d rather kill a police officer just because they got stopped for, say, running a red light… but they should be showing more restraint and be more cautious where their own safety is concerned.
Add to this the sheer frustration felt when the police just fuck up… and they basically get away with it, giving people the clear sign that there’s really no such thing as justice or that it’s not applied as equally as it’s supposed to be. This lack of justice can make people feel as if they have no other choice but to take matters into their own hands… and then you get shit like what happened in Baltimore – a mere 45 minutes away from me – jumping off and, yeah, a Black man lynched in Georgia – a state not really known for its history of racial equality – for an alleged crime against a white woman. Why? Because the law and the courts can’t be trusted to fairly mete out justice. Ah… but isn’t there a difference between what the law says justice is and what people think it should be? There was no justice for Travon; not only did his killer go free, the asshole has been getting into similar trouble with the law all over the place… and has walked away a free man every time. To the people, this isn’t justice; in their eyes, the system did not do what it was designed to do.
The officers in Ferguson were all acquitted of any crimes; this, too, is seen as a lack of justice. Now, that one officer who was caught on video killing a Black man and then staging the crime scene to make it look as if the shooting was justified has been charged with murder? Justice, in this situation, would be this officer being convicted of murder and punished appropriately… but what’s gonna happen if he, too, is found not guilty? Here in my home state, a story broke the other day where a police office in our capital city is being charged with several crimes in connection with an arrest he made; while the suspect was on the ground and cuffed, the officer repeatedly kicked the Black dude in the head – and the dash cam recorded it all. Justice, in this situation, would be this officer being convicted on all charges and sent to prison… but what’s gonna happen if that doesn’t happen?
The fact that none of this shit makes sense doesn’t seem to matter; we’ve not learned from our violent history but it’s also clear – and apparently true – that when diplomacy fails, violence ensues… because if we don’t understand anything else, we do understand violence… but we’ve yet to learn that this violence can only make the existing problems worse and not better. And even when “the system” understands that if they do little or nothing to effect positive change, violence will ensue, they are slow to do this and even when they do react quickly, it’s never enough or, as the mayor of Baltimore did, just flat-out screw the pooch and just mishandled shit.
Are we going backward? Are we going back to the mindset that the only good nigger is a dead one? Is everyone – and regardless of color – now going to be seen as an “armed and dangerous” threat by the police and, as such, free them up to be in fear of their lives and, thus, justifying excessive and/or deadly force? This ain’t about “can’t we all just get along?” – this is about, “What the fuck is going on here and how do we fix it before chaos is running the show?”
I was looking at some comments on Facebook about the violence by police officers and the responding violence against the police… and the comments were scary as all get-out. Some felt the police were justified in their actions because, after all, the citizens involved had to be criminals to begin with, right? Some were pitching a bitch because, thanks to the media, little or no attention was being given to the NYC officers who were murdered, or the two officers in Mississippi, or even the officers in Ferguson who were attacked and for no other reason than they were cops – if one is guilty of something, they’re all guilty. But the media, well, they’re all about their ratings than they are reporting the truth of things; rioting because a cop killed a suspect is better for their precious ratings than the deaths good police officers whose only crime was wearing the uniform and, yeah, being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And we call ourselves civilized… Yep, the good thing that it’s not all police officers who are guilty of doing this shit and it’s not everyone turning into a vigilante and meting out some very unlawful justice. The system needs to be fixed and the sad part is that more people are going to die or otherwise get fucked up before the sleeping giant awakens and does what has to be done to put an end to this crazy-assed shit…