Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Served not protected

     There are lots of serious issues going on in today's current events. The Ebola virus outbreak, conflict in the Middle East, domestic violence, just to name a few. But there is one reoccurring issue that hits entirely too close to home for me to ignore. It is the senseless shootings and beatings of unarmed black Americans specifically males.  
     Facts give us a lot of disparaging news. Such as blacks are the 3rd highest ethnic group in the US but more blacks are incarcerated than any other ethnic group in the country. Our healthcare is awful, education, and poverty rate are also putrid. Some have said when America gets a cold, Blacks get pneumonia. This is an epidemic of sorts but just like any other racial group we all have societal problems. It is often said desperate times call for desperate measures. This tends to play a part in the angst of the plight of some blacks.  
      I can honestly say God has favored me in several situations, I won't elaborate in detail but I wouldn't be where I am today if not for his mercifulness. I have never been arrested, unless you count traffic tickets, I have a respectable job, I am a devoted family man. I had parents who cared for me and steered me on the right track to stay away from a life of crime and all that it entails. I recall my mama saying selling drugs will either put you in jail or put you 6 feet under.  A question I ask myself is am I an anomaly ? No, there are a multitude of blacks doing positive things in our society this tends to get ignored at times. God's word gives us guidance in all areas of our life. For instance, Proverbs  13:3 says " The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; The one who opens wide his lips  to ruin." How many times have you been confronted by someone a boss, a coworker, family member friend , etc and you've had an altercation that could've been squashed had you humbled yourself and took the high road. This doesn't make you a punk or coward. This means you can foresee  how much  more immflammatory  your altercation can become if you don't quicken yourself.
         That being said what are some sterotypes of blacks, they are aggressive, commit violent crimes, they steal, sell drugs, like rap music, etc. But every race of people has folks that exhibit these behaviors. But who can ignore the gang fighting going on in Chicago. This isn't George Zimmerman but young gangsters killing one another, we can't blame America for that. In fact more shootings of blacks are executed by one another. So before we tell someone to clean up their act, we need to police our own as well.  America doesn't tell us to drop out of high school or have children before we're ready. We choose that.  But the actions of a few skews the perception of the whole bunch or so it appears. 
     I was once told to leave a store because I was looking at basketball cards as a teen. No package was open and at the time I had nothing in my hand, but because some other black kids had stolen these cards, the store manager figured it was only a matter of time before I stole some too. I was livid, in hindsight I should've told my parents to seek litigation. I left cooperatively, never to return to that store again. If I would've acted like I felt, I might've gotten arrested for assault, but I maintained my saltiness and chose not to make this situation any bigger over some basketball cards. Similarly, Trayvon Martin was in a way, collateral damage. A black kid in a hoodie has to be a thug right, so it seems by many, but faced with confrontation he made the situation bigger than it had to be. It seems unfair and in many aspects it is, but we must be cognizant of the fact that some folks have an inherent fear of black men. The more you can do to deviate from these preconceived sterotypes the more tolerable and less formidable you appear. You lessen the chances of you getting assaulted or even worst, shot. 
      It's like the fact some folks are scared of  all snakes , and will kill any one they see in their yard whether it be a harmless garden snake or a venomous rattler snake. They assume the worst and any acts that look the slightest bit suspicious they get very defensive.  Maintaining a calm demeanor and following orders lessens the chance of you getting shot innocently by a cop or want to be cop.  If they are abusing their authority just remember God is the final judge ( Galatians 6:7 - Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. ) I am not saying the chances of you being a victim will diminish completely but your chances would be more favorable.
         Comedian Chris Rock made a skit a few years back about how not to get beat down by the cops. Although it was intended to be humorous. It was spot on.  The way you speak to officers goes a long way in determining whether are not they deem you to be a threat to them.  Be cooperative and avoid saying any inflammatory remarks. So why did NYPD cops choke out Eric Garner? He was a gargantuan man who became aggressive. His actions resulted in strangulation by officers. Similarly pro football player Sam Montgomery was arrested for speeding in SC. The officer was within the law to arrest him but the video cam showed this cop did all he could to antagonize Mr Montgomery. He appeared to have an itchy trigger finger and he wanted to use it. He was later suspended for his incendiary actions during the traffic stop. Had Mr Montgomery become the least bit aggressive towards the cop who knows how that story would ended. Instead he played it cool and is still here today.
         The facts in the story about the kid, Mike Brown near St Louis are still sketchy. But one thing's for sure he had no weapon and deadly force was used? It's easy to see the pain from his mother , I could only imagine the sorrow she feels. The very ones who are to protect and serve are taking our lives with little to no consequences. This can't be accepted. From the cop in nearby Bellaire, TX who shot the baseball prospect Robbie Tolen in his parents driveway, to the Charlotte , NC cop who shot the former FAMU football player 10 times from close range after it was discovered he like the Renisha Mcbride story in Michigan was in a traumatic state due to a car wreck and was desperately seeking help. It's frustrating, especially when most areas in the workforce have put in protective measures to avoid having repeats of of such tragic events. But not law enforcement. Don't get me wrong there are some folks who have killed cops as well and I realize the slippery slope that cops have to take. Sometimes it's killed or be killed, unfortunately they guess wrong sometimes but I think their approach to handling situations like these needs to be reevaluated because this is happening way too often. 
     I have a 8 year old son with autism. He doesn't always comprehend things the way most folks do but there are some things like historical facts he is a wiz, that's another story. But I want to feel secure that some overprotective  guy or super cop doesn't want to blow his brains out before trying to find out what's going on with him. Proverbs 22:6 states Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. I am doing my part to try and convey to him that being calm and maintaining your cool, allows you a chance to survive whatever tenuous situations you come across envolving law enforcement ( the George Zimmerman case is another issue because he had no real authority, but that's neither here nor there ), hence the cliche, cooler heads prevail. 
         Being aggressive and antagonistic leads to potentially devasting circumstances to one or both parties involved. Think about this, Kevin Ward the dirt track driver, who was sadly run over by Nascar driver Tony Stewart during the middle of an ongoing race this past weekend. Tony appeared to run his car off the track, Mr Ward took exception to what happened, based on Tony's history, and got out of his vehicle on to the track to spite him. Had he thought about the fact that there were several cars going at a high rate of speed on this particular track , maybe he would have understood the danger and that he could be trampled. Had he just been content just losing the race. He could've voiced his displeasure after the race to Mr Stewart and go on competing  and living his life. Sadly his family must now move on without him.
      I say all this to say give us the benefit of a doubt. Not saying all people think this way but it feels like  a lot of people feel that blacks are guilty until proven innocent. Emotions are triggered from lots of factors, surviving a car wreck spikes your adrenaline and makes you feel discombobulated. Not necessarily meaning bad intentions.  Imagine what Trayvon Martin could tell us if the dead could talk. Unfortunately he can't tell us his side of the story because someone assumed something about him based on how he looked and consequently saw fit to do what only God should have the power to do. It's not right, it's not ok. But what should we do?


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