The news of so much killing and murder is kicking my ass. It’s scary when you have to avoid watching the news out of self preservation. Each time, I grieve a little. It’s a different kind of grief, though. It’s not like losing a family member. These are strangers being killed, and the media is doing it’s damndest to make certain there is a new wave of outcry over the blatant injustice every time. Every time has become daily. Every fucking day, someone is being killed over what’s portrayed as petty. We’re driven into a collective rage over it, but we’re raging for different reasons.
Some of us are raging because it’s so common that we believe we’re unsafe merely by existing in America, and that’s not how things should be in an allegedly free country. Some of us are raging because it’s so common that we believe there has to be more to the situation than we’re being given. We just can’t wrap our minds around the concept of a minor traffic stop resulting in death. Something else must have provoked the killing. Was it something the victim did that we’re not being told? Was it because the killer is so racist, that they used a traffic stop as an excuse to murder? What is going on, and why is it happening practically every day?
I know a few things that I try to keep in mind for perspective. Some cops have been killing men of color, the homeless/poor, and the mentally ill for incredibly questionable reasons since I’ve existed. These cops, (not all cops), who have been using their badge in order to be a murderer have had decades of impunity for these murders. Nobody who cared could afford to seek justice. It’s not free. If you can’t afford an attorney, an attorney will be appointed… That doesn’t apply to the widow of a man of color, whom she believes was killed for walking while being of color. Her recourse is to hire legal representation to pursue justice. If she cannot afford to hire representation that is capable of pursuing any sort of action against the police, that avenue is closed.
This doesn’t apply to the family member whose loved one died under mysterious circumstances while in police custody. The mentally ill loved one, who needed daily medication in order to function, is highly vulnerable in custody. If they had the kind of money that could challenge a suspicious death, that mentally ill loved one probably wouldn’t end up in police custody in the first place. The same applies to the homeless/poor. I don’t want to know how many mentally ill and/or poor people have died in jail because their illness or situation pissed off a sociopathic guard. I don’t want to know because I can’t process anymore grief right now. I do know that it happens far too often.
The biggest difference now, is that it’s constantly in our faces. You can’t turn on a screen without being reminded that you’re living in a nation where sudden death by gunfire is a real and present danger in the lives of all of us. A lot of people of color will tell you that the only thing that has changed is the fact that people are getting video evidence of these crimes, and releasing them to the public. The media is then using this footage to further their own agendas. The most obvious agenda being financially driven. When America is collectively frantic and afraid, we tend to tune in to the news. And in doing so, we’re being fed the details that have proven to evoke the desired reaction. We get collectively angry, and look for someone to blame. We come up with all sorts of theories, but none of them account for all of the violence every time.
This latest murderer ambushed police officers during a demonstration in order to wreak the most havok by sniper fire. In Dallas. I get the parallels to the JFK assassination, but find no significance. It hasn’t been long enough for the really juicy conspiracy theories to arise. Terrorism isn’t limited to any race. All races have people in them who do unbelievably hateful, and violent things. Killing those cops was pretty fucking horrific. Everything about his methodology screams coward. It’s cowardly to ambush innocent people and kill them in order to suit your agenda.
There is a lot of pain and hatred going around because institutional racism is finally visible to people of all races. It was so much easier to be in denial, and not know that this has been going on. But now we have to put forth diligent effort just to avoid encountering news about such violence. We’re living in the days of instant and constant information, and a lot of it is bad news. I suppose some have decided to rage against all cops, because of what a few did. But it’s incredibly lazy, harmful thinking. If you do that, you’re thinking like the loser who ambushed and killed those cops. He didn’t go after specific cops who have been accused of killing innocent people. He shot cops at random. He didn’t care if he killed the innocent or the guilty. He only cared about his own rage. And that’s just so fucked up.
I knew immediately that he would be identified as former military. It’s not like you can get sniper training in gym class. The military does teach you to be effectively lethal with a weapon. They don’t teach you to kill citizens in your own fucking country, though. Friendly fire is totally frowned on. There will absolutely be those with this same mindset, who think this loser was justified in randomly murdering innocent cops, because some other cops killed some other people. It’s not reasonable. Not even close. And now he’s dead. And 6 cops are dead. Dead is forever.
I feel sad for those who were robbed of their loved ones. It hurts so much, I know. I’m thinking of all the people who live in Dallas, and how terrifying it must feel to have something like this happen so close to home. I feel for everyone who’s feeling shaken by this. Witnessing such violence, even on video after the fact, is draining on such a deep level. It’s natural to feel these things when facing such times. The important thing is that we band together and comfort one another. We do have the power to make this all stop. We all just have to do our part in being a good citizen. The type of citizen that doesn’t infringe on the rights of other citizens over pettiness and insignificant variations in skin color.
We are all strongest together. We vary in many ways, but at our core, we are the same. The variations are what make life interesting. They are certainly not reasons to hate. I’m not saying we all have to love one another, join hands, and sing Kumbaya. I’m saying we all deserve to live our lives without fear of being ended prematurely over some ridiculous bullshit. Don’t kill people. Just don’t do it. Don’t. Life is precious. It’s short enough as it is. Every single person existing on this planet right now is part of what makes us great as a species. Every one. You. You are part of what makes us a great species. If one person is killed, we’re not as great, and we all lose. We are humanity. We. All of us. Together in the same group.
When an athlete makes an incredible feat of athleticism, we all feel a little bit of awe over what a fellow human being has accomplished. It’s personal, even though it’s not always easy to identify why. Why do we feel victorious when our team wins a game? Because we are part of the species that produced that team with those talents. When NASA publishes close-up photos of distant planets after decades of space travel, we feel pride in humanity, because humanity is freakin’ awesome. All of us, together, are incredible. Live tolerantly. Don’t kill people. We need us. We are us.
Update: I left out a group of people who have been, and are also living in fear due to the history of wrongful deaths while in custody. The Transgender Community are also extremely vulnerable while in custody. They also end up dead with shaky at best explanations to their loved ones. Nobody should have to live in fear of sudden death because a few hateful cowards decide to abuse their authority. It’s wrong. It’s unjust. It’s incompatible with being a good American citizen. Live tolerantly. Don’t let hatred own you.