Black or Blue, Lives Matter

cops

This morning I heard a news pundit on CNN commenting on the horrible attacks on police in Dallas and the police shooting of a driver in Minnesota during which he referred to the “African American/Hispanic” community. He said it as if they are one and the same. This got me thinking. They are not the same. We are a nation divided by numerous cultures. And these cultures are increasingly at each other’s throats.

News of yesterday’s shooting of police in Dallas, Texas left me feeling pretty numb this morning as I prepared for a work day. Five brave men were killed and seven others were shot apparently by a 25 year old black man who claimed to be acting alone because he was upset at white people. Before being killed by police trying to apprehend him, he said he wanted to kill white people, especially cops.

This young man lived in a Dallas suburb and had served six years in the Army Reserves. Sadly there is little doubt he was influenced by the hateful, and ignorant comments made in recent years by many including our President, the Democratic Presidential nominee and the organization Black Lives Matter. They’ve all given voice to the myth that there is a systematic (as Obama has said) or systemic (as Clinton has said) racist problem among America’s police forces.

My unique persepctive: I’m a 50+ year old white man. Thirty-two years ago I met and later married a black woman. We were married 28 years and lived together over 30. I have three kids, 2 are adults, all of whom identify as black. After my divorce I was fortunate to meet and get into a relationship with a beautiful Mexican woman who came to the U.S. at age 13 and became a legal citizen in her 20s. For most of the past year we’ve seen each other 5-6 days per week.

The black community in the very liberal Seattle area where I live is distinct and separate from the white community and certainly from the Hispanic community. Generally speaking they live lives much different, with much different views, different interests, different celebrities, and different heroes than the nearly all-white suburban Seattle community in which I grew up.

It’s no different in the Hispanic community. Though my Mexican-American girlfriend was smart and professionally accomplished and had lived in both Seattle and San Diego, California for her entire adult life her knowledge of most pop or celebrity or sports personalities, events or history that I and many others take for granted was close to zero. And the same was true of many of her Hispanic friends from work and church. Hispanic people, at least in the Seattle-Tacoma area, associate with and live amongst themselves having little interaction with whites, or black either.

I’m confident were I to embed myself as thoroughly in the Asian or Gay communities I would be writing the same thing about them.

These different and diverse communities are not talking to one another. At best they’re talking at each other. At worst, they’re yelling at each other.

The Black Lives Matter movement was established on a lie that continues to be perpetrated and continues to harden the hearts of African-Americans across the country. If you’re black and you’re raised to believe that police are racist and that they WILL shoot you; of course you’re going to defend yourself and shoot back, or fight, or resist arrest. The same is true of Hispanics. Black Lives Matter, Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton and much of the news media nationwide fed the beast that said Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri was an innocent and sweet little teenager who was gunned down by a cop for no good reason while Brown had his hands raised, essentially giving himself up. It’s a myth, but a widely believed myth.

Here are the facts: Little to no evidence exists that Brown had his hands raised and was humbly subjugating himself to a police officer. Witnesses who initially made such claims, recanted them when interviewed by police. There is clear evidence that Brown robbed a convenience store just prior to his confrontation with police. He assaulted the store clerk. He assaulted the police officer and tried to take his gun. And upon withdrawing from an initial scuffle charged the police officer before being shot. And Michael Brown was 6-foot 5-inches tall and weighed 289 pounds. Not a little guy.

While not to the same extent these myths or exaggerations have also been forwarded in numerous other police shootings and in the Travon Martin case. It’s a narrative that has infected the black community, the separate and at times isolated black community. It’s also permeated the Hispanic community. How many people think Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump hates Mexicans because he called them all rapists and drug dealers? He never said that. NEVER. But you believe he did because its been so reported on social media and even some mainstream media. What Trump said was a reference to illegal immigrants NOT all Mexicans or Hispanics. And he didn’t say all of them were rapists and drug dealers. He actually and accurately said, “Many of them are nice people” in the sort-of off the cuff manner that has endeared him with many and caused rancor with his opponents (It should be pointed out that these opponents wouldn’t support Trump if he had a halo above his head and angel’s wings on his back).

