Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to this topic. I have so many thoughts simultaneously floating around in my head, it’s hard to keep myself on track. However; I’ll start by saying this: stop shooting the cotdamn cops, man! With tensions at a remarkably high level between Black communities and our respective police departments, the recent murders of several officers in Dallas, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana are making resolutions seemingly impossible.
By now, I’m sure everyone is familiar with the mayhem that occurred in Dallas back on July 7th. After a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest, where police were monitoring the event, Micah Johnson took it upon himself to kill five officers, injure another nine cops and wound two bystanders. According to Johnson, he was angry with both the police and the Black Lives Matter movement and wanted to “kill White people.” For him, this was a type of retribution for the numerous police shootings of Black males. In light of the recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, Johnson’s act of violence was looked at as direct revenge. Now, not even two weeks later, three officers were killed and another three were injured in Baton Rouge. As of the time I’m writing this, Gavin Long, an ex-Marine thought to be the lone shooter, was killed after the fatal attack he orchestrated.
Here’s the thing, I don’t think individuals like Johnson and Long realize, their actions are NOT helping our cause. There’s already a misguided narrative being perpetuated by cops, politicians and assholes on social media that officers are the real targets in this country. Despite the fact this notion isn’t backed by actual data, it’s all of the justification detractors need to ignore the now countless instances of police misconduct all over the United States. The reality is, when over 500 people have been killed by the police this year, the deaths of less than 70 officers, while obviously tragic, cannot be used as “evidence” of an imaginary war on police. In addition, this aforementioned “war” cannot and should not be used as rationalization for the various instances of cops wrongfully killing Black men.
Whether we’re talking about Amadou Diallo, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, or any of the limitless names I could mention, all Black people want is for our murderers to be brought to justice. The only point we’ve tried to make is the fact a badge shouldn’t give someone the power to take another person’s life without any consequences. A badge shouldn’t give an overzealous authority figure the right to abuse his or her power and never face any retribution for his or her actions. As Black people, we simply want to be looked at as people and not some “threat” that needs to be neutralized. In every one of these scenarios, all an officer has to do is say “I feared for my life” or “I thought he had a gun” and the humanity of the victim goes out of the window. All proper procedure goes out of the window. The victim instantly becomes the villain because the dead can’t speak for themselves.
Now, while the anger is certainly palpable, anyone deciding to take the lives of random officers is doing a grave disservice to the aforementioned victims AND the officers themselves. As soon as the shooting in Dallas occurred, I no longer saw any news outlets provide significant coverage of the deaths of Sterling or Castile. They went from being a top story to just another blip on the radar. The lives of the cops instantly became more important than the lives of the Black men killed, and once again, naysayers used this as an opportunity to attack the Black community. They ignore our cries, and videos, of prejudice, they label the Black Lives Matter movement a hate group and they completely absolve any crooked officers of their wrongdoings. Instead of bringing light to our plight, these police killings further draw a line in the sand between both sides. Our ability to reach a mutual understanding with one another continues to suffer as a result. While some people like to use the “violence begets violence” argument, that doesn’t work when everyone becomes more set in their respective ideals.
Ultimately, if everything I’ve written here gets lost in translation, I just want to make one thing perfectly clear: I am NOT okay with the murders of these police officers. First, their respective families now have to deal with the unexpected and unnecessary loss of a loved one. Second, the misdeeds of other officers are unfairly being taken out on the wrong people. Lastly, these incidents overshadow the larger point being made about police misconduct. In addition, the Black victims always get lost in the shuffle. In the end, I truly hope things don’t continue to get worse before they get any better. However; I should probably know better than that. Good day.