Sheets of Blood Streets of Pain

OpEdI have two sons and two grandsons; I am safe in knowing they will under all but the very worst circumstances be safe on the streets of most cities. Why and how do I know this? My sons and grandsons are White, they are Caucasian and they aren’t mentally ill, they are not in the targeted group commonly at risk when walking down the sidewalk in any city or town. For that matter, they are not at risk in their own homes except in the most extraordinary circumstances.

Other mothers, mothers of Black sons and Brown sons cannot say the same thing. Mothers of Black and Brown sons and even of Black and Brown daughters must caution their children to be wary on the streets of their neighborhoods. They must caution their children to be afraid of the police. They must be afraid each time their children go out to play, go to the store even go to school; they must be afraid their child may not return. Other mothers, an estimated five hundred (500) a year bury their children due to police violence; violence that is rarely prosecuted, frequently ignored by the press and all too often excused as ‘justified’.

2012 Compare

Racism is not dead in this nation. Shame on any of us for trying to bury the inherent and blatant racism of the United States and its people, it has always been part of our makeup and it has come roaring back in its full and awful glory in the past decade, especially since the election of our current President. It did not start in 2007 with his win over John McCain though, it started emerging as accepted political and social fodder long before this, the best example is New York City and the Stop and Frisk policy initiated under Rudy Giuliani and escalated under Michael Bloomberg.

StopNFrisk

It seems instead of moving forward toward more acceptance of diversity within society we are reverting to our inglorious past of injustice, lynch mob mentality and criminalization based on melanoma content.

What is good for one is surely not good for another; we have examples of this across the nation. In Florida, Trayvon Martin was shot down by vigilante George Zimmerman; he lay on the cold ground out in the rain and then in the morgue for hours before his family was notified their child was dead. In a travesty of justice where Trayvon was put on trial, where Trayvon was depicted as a ‘thug’ and a ‘banger’, where Trayvon’s humanity and his right to exist were called into question, his killer was exonerated for his murder. This because he, this grown man, was ‘standing his ground’. In Florida, this very same state a Black woman in fear for her life, shot a warning shot at the ceiling as her abusive husband advanced toward her, now Marissa Alexander faces the possibility of sixty (60) years in prison. Her life, her motherhood, her fear is not as palatable to the judge or the district attorney, Angela Corey, as that of George Zimmerman.  Clearly, the life of Marissa Alexander, a Black woman is not of the same value as that of George Zimmerman or Angela Corey wouldn’t be so hell bent on pursuing her with such vehement hatred where she didn’t pursue George Zimmerman with the same vehemence.

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There is clearly a war on, the lives of primarily Black men and mostly those under thirty-five are definitely at risk when out on the street of any US city or town. It doesn’t seem to matter what they are doing, whether coming home from a day at the office, sitting on their porch having a beer with friends, returning from the store or in fact otherwise engaged in legal or illegal activities; the police assume the worst and open fire. All too frequently, the police are shooting first, shooting more times than required and shooting in the back.  Let me just say this, you are not at risk or in danger if a subject is fleeing, that is running away from you. So why in the hell are you shooting to kill if someone is running away from you? Why are some of these men being shot up to ten (10) times, or even more, in the back? How does anyone justify this as a “Justified” shooting? Why are these cops still on the job?

Yesterday eighteen year-old Michael Brown was shot down in the street of Ferguson, Missouri. His body was left where it lay for four hours or more. Now as reports of this ‘sanctioned’ murder come out the police are glossing facts with fiction, making Michael into the aggressor and trying to justify yet another police kill of a young and promising Black child. The police have a very different version of the facts than what witness reports, who do you think will win in this battle? It certainly will not be young Michael Brown; his life is over before it started.

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Just two days earlier, twenty-two year-old John Crawford was gunned down in Walmart for wielding a toy gun. A toy gun you all, in Ohio one of the bastions of Open Carry. I guess Open Carry only applies to those with limited or no melanoma, certainly it didn’t apply to John Crawford who at the time he was gunned down in WalMart had in his hands an unloaded MK-177 BB/Pellet Gun he had picked up off the shelf. According to the mother of his two children, who was at the time of his sanctioned murder on the phone with him and heard everything, the police shot first and ordered him to the ground after he could no longer obey their orders; he had been put down by their bullets. Clearly, John Crawford wasn’t afforded the same legal rights, as others with pale skin would have been. Now a young man is dead and three children will grow up without their father.

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Others like these assclowns in Aurora, Colorado who walked up and down the streets with loaded shotguns trying to ‘sensitize’ civilians to open carry. I am going to guess had these young men been Black or even Hispanic the outcome would have been very different.

This is what I find ugly and horrifying, tragic.

Reasons

What is important to know, there are no official records anywhere; the police are not required by any federal agency to self-report their own bad behavior. They are not required to track or maintain records on brutality, violence or murder. They do not provide this information to any other agency. Though there are some records, they are gathered through many sources and backbreaking legwork. Trying to find any sort of statistics, especially on a national level is nearly impossible since there is no single source. I commend those who have done the work to try to gather the information and provide at least some evidence of vigilante brutality that exists today, not just within the police forces nationally but across our justice system and embedded in our psyche.  The two reports I found that seemed to provide the best I have included here:

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

Information Clearing House

I have included others as well, where information on both recent and historical data can be found and is important to read.

Based on the information I found, there is a person of color, primarily a Black Man and primarily a young Black Man murdered in vigilante justice, usually by the police somewhere between every 24 to 28 hours in the United States. We do not hear about most of these killings. The murderers are rarely penalized for their actions. Since 9/11 there have been approximately five thousand (5,000) vigilante murders by on-duty police / security guard and stand your ground murders in the United States. More than 75% of these are against Black people, less than 10% of these are against White people and most White people killed by police are killed after police stand-offs in highly publicized cases.

