Track #210: Supper’s Waiting at Home and I Gotta Get to It

210 Supper's Waiting at Home and I gotta Get to It

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You can read about the incident in question here. At this point, we don’t know a lot about what happened here, and I’m unaware of any evidence that this shooting was in any way race-related. That said, people who parade this incident out as proof that police don’t shoot “Others,” such as minorities, with more frequency than “their own” also don’t have any evidence that this shooting wasn’t race related. It’s possible–even probable–that this was a so-called “clean shooting,” but the real issue, I think, is the fact that the definition of “clean shooting” has become disturbingly broad. So-called “experts” have described the shootings of Michael Brown, Levar Jones, and John Crawford III, among many, many others, when, to an outside observer, they don’t seem justified at all, and while Sean Groubert, the South Carolina state trooper who shot Levar Jones, has been fired and indicted for the shooting, a grand jury has decided not to charge the officers who shot and killed John Crawford III for carrying an air rifle in an Ohio Wal-Mart. This last is particularly troubling, given that white people openly carry assault rifles and handguns in Wal-Marts across America on a regular basis, but a black man picks up an air rifle that Wal-Mart sells, and he gets shot and killed, and his killers aren’t even tried. It begs the question, would the NRA be up-in-arms about this if Crawford had been carrying a real rifle? Somehow I doubt it.

On a related note, I see a lot of videos on Facebook lately of people being stopped by the police, sometimes in traffic stops, more often open-carrying weapons they wouldn’t need to carry in Baghdad, let alone Springfield, Wherever, then rather obnoxiously throwing their rights into the officers’ faces. Some of the cops lose their cool, some show more patience than I ever could in the same situation, but so far as I know, none of them shoot the subjects. Why? What do these people all have in common? Well, not to put too fine a point on it, they’re white. Telling the cop who pulled you over, “I don’t have to step out of the car,” is purely a white person’s privilege.

Police officers do a difficult job, and a dangerous one. I respect that deeply. However, blindly believing that they all do a good job simply because they are police officers is insane. As with so many such extreme jobs, the good cops are really good, and the bad ones are really, really bad. It’s true that a lot of good cops get ignored when the bad cops are as bad as they’ve been lately, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the bad and allow it to continue.

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