Thursday, July 28, 2016

Police on the Offensive

After the murder of several policemen in the past month, there has been a vocal push by police requesting that the public show more support for the police.  The police should now understand how black men feel threatened when stopped by the police, especially European American policeman.  The fear that the police now have is what black men have been feeling for decades.  It is a shame that it took the deaths of their fellow officers before the police fully understood what black men have been saying for years.  Now you understand the pain of mothers who have lost sons to the weapons of police under the disguise that those policemen feared for their lives.

Now I've heard some advocating that the police need more powerful weapons to deal with the perceived menace to their lives.  Yep.  More weapons that they can misuse in arrest situations because they fear for their lives.  Giving police more powerful weapons is not going to happen.  That is not the answer.  I still advocate improved training and focus on community relations as one foundation area that should be worked on.  Have we not learned that guns are not the answer?

Yes, I feel sorry for the wives, children, and parents of policemen who now dread it when their phone rings or if there is a knock at the door.  Again, welcome to the black man's nightmare.  So, I understand the backlash and push to protect the police.  It's the same kind of push black men have been advocating for years but no one cared until a variety of videos showed the brutal tactics of some police who never should have been given the authority to police others.

Now is the best time for communities and the police to start working together to tear down the fear walls that exists between us.  But, I'm not seeing news stories about that effort being made as a nation wide focus.  With the events of the past month, everyone has been served notice that there is a problem.  Local government and national leaders are quite aware of the problem.  If nothing is done to start the healing process by our leaders then it will just be up to us, the people to lead the effort and replace those currently in leadership positions.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Paying for the Mistakes of Others

Yesterday in Baton Rouge there was another incident of policemen being shot and killed.  Prior to the police killings in Dallas, policemen have been intermittently targeted in ambush situations.  The death of two black men killed by police in the past weeks has given those hating police the opportunity they have been waiting for.  People who have a grudge against policeman now appear to be attempting to take advantage of the bad feelings towards police. These people are taking it upon themselves to kill innocent policemen and bring turmoil to the families of the policemen. They are also bringing more fear to police who  already are in a position of fear when going about their daily jobs.

Now we have increased the stress of being a policeman.  Now the likelihood of a black man being shot because of a policeman's "fear" may have increased.  This could bring about more mistakes being made by police as they attempt to protect themselves. Now the time for increased training and improved community relations between the police and those they serve becomes more important.

Imagine having to start your day wondering if you will be coming home alive that day?  If that is not stress what is?  We have placed the police in  a war time situation and sent them out to do their job untrained in all they need to do.

Innocent policeman are now paying for the mistakes, bad judgements, and bad decisions of their peers.   Those policemen who killed innocent black men in the past have now brought unwarranted harm to good policeman who are just trying to do their jobs.  Current policemen who know of a peer whose actions, words, or behavior are racist should report those officers to those in charge.  Why let the entire police occupation suffer for the sins of a few?  Screen the bad candidates from becoming policemen.  Fire those who do not need to maintain their job as a policeman.

We don't need more town halls and meetings.  We now need action.  For the families of the good policemen we owe them! We owe their spouses, children, fathers and mothers the right to be able to see them come home safely.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and Dallas

It finally happened.  Someone reached their breaking point.  Someone no longer could stand seeing how black men like him were being gunned down by police when being shot should not have been an option.  Someone lost hope that corrective actions were in progress to stop the assassination of innocent black men.  Unfortunately in the past year there was no nationwide emphasis, discussion, or action by police forces throughout the nation to stand down and review how police deal with black men specifically and black people period.  No government official took the lead to ensure hiring policies and training of police was reviewed.  The message black men got was “deal with it”.

A black man shot and killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The murder captured on video.  Then in Minnesota, a daytime traffic stop.  Then another black man shot in his car with his fiancĂ©e in the passenger seat and a 4 year old girl in the back seat.  The man dies.  The protests begin again.  Protests that before did not lead to changes in how police approach and interact with black people. Then someone took matters into their own hands.  That person for his own reasons allegedly hated white people. The repeated shooting of black men by white police men apparently molded his feelings towards all white policeman.  I don’t condone his actions, but how he got to his breaking point is easy to understand.  When someone feels they are targeted by a specific segment of legal authority and nothing is being done to protect them from abuse of power, you go into a protective and then deadly offensive mode.

The anger and hopelessness built up in one individual and was released against the Dallas police department.  The talk show hosts, news personalities, politicians, and other self proclaimed experts need to understand one point.   You don’t have to be mentally ill to carry out the kind of assault that happened in Dallas.  When you reach a point of hopelessness anything can happen.  And it did in Dallas. No policeman shot a black man in Dallas that week.  Unfortunately innocent policeman became the outlet of rage felt by the individual who carried out the assault.  The event could have happened in any town against any police force in these United States of America.

The politicians, police chiefs, mayors, etc. who took no action to stop the continued police actions against black men can now look in the mirror and share the responsibility for fanning the flames of hopelessness.  Those same politicians could have stressed retraining of police, better screening of police, development of better relations with the black community.  But they did nothing.  So, don’t give me your outrage at what happened in Dallas.

For those who will now go into backlash mode against the “black lives matter” movement and now stress how our police are under attack, don’t try it.  Please don't try to hide the historical fact that European Americans annihilated the Native American race in this country.  History shows how black people were forcibly brought to this country to be slaves of European Americans.  History shows a record of black people being lynched and no action taken against those carrying out the lynching’s.    We’ve long known that black people historically have been abused by police and killed under suspicious circumstances at routine police stops.  So don’t talk to me about feeling that white people and the police are now under attack.  Welcome to our world. 