Something has to change. The motto of ‘Protect and Serve’ is no longer valid, especially not in predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods of our cities and towns. The police are militarized and the “War on Drugs” has turned into something far more insidious and damaging to our nation and our people. We must stop turning away and pretending this isn’t genocide, it is. We must stop looking at other nations and speaking out against the genocide there until we begin to clean up what is broken here. This isn’t just bad behavior, it is murder and it is more than killing individuals, it is killing of entire communities and vital lifeblood within them.

We must stop this. Those of us with the will, the heart and the soul to stand up must stand up and say enough. We must stop turning a blind eye to the terrible ugliness within this nation and our people. We must fight back and demand justice for all the dead children, they are our children and our future.

Sign the petition for federal laws to force better policing:http://www.change.org/petitions/president-barack-obama-please-enact-new-federal-laws-to-protect-citizens-from-police-violence-and-misconduct?share_id=oCtNFmJSac&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

 

http://www.nyclu.org/node/1598

http://www.nyclu.org/content/stop-and-frisk-data

http://theobamacrat.com/2014/08/10/are-black-lives-important-in-a-caucasian-world-of-white-privilege/

http://ushypocrisy.com/2014/08/10/ferguson-police-shoot-and-kill-another-unarmed-black-teenager-in-cold-blood-refuse-to-identify-name-of-shooter/

http://www.infowars.com/americans-killed-by-cops-now-outnumber-americans-killed-in-iraq-war/

Dragging Baggage

18f8d6bbabeadaf291971b7c3a5dd3edIt is all too often true we carry all our baggage with us everywhere we go, dragging it behind on wheels run down and bare from all the use they have seen.  If we reach any age at all, with any experience at all we have baggage it is impossible for any of us too get through life without it. What we do with all that luggage though, how we handle it that is an entirely different issue.

Fundamentally, I am a good person. I am kind, generous and loving to my family and friends.

That is how I would like to think of myself most of the time. My life hasn’t always been simple, nor has it always been easy. It has left me a bit banged up, physically and emotionally. I have a just a few scars; some of them are very visible, left on my body so every single time I look in the mirror I see them. When I see those scars, when I look at them in the mirror, my first reaction is to close my eyes, turn away as I think others would do when first gazing on them. Other scars, they aren’t so visible left on my heart and soul, though sometimes I think when I look in the mirror I see them too.

My reality is I am frequently less than secure about both my physical appearance and how lovable or deserving of love I am.

Recently I had to confront some of my baggage. One of the problems I have is acknowledging that anyone would be interested in what is on my mind, what might be truly bothering me and why anyone would care. For so long, for most of my life, my needs and concerns have taken a backseat to everyone else’s and I have been the caretaker. I have taken care of everyone else, I have been the breadwinner, the responsible one the person who had to be ‘strong’, even when I was the one injured I had to be strong for everyone around me. I got use to never asking for help. It became ingrained in me too not show weakness, not give in to fear and not talk about my feelings or ask for what I needed.

I learned I did not matter. I think what I learned is ‘I’ did not exist except to make other people’s lives easier.060410-travel1-kristen

That is a terrible lesson; it is a very hard truth to drag behind you on wobbly wheels with a bent frame. This is especially true when as a human being the natural instinct is to reject that lesson, to fight the loss of ‘I’, to want to be seen and heard, even when we might not know how to raise our hand or our voice. My instinct when something is wrong? To retreat into my head, if asked give half answers or no answer at all safe in the knowledge no one is interested, instead, they are asking just to be polite. Until very recently, this has been mostly the case. Conversations, even with friends and family have tilted toward one of two types. Either competitive ‘my pain is worse than yours’ where no matter what I said it always ended up about them, their pain, their sadness, their hardships. The other style is always the fixer, the person who listens to half of what I say and tells me how to fix it, in the process blames me for the problem. In both cases of course, they don’t really hear me aren’t really listening and clearly don’t really give two tinkers damn about how I feel, thus over the years I have learned it is far easier to simply live inside my head.

When we love, we offer our whole selves even the baggage. What we hope for is we can explain why it exists and that someone will help us drag it along behind us.

What is unexpected is, someone who loves us back and enough to say drop the baggage I am not your past or your bellhop; forcing us to confront our history and examine our behaviors in new light.

Our luggage often includes insecurities, bad behaviors and false fronts. If we are forced to lay down our baggage, open it up and throw out all the old ratty stuff we have packed away it can be a painful experience, even while we are lightening our load. We are not our insecurities, though they may have made up the extra weight they are not who we are at the core, they are simply what was added over the years by others. This was one of my hard lessons recently, I don’t know that it is entirely learned I am still insecure. I am still me, my history still lives firmly in my head and the voices still whisper, ‘not worthy, not lovable’. Nevertheless, I am learning slowly those voices are my history not my present and they are liars. I am learning also it is okay to be afraid, to show some weakness and to say I am both I am learning I don’t have to always be strong, I think this one is even harder to learn for me. I have spent so many years guarded, so many years not crossing emotional lines; I am still finding my way through this one.

dance

When I started this blog, I did so to give myself a release valve, for my thinking, my feelings, my history even. What I found was so much more, including the potential of love. Now I just have to learn to let my history go, let myself be loved and let my demons dance the way they deserve without the impediment of baggage.

Remembering James Brady: “A Legend At The White House.” Brady Dies At Age 73.

James Brady dead at 73, a stark reminder to us all of the devastation guns can have in the wrong hands. Still we fight the battle to control guns on our streets.

The Case FOR Palestine/Gaza. The Case AGAINST Zionist Israel……And Words From Sarah Palin As Well.

I have not been able to write this myself, thankfully someone else did.

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