Silver Lining Playbooks

On December 8, 2014, in Past Morning Briefs, by David

I’m not OK with the murder of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. I’m not OK with the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. I’m not OK with the murder of Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY. I’m not OK with the murder of Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, and I’m definitely not OK with the five additional slaughters of un-armed or lightly armed black men (that we know about) by not black police officers in the last week.

imagesI don’t believe that the incidence of black-on-black violence being around 91% has any relevance in this issue, in much the same way that I don’t believe that the incidence of white-on-white violence being around 83% impacts this either. I do believe that this outbreak of inter-racial police-vs.-citizen murders was perpetrated by paid government authority figures who could have easily avoided shooting, or strangling, much less killing their victims.

Further, I’m extraordinarily concerned that the underlying incidents prior to these murders, whether indirectly or directly related to the act of killing itself, was, in order: carrying Skittles and wearing a hoodie, stealing a box of cigarillos, selling untaxed cigarettes, and a 12-year old waving a pellet gun.

There’s also the accidental shooting of a completely innocent man in a New York City stairwell, a man shot and killed for putting his hands in his pockets and taking them out, and a man shot in the head twice on Hollywood Blvd., killed, then handcuffed while his head was lying in the gutter.

America is a lot of things. It’s also not a lot of things that it used to be or claimed to be whether it was or wasn’t. It’s no longer the undisputed world authority in peace-keeping, nation-building, monetary policy, unpolluted democracy, women’s and minority’s rights and safety, a functional political system, health-care, the promise of upward mobility, the keeping of international law, and much much more.

But there is a bigger promise being broken in recent days, and it’s a promise we need to start focusing on and re-committing ourselves to with unwavering vigor in the days ahead. America stands for the, perhaps not literally codified, promise that people here don’t get gunned down in cold blood constantly and consciously by paid functionaries of our government for absolutely no good reason whatsoever.

We are looking at a three-month window of high profile killings by the police force of America over virtually nothing. Cops are unloading their guns on human beings who represent virtually no real threat to them, murdering them in cold blood, and are in turn being exonerated by the legal system, with an assist to elected district attorneys (who must be voted OUT) and it’s happening at an accelerating rate.

That is not America. This needs to stop. Right Now.images-1

And immediately thereafter, we need to work hard on over-turning ridiculous “Stand Your Ground” and concealed carry laws that are putting millions of lives in danger over a danger that is contrived mainly as an excuse to sell guns. From there, we need to do what the gun-fear-mongers are screaming that politicians are trying to do, but they’re really not, but they really should – we need to figure out how to take away their guns. At least as many of the voluminous, unnecessary, unsecured guns which are for more likely utilized in a crime of passion, a gun-cleaning accident, an accidental child murder or a mass shooting by a mentally ill, meds-addled, hormone-imbalanced, video game violence-numbed sociopath.

Perhaps there would be less shootings, beatings, macings and tasings by police if we provided them with more pro-active, defensive equipment such as bullet proof jackets, helmets and face shields, and on-board video. Provide more options to work with a strong defense, instead of claiming the need to always leap to offense. And if we are unable to figure out how to disarm or de-escalate without launching into civil war, we absolutely need to figure out how to get them – every last one of them, including the police, when there is no need for them to use them – to put their weapons down.

Here’s the Silver Lining. One core competence America had completely seceded long since the Vietnam War, Watergate, and the first and second Iraq Wars is now something we are starting to learn how to do all over again. Maybe this time we’ll learn how to do it right, and to full effect: America is re-learning how to protest.images-2We are learning how to, sometimes peacefully, sometimes angrily, oft-times inarticulately or just plain badly, protest injustice and systemic, government-funded and/or condoned murder and corruption. I love that members of the St. Louis Rams football team have not only used their voices in the past two weeks to draw attention to these issues. And I am spiritually uplifted that in each game they’ve protested, they’ve won. By a shutout. Try adding Kharma to your Playbook.

#Occupy. #HandsUpDon’tShoot. #ICan’tBreathe. It’s not enough, but it’s a start. Our Passive Aggressive Republic needs to be dragged, kicking and screaming if need be, into the modern age of dialogue. Plus we need to do some good, old-fashioned problem-solving. Time to start speaking up. Time to stop the killing. Conscious Dialogue. It’s our best chance to turn the tide. And it’s past time for that tide to be turned.

“How long? Not long! Because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.


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