Friday, July 8, 2016

For No Damn Good Reason

Under the heading of “What the Fuck NOW?”


Before we get into the details of this post, let me sum up what I’m about to say:


There are too many people dead for no damn good reason.


There. When I’m done with today’s rant, that will be the conclusion I’ll come to. So if you want to skip today’s post, go ahead. Perhaps revisit some earlier posts. Peruse the menu on the right. I would suggest you give a miss to  the ones marked “Mayonnaise”; those are off the hook stupid. But if you want to stay for the rant, hang on, here we go.


So a few days ago, Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge, LA, an unarmed African American male, was shot and killed by police.

A day after that, Philandro Castile of St. Paul, MN was shot and killed by police after a traffic stop. Yes, Philandro was African American. He was, in fact, armed. Well, he had a firearm on his person, not in his hand.

A day after that,  5 police officers in Dallas TX were killed by sniper fire.


What do these events have in common?


Other than people ending up dead for no  damn good reason?


The shootings in Dallas were preceded by a large but peaceful demonstration to protest the killing of Sterling and Castile. (There was a small one here in Greensboro about a block away from my office.) About 100 Dallas police officers were in attendance for security. Then those police began to be targeted by high powered rifle fire. One witness noted a bullet went straight through a policeman’s vest.  A suspect in the shooting was said to be motivated by recent events of black men being shot by police and decided to take out police officers, particularly white police officers.


So there’s that connection. But ultimately we are talking about two different problems that have been frustratingly intractable. On one hand, we have a disproportionate number of black men dying at the hands of the police. On the other, we have yet another nutcase with a gun who thinks he can solve his grievances with murder and mayhem.


Both of these subjects deserve…no, demand our attention. They demand we take action because the price of inaction is death.


For one problem, we need to improve relations between the police and the African American community, to build trust between these two parties while improving how police officers handle their interactions with people of color.

For the other problem, we need stronger efforts to keep overpowered weaponry out of the hands of people who don’t need them.


Yet there are those who will conflate one with the other.   I’ve seen today too many Twitter and Facebook posts where people are trying to force a connection to further a political agenda. But ultimately, the main fact remains and it is one that we should not blindly accept:


There are too many people dead for no damn good reason.

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