In light of recent events, (read: two men shot dead by police in two days and five DPD police officers shot dead) I feel compelled to share a quick post with y’all. I am not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t believe. However, I am here to spread awareness. It feels weird to think that in our day in age, full of technology, there are still people out there who really don’t know what has happened this past week. With all the information available to us in the palms of our hands, ignorance is not an excuse. Although, I find it important to still share and spread information. I cannot remain silent. I can’t post a blog today and just pretend everything is okay, because things are FAR from okay. It isn’t just America either; there are plenty of horrible things happening to people every second of everyday. However, we, as the millennials, have a voice. A voice, that honestly deserves to be heard. A voice that matters, because we are the future, and I refuse to remain silent any longer.
Reddit has become my source of news events as of recently. It’s quickly updated, there’s a thread/forum, where we can engage, share condolences, and grieve together. We can share our thoughts and opinions uncensored. I feel connected and more importantly, informed. So to start off these events, we have the shooting of Alton Sterling in Louisiana. Reddit user klhl worded the chronological order of events way better than I could, here’s what he wrote:
“Trying to be as neutral as possible. Going trough the situation in chronological order:
– Cops responded to a call about a man in red shirt pointing a gun at someone. That’s pretty serious, I’m sure everyone can agree that if you’d be a cop in this situation you’d be on your guard going in.
– So the cops arrive. The article states a witness said cops were aggressive. Vague statement and who is this witness? Wouldn’t give too much credit to this statement. Also if you’re confronting a suspect who has threatened someone with a gun cops would go in in a way that would be perceived to aggressive: Ordering them to stand still, keep their hands where they can see them, and then finally to get on the ground. I’m sure it would seem aggressive but that’s occupational safety and how you are supposed to approach a suspect with a gun.
– Next thing we know is that cops tased him but he didn’t go down. Assuming cops were following the use for force continuum, they wouldn’t be using taser unless the suspect didn’t follow their orders. In the video we hear the cops ordering Alton to get down, which he doesn’t do. Then they proceed to wrestle him down. They didn’t pull their guns at this point, so it doesn’t seem to me they were trigger happy power tripping cunts just looking for excuse to shoot someone. Once they go to the ground another cops finds the gun. Only at this point do the police draw their weapons which to me seems reasonable. They tell him not to move or else, and then shoot.
– Impossible to see from the video what Alton did. Did his hands go for the gun? The store owner says no, and I don’t see why we shouldn’t believe this (with reservations). If this is indeed how the event unfolded, then my opinion is that cops did everything right right up until the point where they shot him. My guess? When other officer heard the other one shouting “gun”, he panicked and made a terrible mistake that cost a man his life. You could argue that Alton would still be alive had he followed the cops orders from the start (which most likely is true), but that doesn’t mean the cops had any right to shoot him. But I do not think they meant for it escalate like that.”
The officers were wearing body cams, but they had fallen off during the altercation. The footage hasn’t been released and it’s still unknown as to when/if the footage will be released. Baton Rouge, has a nasty reputation for corrupt officers. Alton Sterling, also has a nasty record. From being a registered sex offender to drug possession. Regardless of his record, it still does not give the police officers the right to take Alton Sterling’s life. As I stated above, I’m not going to tell you what you should believe or how you should feel.
Thursday July 7th, Philando Castile was shot while sitting in the car with his girlfriend and child in the car. Philando was pulled over for a taillight violation . His girlfriend recorded the video and posted it on Facebook. Personally, I am most outraged by this incidence. Philando had a concealed carry permit. Now it’s my understanding that when you have a CCW permit and you get pulled over, the first thing you should tell the cop is that you have permit and whether you have “something” in your vehicle. During CCW classes, people are warned against using the words “weapon” or “gun” in case of triggering a cop. While keeping both hands visible on the wheel, you let the cop know what you’re doing before you’re doing it, i.e. reaching for your wallet. Philando did exactly this and you can see such in the video. The cop shot him in cold blood. Philando wasn’t resisting arrest. He wasn’t being aggressive. He was doing everything he supposed to be doing. Think what you want, but you can’t deny the video evidence.
Thursday evening there was PEACEFUL protest taking place in Dallas. Civilians and fellow officers were protesting the BLM movement. Dallas Police Department is one of the most legitimate PD’s that are actively trying to make a difference in their community. They’re aware of police brutality and they’re doing their best to end that. Micah Johnson, an Army Vet, took it upon himself to express his hatred of “white cops” by taking five innocent officers’ lives and injuring seven. Here is the video. Too many innocent lives were taken in one man’s definition of “justice.”
I hate the dichotomy of “black lives matter” versus “blue lives matter” or just having to pick a side in general. These only separate us further. Reddit user 17thState worded this perfectly, “It bothers me that so many people think you have to choose a side between the people and the police. We shouldn’t want police to kill innocent people. We shouldn’t want people to kill innocent police officers. Those two ideas are by no means mutually exclusive. Recognizing that not all officers are violent or racist doesn’t make you a “police apologist,” and recognizing that we’ve seen enough killings of innocent people to identify a problem doesn’t make you against cops. It doesn’t have to be a battle between the the two sides. Instead, it should be a joint effort between the police and the people to have each other’s best interests and safety in mind.” All blacks aren’t criminals. All cops aren’t corrupt. All whites aren’t evil.
Since the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement started, there’s been this ever present “ALL Lives Matter.” Let me explain, to the best of my ability, what the BLM really means. Black lives matter has an implicit “Also” added. It’s not stating that ONLY black lives matter, they’re saying black lives matter TOO. This movement had to arise because they are being slaughtered in the streets. This law professor (keep scrolling) explained it perfectly: “There is a difference between focus and exclusion. If something matters, that does not imply that nothing else does. […] The Black Lives Matter movement arose in a context of evidence that they don’t. When people are receiving messages from the culture in which they live that their lives are less important than other lives, it is a cruel distortion of reality to scold them for not being inclusive enough.” (emphasis added). When we shout that “All lives matter” we’re shouting over the voices of those who deserve to be heard. Here, watch this quick video that explains what you’re saying when “ALL lives matter.”
To close y’all, I want to express that you don’t have to pick a side to mourn the loses of these lives. As a nation, we need change. But I believe for that to happen we need to work together. In my last post, I explained the importance of empathy and happiness. While I expressed the need for empathy to gain happiness, it can also bring an amount of sadness. As a white female, I come from a place of privilege; I will never be targeted for my skin color. I have to put myself in my fellow black Americans’ shoes, empathize with them, so I can fight right next to them. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led our nation to a place of equality and I feel like quoting him is most appropriate right now. So here’s a few from his “I have a dream” speech,
“Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.”
“With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”