Anyone who reads the pieces I write understands I am blunt and forthright about organizational racism–targeted toward people of color–and its existence on Police Departments. Yet such open discussion, necessary to identify and eliminate the problem, is hindered when someone unlawfully carrying a gun encounters the police.
Apparently, I must clarify a few things.
If you are not a police officer or otherwise licensed to carry a weapon, don’t. If you point that weapon at a police officer, the public, or merely wave it menacingly, you will probably die when the police find you.
Running away from the police does not constitute removal of the threat you pose.
Ignoring the commands of the police to carry on some street form of protest or debate does not eliminate the threat you pose.
Buying into the nonsense that people of color must protect themselves from the police does not mitigate violating the law. It is flawed, dangerous, and disproven by the facts.
And it does not eliminate the threat you pose.
In almost every single case, failing to follow the officer’s simple commands drove the conclusion to a fatal end. Even assuming the officer was acting unlawfully, the street is not the place to prove a point.
Cell phone videos of such incidents, with no broad established perspectives, feed into the entertainment-addicted society. Unfiltered and full of distorted views, they are used as tools to either sustain the racial stereotypes by some or offered as evidence of police misconduct by others.
They are neither.
All one does by ignoring or challenging the officer is compound the problem. If you’ve not broken the law, the court is the proper forum. If you are breaking the law by carrying a weapon, you face a simple choice.
Accept your responsibility and face the legal consequences, or risk dying at the hands of the police.
At that moment, you will be judged not for the color of your skin but for the content of your character.
Your actions speak volumes.
Willing to put your fellow humans at risk, contribute to the racist stereotypes, and do more harm to the cause for which others fight with all their hearts to overcome. A cause for which others laid down their lives to challenge the very violence you invoke.
I am not naïve in believing the tentacles of racism don’t reach into the court system. Yet it is in the court the most progress towards equality is achieved and racist actions by persons operating under the color of law addressed.
The proper actions by those who protect society, operating under the color of law, are the only “color” that matters here. Many of the most critical changes to race relations in society began with court mandates that eventually became social norms.
By the self-defeating act of unlawfully carrying a gun, no matter the color of your skin, you compound the problem.
It is a selfish and harmful act that most severely affects the very people you perceive as victims of racism.
The public outcry focusing on the use of force by the police, ignoring the fact they faced an armed lawbreaker, compounds the problem. People with little, or no, sense of the realities of the use of weapons do nothing but demonstrate their ignorance. Their outcry serves to inflame the issue. Their lack of fundamental understanding, or willingness to acknowledge facts, merely prolongs the false narrative of cops targeting minorities.
Where’s the outcry when cops are ambushed, shot at, wounded or killed? If equality is the goal, it’s missing in the public outrage.
Among police officers, there is a jaundiced saying on survival.
“Better to be judged by twelve, then carried by six.”
Officers, reacting to the reality of the violence and weapon proliferation on the streets of this country, see erring on the side of caution, i.e., resorting to deadly force and letting a jury sort it out, as the best chance to survive.
Perhaps that attitude should be turned around and put to work from the other side. Let a jury decide if the officers acted lawfully and appropriately. Eventually, everyone would be better off.
If you rely on the false belief that a gun makes you safer, being carried by six merely adds you to the long list of unnecessary deaths. You bear direct responsibility for creating your own opportunity to die.
And you leave behind a legacy that imposes the same death sentence on others.