The ending of the deadly events in Dallas reminded me of a scene I saw on the national news in the late 60s or early 70s.  A black man was cornered on the roof of a building in a large metropolitan city.  The video showed a helicopter with a policeman shooting the man to death with more bullets than seemed necessary.  It looked like overkill.  A decision had been made that the man would not be coming off the rooftop of that building alive.  In Dallas a decision was made that the killer of the policemen would not be coming out alive.  A robot served as the jury, judge and instrument of death.  I thought to myself.  The two policemen who killed the black men are walking around on paid administrative leave.  There doesn’t seem to be any rush to bring them to justice.  On the opposite end if a black man kills someone, the authorities use deadly force to kill him.  Don’t worry about bringing the black man to trial.  Just kill him and end the conflict on the scene.  Don’t waste the public’s money and endanger more lives.  I thought to myself, now that a black man used military weapons to kill police, will a more serious push for more gun control occur?  We will see.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Terrorist Proofing Public Events

Another breaking news flash from overseas.  Suicide bombers gain entry to an airport area. We've seen and heard the reports before.  On this occasion in the past week one of the bombers was wearing wardrobe that was noticeably to hot for the weather.  This tipped off security to stop him.  But, the gunfire that ensued between the terrorists and the police wasn't enough to prevent the terrorists from getting within an area to inflict deadly harm on innocent people inside the terminal area.

One option seems apparent.  Setting up an area outside a public location or event where people would be screened.  Keeping terrorists out of an airport terminal, restaurant, mall or other public areas seems necessary.  Yes it would be a hassle, just as being searched prior to boarding a plane is a hassle.  But steps need to be taken to further ensure safety of the general public.  How many lives need to be sacrificed until security is raised a notch?

New public structures being built need to be built with the thought of making them terrorist proof.  Inconvenience versus safety is becoming the new norm.  The suicide bomber as a threat needs to become a retired event.  If people want to blow themselves up that is a choice they have to make.  But, we can't allow them to take innocent people with them!

Having layers of security is not a new concept.  Not allowing terrorists to gain entry inside an event or near the entrance should be the goal.  The technology apparently exists to screen people in many ways.  Now, not later is the time to fully implement measures to foil terrorist plots.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Thanking God for Personal Achievements

It seems to be the  norm.  An African American athlete wins a competition and the first thing they do normally is to give thanks to God.  I have noticed that in the on going Olympic Track and Field qualifying events currently being held in Eugene, Oregon.  A European American athlete who wins normally does not give thanks to God for the achievement.  In contrast to the African American athlete, the European American athlete appears to only give credit to themselves and other human beings they believe assisted in their effort.  They don't seem to acknowledge where there athletic gifts come from and assume a win is what they are entitled to.

Maybe it's an issue of culture and background.  Do European American athletes really believe that they are entitled to victory based on their human efforts only?  Do European American athletes feel God deserves no credit in their accomplishments?

This "thanking God" issue goes beyond athletics.  I often hear musicians, and business people of African American descent thanking God for personal successes.  Again, on the reverse side the number of  European Americans who give thanks to God openly seems less.  I would like to see a news reporter asks American European athletes and those in other various occupations, why they don't thank God when someone compliments them on "their" success?

To not thank God seems arrogant and a demonstration of false natural superiority.  It's as if the person believes they are entitled to being the best because they did all the work.  We all know that is not the case.

Of course not all African American's stop and give thanks to God.  But, if you take note of the occasions when it happens, normally it is an African American who does so.  Next time you hear an athlete, musician, or some other person experiencing a success, take note of whom they give thanks and credit to.

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Meaning of Independence Day

From my cultural and life experiences, the holidays celebrated in the United States of America have a variety of meanings.  Some, such as Memorial Day I have adopted due to the cultural meaning of the holiday and what it is intended to represent.  In the case of Memorial Day it has become a day to remember those who have passed on due to their involvement in military conflicts or due to losses in families.

July 4th, Independence Day, is another story.  The independence celebrated is that of the then American colonists declaration of no longer being governed by the ruling British.  During that period of the European American colonists separating from British rule, black people were serving under slavery in various parts of the colonies.  Black people were not treated as equals to European Americans.  The promise that the new world presented to Europeans was not offered to black people.  At the same time the annihilation of Native Americans was already in progress through planned aggression by European Americans.

So how should I feel about Independence Day?  Personally it's just another day.  A day where when I was in the working world was a day of rest.  A day to follow the "American tradition" of viewing fireworks, cooking on the grill and maybe gathering with family.  But now with kids grown and living their own separate lives, the family aspect had declined.  The thought of viewing fireworks does not entice me to want to drive somewhere to view them.  Been there and done that.

So for me labeled as being an African American, a male in his upper 50s, retired from the working world, it's now just another day.  This country seems to celebrate holidays in a robotic manner.  The meaning of the holiday may no longer be relevant, such as Columbus Day.  Or the holiday such as Independence Day may need refinement to account for the changing demographics in the country.

One thing I have come to understand is that many holidays in the United States are self indulgent. Some of the holidays do not take into account that the "accomplishments" celebrated are due to native cultures being overcome through violence, deceit, theft, and European Americans self proclaimed rights to conquer those who were already here.  Plus the unforgettable fact that people were brought into slavery in this country for the economic well being of European Americans.  Based on those facts I really don't have a reason to "celebrate" the Independence Day as envisioned some 200 plus years ago.