How Many More Times?

So we now have the cellphone video of a police officer in South Carolina shooting an unarmed man eight times in the back as the man attempts to run away. The cop has been terminated from his position, arrested, and charged with murder. This is what needed to be done in response to the officer’s actions.

But let’s pause for a moment and consider this fact: The cop pulled over Walter Scott for an issue with his brake light. Let me say that again: His brake light! Since when do the police feel a need to pull someone over for something so trivial? Considering that the officer, Michael Slager, had a previous complaint of excessive force filed against him, it was probably only a matter of time before he killed a person and then attempted to frame the innocent victim. But do we really need police harassing people over brake lights? Don’t they have better things to do?

The events we have witnessed this week via that cellphone video had been brewing for months. Despite what the right wing wants to say about Michael Brown not having his hands raised, the bottom line is this: a young black man was killed by a police officer. In New York, Eric Garner was choked to death by the police for the terrible crime of selling loose cigarettes on the street!

Now we know what we have always suspected: Cops shoot unarmed black men all the time in America, and, even worse, they usually get away with it. So let us stipulate those as the facts and perhaps then we can attempt to properly address the problem.

Conservatives, most notably the ignorant minions of the status quo on Fox News, love to say there is no racism in the United States and then use as their proof the fact that we elected a black man to the White House twice. But when I hear that kind of ignorance, my Bullshit Meter goes off like a bank vault alarm. They say we live in a “post-racial” society, and to that I offer this: If we do indeed live in such a society, would you trade places with a young black man in the Southeast?

Unlike the know-it-alls on the right, I don’t pretend to have all the answers to the problems that confront our country, especially not one as difficult as how we learn to treat those who are different from us with love, respect, and tolerance. But I do have a suggestion: Let’s admit there is a problem and dedicate ourselves to making a change for the better.

Otherwise, with just as much as sadness and anger, history will repeat itself.

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