Yesterday, I felt “blue” all day. Why? Because for the first time in my life I had the supreme displeasure of witnessing not one but two Black men die on the street at the hands of the police. Immediately, as a mother, I thought about the fact that not one but two lives that began like any other, as a baby, with all the hope and promise that could be in the eye of a family when a new baby is born. For all we know about these two men, their lives were uneventful. Sterling was known as the “CD man,” a laid-back guy who would sell tunes and DVDs outside the convenience store where he was shot, according to local media. He had earlier “run-ins” with the law. Records show that Sterling was registered sex offender with a lengthy criminal record that included convictions for weapons offenses, confrontations with police officers, property crimes, and domestic violence and other batteries. Court records show the victim was a 14-year-old girl at the time of the offenses. According to the charging document on file in the courthouse, the victim’s mother had discovered that she was pregnant after taking her to the doctor. The document says that Sterling, then 20, had been dating the victim for about seven months and having sexual intercourse with her in her bedroom. Sterling was also accused of entering a man’s house and demanding money. He then pushed and shoved the man, “tearing up furniture” and then others arrived to help destroy items, including appliances, the court affidavit says. The court record says that a police officer stopped Sterling, who said he had “tore up the apartment” because the victim had stolen his money. He gave his name as “Otis Deesnuts” and made a reference to a killing and having a barbecue, court records say.
Philando Castile, the man who was shot and killed by police in a suburb of St. Paul, Minn., had spent more than a decade working for the same school district from which he graduated from high school. Philando Castile as well-liked by students and staff, according to St. Paul Public Schools. Here is the statement by his employers:
“Saint Paul Public Schools and its staff grieve the tragic death of a former student and current employee, Philando Castile. He graduated from Central High School in 2001 and had worked for Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) since he was 19 years old, beginning in 2002, in the Nutrition Services Department. Mr. Castile was promoted to a supervisory position two years ago and was currently working in one of our schools during the summer term. Colleagues describe him as a team player who maintained great relationships with staff and students alike. He had a cheerful disposition and his colleagues enjoyed working with him. He was quick to greet former coworkers with a smile and hug. One coworker said, ‘Kids loved him. He was smart, over-qualified. He was quiet, respectful, and kind. I knew him as warm and funny; he called me his ‘wing man.’ He wore a shirt and tie to his supervisor interview and said his goal was to one day ‘sit on the other side of this table. Those who worked with him daily said he will be greatly missed.”
Whatever their disposition, they did not DESERVE to die. They did not, absolutely not. But their case should have been adjudicated in the courts and should have been handled by legal methods.
Enter “Black Live Matter” and protests in the streets.
Over the past three years, a powerful hashtag and movement has grown up to protest against police killings of black people in America. They claim that more than 1000 people were killed in police operations in the US in 2015, nearly a third of them black – despite the fact that black people are 13% of the population. A protest movement has grown up against that but is is a complex, amorphous group: both a formal organisation and, at the same time, a vast informal collection of ordinary people who tweet the slogan Black Lives Matter.
The hashtag surges with each new case of a police killing of a black person that is seen as unjust, usually after a video emerges. This week it surged twice – with the fatal shootings of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana
In a statement posted Friday, Black Lives Matter representatives called the Dallas murders “a tragedy – both for those who have been impacted by yesterday’s attack and for our democracy.” The statement continued, “There are some who would use these events to stifle a movement for change and quicken the demise of a vibrant discourse on the human rights of Black Americans. We should reject all of this. Black activists have raised the call for an end to violence, not an escalation of it. Yesterday’s attack was the result of the actions of a lone gunman. To assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible. We continue our efforts to bring about a better world for all of us.”
But, wait a minute………….. Did Black live matter when at least 64 people were shot in the nation’s third largest city, Chicago, over the Independence Day weekend, including four people who were fatally wounded? The grim violence in Chicago, which has recorded 329 homicides already this year, continued despite stepped up street patrols by the Chicago Police Department and the arrest of 88 gang members in two of the city’s most violent neighborhoods ahead of the holiday weekend.
President Obama condemned the sniper-style shootings of Dallas police officers Friday, calling the assault a “vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement. “I believe I speak for every single American when I say we are horrified over these events, and we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas,” he said. But the previous day he fanned the flames by saying: “When incidents like this occur, there’s a big chunk of our citizenry that feels as if, because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated the same, and that hurts, and that should trouble all of us,” Mr. Obama said in a statement on Thursday after arriving in Warsaw for a NATO summit. “This is not just a black issue, not just a Hispanic issue. This is an American issue that we all should care about.”
A few hours earlier, Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota, who seemed shaken by the video showing the man, Philando Castile, as he died, also pointed to the role of race. “Would this have happened if the driver were white, if the passengers were white?” he asked. “I don’t think it would have.”
No investigation, none at all , but the President and Governor decided that the policemen involved in the prior incidents were racist……… Very, very incendiary words.
Black Lives Matter sympathizers took to Twitter to express their joy at the carnage, with one commenting, “Y’all pigs got what was coming for y’all.”
“Next time a group wants to organize a police shoot, do like Dallas tonight, but have extra men/women to flank the Pigs!,” added another.
“Dude hell yeah someone is shooting pigs in dallas. Solidarity,” commented another user.
“DALLAS keep smoking dem pigs keep up the work,” remarked another.
Last night’s events in Dallas were as painfully predictable as they were tragic.
I feel very sorry for the families of the brave policemen who gathered to protect the protestors last night, only to find themselves either in the midst of or the victims of carnage organized by people who hated THEM for the color of their skin.