Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cop Shootings in America

Another tragedy has occurred in the St. Louis, MO area.  An 18 year old black male was shot and killed by a police officer.  Regardless of who pushed the first domino to commence the event, none of this had to happen.  Just one small variation could have turned the tides on this entire ordeal.  Of course the stories vary on who did what, but the overall picture is still the same: another young, black male is dead at the hands of police.  It's time that we re-educate America and stop these senseless acts and both black people and the cops can help.

Black People

Stop teaching your kids to hate cops.  I know that all of us don't do it, but there are enough of us who teach that even if subconsciously.  Cops are to be respected for multiple reasons: they're hired to be an authoritative figure our communities and oh, yeah, they also carry guns and a license to kill.

The latter should be reason enough to teach your kids how to protect themselves by respecting the law.  Teach your kids (especially sons) to remain calm at all times around the police.  There's no need to get emotional even if you're in the right.  If you get pulled over then already have your license and registration in your hand before the cop gets to your car.  Keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times.  You want them to always be visible and not move in a quick or unpredictable motion.

I know people are thinking, "why should I be forced to do that?"  The answer?  Because you want to increase your chances of getting home that night, that's why.  What's more important: how you feel or being alive?  Even if you're being harassed or unfairly targeted it's better to have your day in court than to do something that can cause a misunderstanding.  Ice Cube once famously said in a song that he'd rather be "judged by 12 (jury) than carried by six (pall bearers)."

And I agree with that 100%.

Cops

Stop assuming that all black males are dangerous.  If there is anything that is embedded in our brains in this country is that black males are to be feared.  We see things everyday that lead us to believe that they're unpredictable and have no respect for authority.  In some cases, that may be true, but you're not going to get me to believe that it represents anywhere near a majority of black males.  I know too many of them to believe that.

Here's what needs to happen: cops need training.  Badly.  Being a cop is more than just physical conditioning and gun training.  It should be more mental training than anything else.  Somehow you have to scrub their brain of every racial bias known to man and I don't think that it's as easy as one would think.  Even if you hire 500 cops, just 1% of that number can be enough to ruin the entire reputation of the police force.  That's right.  Just five people.

So, if and when a suspicious shooting does occur, it would be more beneficial for the police to treat it like a normal crime (which it is) rather than to start playing politics.  It would also give citizens more security in thinking that you are trying to protect and serve them and not just your own interests.

The police also need a change in policy.  Shooting to kill should never be the first option; it should be the last option.  Why some cops feel as if they need to empty their guns on a person is beyond me.  Especially when there are multiple cops on the scene.  Again, that goes back to training.  You can disarm a person without killing them.

Oh, I know that I only listed two things at first, but I have to add a third and it may be the most important of them all...

Media

Often they are the root cause to the mental images we all have of black males (and sometimes the police).  Whenever there is a shooting of a black male some of the media can't wait to post the most "gangsta" of photos of the victim.  Just like with Mike Brown who was shot in Ferguson, MO.  A recent high school graduate who may or may not have been a model citizen (I won't claim to know the kid), but he should have been afforded an "innocent until proven guilty" opportunity.  What does the media do?  They post this photo of him all over from the USA Today to lesser sites.


That's right. Show a photo of him throwing what a majority of the country will consider a gang sign.  That makes the police so much more believable when they say what they said about the incident.  After all, Like Trayvon Martin, he's not here to defend himself, so there's no backlash, right?

What was wrong with using this photo below instead?


Oh, too tame, right?  We wouldn't want people thinking that black males graduate now do we?

I know that I'm starting to get cynical with all of this, but it comes from a point of frustration.  We all realize that there is a problem yet we choose to only protest a few days after an incident happens.  Then it's on with our lives until the next incident.  I'm somewhat guilty of that, too.  However, I do exercise my right to vote and makes attempts with each election to actually vote for the best candidate and not my favorite political party.  If a majority of people gave Independents a chance we could actually see a change in this county.

But, that's a blog post for another day.  As for Mike Brown and other victims, all we can do is hope for justice.  Hopefully convincing evidence will show that either Mike Brown was well within his rights and gunned down unfairly or that the cop was well within his rights to protect himself.  It doesn't matter as long as it's the truth.

The only problem is: who's willing to tell it?

4 comments:

  1. Which came first, the chicken...? More importantly, which must come first: Corrections within minority communities or corrections within the law enforcement communities? Both are needed, but it seems to me that police are supposed to be leaders. Make them lead.

    When I lived in Hawaii, the Honolulu PD had a terrible reputation for shooting first and not even bothering with questions later. After one especially egregious incident action was taken. Policemen were provided with additional training in nonlethal combat techniques and psychological methods of "talking down" perps. The benefit of this investment was soon demonstrated in an incident wherein two HPD officers faced an armed and dangerous felon. Even though one of the officers was shot and wounded, his partner was able to apprehend the perp without even drawing his weapon.

    This is where we need to begin. Hold our police to a higher standard, then we can hold our citizens to a higher standard

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    Replies
    1. Great comment, Jack! You're exactly right! I wish more states would take the lead as Hawaii did. Every time one of these incidents occurs a new group of people stop trusting the police. It can only get worse if it's not address.

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