Almost everyone in America has one and the upshot is predictable
Of course “[…] all lives matter,” Sherriff Ron Hickman.
Unfortunately it took the “cold-blooded” killing of one of yours to come to that realization and be openly and publicly vocal about a serious matter that no one really paid attention to until Black men have now begun to turn their guns on the police. And I can state unequivocally, and without reservation, that I for one do not, cannot, condone what appears to be a new phenomenon, albeit not yet a trend: the shootings of police. It was just a matter of time.
With decades, indeed a lifetime of ample evidence, I will always say without equivocation that I hate guns. I’ve seen how humanly devastating their use in warfare (on the geopolitical battlefield) and in civilian life (civil societies) can be. Which is why I don’t have one, never had any desire to own one.
So, as I was watching the news last Friday night, August 28, a story broke about the “[…] unprovoked execution-style killing of a Deputy Sheriff, Darren H. Goforth, was ambushed after he exited a convenience store in Houston, Texas, where he had stopped to gas up his patrol car.
An image of a suspect, a Black male, was shown; the next day he was arrested, expeditious police work. Now we know who is, a “coward” named Shannon Miles. He apparently put a gun to the back of Goforth’s head and shot him 15 times. They say he’s mentally imbalanced.
It’s another manifestation and perpetuation of America’s daily… weekly tragic [bloodshed] pastime.
Which prompted County Sheriff Ron Hickman to let fly at a press conference the next day,
“ We’ve heard Black lives matter, all lives matter… cops’ lives matter, so stop all the qualifiers…”
Reacting to the sheriff’s comment, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement said, “It’s unfortunate that Sheriff Hickman has chosen to politicize this tragedy and to attribute the officer’s death to a movement that seeks to end violence.”
[Incidentally, in the wake of the founding of the “Black Lives Matter” movement and subsequent demonstrations to call attention to the recurring police killings of Black people, all those white folk who were out there counter-demonstrating with their “white lives matter” chants were simply attempting to divert media and public attention, to dilute/distort/intimidate/silence the voices and true and legitimate reason for the birth of Black Lives Matter and their supporters, which included people of all social backgrounds, stripes and colours… More importantly, white people have nothing to fear; they are always well served and afforded all CPR (Courtesy, Protection, Respect and “serving and protecting) privileges by America’s police forces.]
To no one’s (meaning Black peoples’) surprise, Hickman went on to link Goforth’s killing to “heightened tension over the treatment of African-Americans by police…”, specifically the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which grew out of a spate of fatal white police shootings of Black men (all under questionable circumstances) in the USA the past 18 months, a proverbial “hunting season,” as someone once described it. Among those that have been scorched into the minds of those of us who care is the gunning down of Michael Brown (by Officer Darren Wilson, who was subsequently exonerated) in Ferguson, Missouri in summer 2014; the (live hunting scene) gunning down of Walter Scott by Officer Michael Thomas Slager in North Charleston, South Carolina, on April 4 of this year; the live killing of Eric “I can’t breathe” Garner on July 17, 2014 by a group of New York City policemen, starring one Daniel Pantaleo (#99) who put Garner in a chokehold while pressing his head against a Staten Island, N.Y. sidewalk; 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, OH…
Those are just a few of a plethora of police killings […] which helped galvanize people of all backgrounds who had become tired of the blatant police abuse of power, particularly the fatal shootings of African-Americans, seemingly with impunity, their pat excuse/ specious defense being: “I feared for my life… My life was in danger…”
With the ubiquitousness of cell phones and video cameras to record previously hidden bad (read racist, inhuman) decades-old policing… The incontrovertible evidence is now coming to light, thanks to video cams, cell phones and now, gradually, police cams.
Black Lives do Matter! But don’t tell that to Sheriff Hickman who has confused the clarion call with what he refers to as “anti-police rhetoric.”
All Black Lives… is doing is simply drawing attention to the continued killings, seemingly with impunity, of Black men (along with Sandra Bland and other Black women who often are below the media radar).
The legitimate nationwide “Black Lives Matter” movement has become a catalyst for long-demanded “sweeping change” in policing, most notably with the introduction of police cams in departments across America. If it were not for the advent of video cams, cell phones, social media, and the gradual use of police cams as part of police paraphernalia, Sheriff, the historical transgressions of Black peoples’ human rights would continue to happen in isolation and anonymity.
Exploiting and enjoying their Constitutional Rights: The Optics…
When Dylann Roof killed nine Black people engaged in prayer in Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, he was able to drive away from the scene of the horrific crime, attempting to make his getaway to wherever… He was hoping “to ignite a race war.”
The next day, over a hundred miles from the slaughter scene, someone, who notified the police, recognized him. When he was taken into custody Dylann apparently “complained about feeling hungry,”so the officers treated him to a Burger King meal – hamburger and fries. Then he was taken for his arraignment. And the judge, in showing some solidarity, sympathy, empathy (one or all of them) for the perpetrator, quote, “sparked outrage when he referred to the 21-year-old’s family as “victims” and urged the community to “rally round them.”
Yes, white lives do matter too, maybe just more…
At the time the worst thing that was said in characterizing Roof was uttered by Charleston Mayor Joe Riley who described as “somebody filled with hate and with a deranged mind… A no-good, horrible person…who must pay the price for this horrible act.”
Others referred to him as a “terrorist,” “lone wolf…” That was the extent of Dylann Roof’s demonizing and dehumanizing.
The morning of Wednesday, August 26, when journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward were shot and killed during a live TV broadcast by Vester Lee Flanagan, aka Bryce Williams, who was apparently fired in from the TV station, WDBJ, in 2013. Like Dylann Roof, he fled the scene and “posted video of the killings on Facebook and Twitter.”
“Mad man, disgruntled, suspect with ‘powder keg’ of anger, were some of the characterizations of the ex-reporter, who, when he realized there was no way out, and there would be no burger and fries for him, instead of allowing the police another (relished) opportunity to shoot another Black male, did it himself.
A County Sheriff, Bill Overton Jr., assessed Flanagan’s mental state, stating at a press conference that “This gentleman (Flanagan) was disturbed in some way, things had transpired at some point in his life…It would appear things were spiraling out of control….”
Apparently Flanagan stated in his manifesto that he was “just waiting to go BOOM!!!”
The general manager of the TV station told a press conference that Vester Lee Flanagan was an “unhappy employee” with anger issues, and also implied that his journalistic skills left much to be desired.
What he didn’t speak about (in the press conference) was an accusation by Flanagan that one of his former colleagues at the station called him “a monkey.”
Without going into details, his attorney in a CNN interview the evening of the shootings confirmed her client’s story, which was resolved with an out-of-court settlement. That was the first and last time I saw her on any network.
Alison Parker’s father is now on an anti-gun crusade. Describing Vester Flanagan as a “disgruntled, crazy, deranged, mentally disturbed killer.” He’s now on a crusade to have gun laws changed.
“It’s not a gun issue, it’s a mental health issue…they messed with the wrong family,” he said, with passion.
Too bad he waited ‘till the tragedy of America’s gun violence visited his family to show his anti-gun colours.
Don’t know if he was referring to Bryce Williams’ family. But one thing is certain, Americans got guns and have ready access to more… and are demonstrating everyday that they have no qualms about using them on one another.
But all lives do matter.