All day today I’ve listened to it. All last night I listened to it. Just got done tonight reading about it. And I can seriously barely contain my irritation and frustration. So I’m pounding on the keyboard right now (sorry little Mac) and hoping to get some thoughts out so I can get some peace.
And honestly, all I can think is, seriously, what in the hell did they think was going to happen? A young, BLACK man in police custody (meaning handcuffed and OBVIOUSLY unarmed) has his spinal cord nearly severed and then dies after a week in a coma. In police custody.
Why the hell would anyone think there WOULDN’T be riots in Baltimore?
I most certainly am not condoning the violence in any way, shape or form. Violence is not an answer. Ever.
But a young man dying because his spinal cord is nearly severed, while in police custody, is absolutely, without-a-doubt wrong. On so many levels.
And honestly, what’s another peaceful protest going to do anyway? I mean let’s get down to it, shall we? How is a little peaceful protest going to change anything? Have police departments listened thus far? Did the peaceful protests after Michael Brown lead to any change? Or actually, we need to go further back, don’t we? Did the peaceful protests about Trayvon Martin’s death cause any changes? Nope. Good ol’ George Zimmerman got to live another day, didn’t he? Still out there on the streets, wielding his guns. Did Michael Brown’s killer face any charges? Nope. How about Eric Gardner in New York? Walter Scott in South Carolina? And now Freddie Gray in Baltimore. I know I missed some of the black men who have been killed by police in the last few months. I’m irritated and frustrated and my brain is a big old mish-mosh right now.
Again, I’m not advocating violence.
But I sure think I understand it. And if anything is going to change, then a whole bunch of people better start trying to understand it also. We are fast approaching the boiling point and who knows what’s going to explode next. Critical mass. The pent-up frustrations and fears of people all across this country are going to gel into something that could be disastrous for our ideals of a free democracy.
I am sorry Baltimore is being devastated. I am sorry innocent peoples’ livelihoods and personal property is being destroyed. But if someone, somewhere doesn’t start trying to understand where this violence is coming from, we’re going to see a lot more of it.
I’ve heard so many takes on it. I’ve heard so many people blaming and pointing fingers and calling others names and critiquing decisions made. And I’m so sick of it I almost ripped the stereo out of the dashboard and threw it out of the window on the way home tonight.
Sure, we can start dredging up Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and belittling those today who aren’t living up to King’s ideals and ways of doing things. But this isn’t 1965, it’s 2015. And I would venture to say, even though I wasn’t alive then and so obviously have no clue about what it was like, I would venture to say that we haven’t made it very far, have we? Sure, we got ourselves a “blackish” President (his words the other night, not mine). We also just got ourselves a twofer–a black female US Attorney General. But what’s better now in the race relations department? How is life better for the average young black male? I don’t live it. I’m not a young, black male. In fact, I’m a pretty privileged, old, white female. (I know, really?) So my life experiences are so far removed from what a young black male lives today that I shouldn’t even be attempting to write a single, damn word about this. As if I know how they feel. As if I know what they face each and every single, damn day. As if.
Once more, for the record, I don’t think violence is the answer. But if I try to think about putting myself in a young, black male’s shoes, I sure as hell think I can imagine the frustration, the fear, the rage.
Come on America. We need to start thinking about getting our collective shit together. (Pardon my crudity.) A person should not die of a nearly severed spinal cord while handcuffed and at the mercy of policemen. That is grotesque and frightening and downright disgusting. And honestly, we will probably never know as those police officers will likely NEVER tell the truth.
I can tell you that if I was a young, black male I would be pretty scared to walk down the street for fear I’d look at someone the wrong way and end up dead, killed by a policeman. And if I had more skin in the game, I just might find myself heading to the latest site of the latest injustice to take part in protesting this sorry state.
If Dr. King hadn’t journeyed all across the south, to be with those who were suffering injustices and then speaking out and standing up to them, it is likely the movement may not have advanced as it did. Just because someone doesn’t live in Baltimore doesn’t mean they can’t go to Baltimore to lend their voice and their presence. Just because someone doesn’t live in Baltimore doesn’t mean they aren’t affected. Should they travel to Baltimore and commit heinous acts of violence? No. And that’s not what I’m saying. Should anyone be allowed to show up and suit up, so to speak? Yes. Their fight is our fight. Doesn’t matter where it’s happening–South Carolina, Missouri, Maryland–the problem is it’s happening. And is continuing to do so.
What if Dr. King had stayed home and said “not my problem, not my fight, I’m not a garbage collector, I’m not a bus rider in Montgomery?”
So to all those people who are upset that “foreigners” are coming to Baltimore and getting involved, I would think you’d want the help. (Obviously, yet once again let me say this, not to commit violent acts.)
I’m losing steam, so I guess that’s a good sign that the pressure relief valve has worked for the moment. I’m sure I’ll read an asinine comment here or there and will find myself all worked up again. For now, I’m not going to read anything else tonight. I’m going to attempt to commune with the Universe and send thoughts of peace and calm to Maryland…and South Carolina…and New York…and Missouri..and to all the parents and family members of the young men who have been so brutally killed in senseless acts of violence.