I have never addressed a topic of this much sensitivity on this blog. However, as a black woman, as a human being, I would be remiss if I did not express my views on this topic.
According to the Washington Post, 558 people have been shot DEAD by police this year. This data is based on news reports, public records, Internet databases and original reporting.
If one person were to kill 558 people, they would be considered a serial killer. A mass murderer.
If a group of people were to kill 558 people, they would be considered a mob, a mafia, a gang or a terrorist organization.
As I read through most of these shootings, a lot of them were of people who were wielding weapons, knives and guns, and were in the act of or attempting to do harm to others or the police. In such cases, those killings could be justified as necessary in order to protect the innocent.
Some could argue that police should be taught how to disarm an assailant without killing them. However, there is the belief that if the person is not shot dead they could still shoot or stab an officer or an innocent bystander.
So, for the sake of argument, let’s leave the shooting of armed people out of this equation.
Is it necessary to shoot and kill someone that is holding a stick?
That is what happened to Darren Billy Wilson.
Is it necessary to shoot someone in the head for not having a front license plate?
That is what happened to Samuel Dubose.
Is it necessary to shoot and kill someone that is unarmed and simply trying to get away? Someone that only got into a fist fight?
That is what happened to Albert Joseph Davis.
Is it necessary to shoot and kill someone that doesn’t want to be handcuffed and arrested for a simple traffic stop?
That is what happened to Darrius Stewart. He was only 19.
Is it necessary to shoot and kill someone that punches you in the face?
That is what happened to Salvado Ellswood.
Is it necessary to shoot and kill someone that is standing outside of a car dealership after its burglar alarm went off?
That is what happened to John Deming. And he was white.
All of these incidents happened this month. How many more will happen over the next few days to end July 2015?
For me, the issue isn’t black or white, although the number of unarmed black men being killed is despondent compared to the number of unarmed white men being killed.
For me, the issue is excessive force. I am not a police officer. I never have been. I wouldn’t begin to presume that I know anything about upholding the law. I cannot imagine how scary it is to be a police officer these days.
I also have the utmost respect for authority. I was raised not to question authority and to obey the laws. I was also raised to obey, even when the person doesn’t deserve obedience based on their behavior, because it should always be based on respecting their role and not letting who they are as a person affect that.
I have also had very positive experiences with officers, even when I got tickets. I cannot say that I personally have ever been treated unfairly by a police officer.
With all of that being said, the amount of force used on unarmed people is overwhelming. In 2015, with all of this technology, couldn’t officers be armed with tranquilizer guns, taser bullets, or something that could knock someone out instantly without killing them or sending them to the hospital.
You shoot them. They fall asleep. They wake up in jail. Everyone is safe. And alive.
Is that too much to ask?