While the United States remains approximately 63% white that number has been decreasing for decades and is not likely to reverse course. Nor is it likely to reverse course that these divided communities will come together when we continue to elect leaders who repeatedly and strategically divide us with their rhetoric and activities.

I love the differences in the people and communities in which I have been in indoctrinated. And I love that I have almost always been eagerly welcomed in those communities. But when you’re the only white guy or gringo in the room, as has been my case many, many, many times over the past 30+ years you notice. And so do they.

What has always worked for me is to be curious and interested in the people with whom I’m around. And when difference come up I’m not afraid to talk about them. I think its helped me many times over the years.

We’re all Americans. We’re not “us” and “them”. Having separate racial, or cultural communities is fine. But lets not act like one is better than the other…as the whites, the black, the hispanics and I suppose others have done too often in recent years. Cops are NOT trying to kill black people. Those bad ones who make mistakes should justly be punished. But treat each case individually and please, please, please reject the demigods who claim systemic or systematic racism that simply doesn’t exist. Read the meaning of the words if you don’t know what it means…Hillary.

In the infamous words of another bad guy who was portrayed as a victim, “Can’t we all just get along”?

Your thoughts are welcome. Thanks for visiting.

 

Call for Video Production Services: 425-687-0100

Did Michael Brown get What he Deserved?

Let me start by mentioning that I get it. I get that many people are upset that a young man is dead in a senseless act of violence. I get the need and desire to assert blame and hold someone accountable for a life being taken.

Eighteen year old Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri August 9, 2014 by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. His death sparked massive protests and riots in and around Ferguson at the time, and again last night when the county prosecuting attorney reported a Grand Jury’s verdict that Wilson was justified in the shooting.

I’m angered by the violence and senseless destruction by people who aren’t seeking justice. My guess is most of them are opportunists looking for every chance they can to be destructive and to steal. It takes a senseless violent episode and puts it on steroids. It makes a tragic situation much worse. How did the small business owners and their employees who have no job to return to today bear any responsibility for the shooting or the Grand Jury’s verdict? Explaining away such outrage as mere emotional responses to tough news is outrageous in itself. These people are thugs and criminals, not protesters; and they’re not to be respected. They’re not patriots to be viewed in the same positive light as past Americans who exercised mostly non-violent protests to convey need for change. The American tradition is not molotov cocktails, burning buildings, and assaults on police officers.

What we know about the shooting is this. Michael Brown stole a package of small cigars at a convenience store. He assaulted a store employee who tried to stop him as he left the building. Unlike what had previously been reported we now know through the Grand Jury transcripts that officer Wilson knew of this crime and suspected Brown of being the perpetrator when he came upon him and a friend of Brown, Dorian Johnson, as they walked down the middle of a street that August afternoon. We know that Wilson stopped his patrol car in the middle of the street, confronted Brown and Johnson, and that Brown attacked Wilson and tried to kill him when he tried to take the police officers gun as they wrestled inside the police cruiser. A gun shot was fired during the altercation and Brown’s hand was grazed with the bullet causing considerable bleeding. Blood was found in the car and outside on the street. And gun powder was found on Brown’s wound indicating a shot from very close proximity.

What we also know is that Brown, though only 18, was a fully grown man. He was 6-foot 4-inches and weighed 292 pounds. That’s a huge man! And angry huge men are very intimidating. I’m not as big as Brown, but at 6′ 1″ I know my temper can and has intimidated others in my past. The blood on the street indicates that Brown walked away from the confrontation in the car, but then turned around and came back at Wilson; a span of 21 feet. Wilson says Brown was attacking him again and had a fierce look on his face “as that of a demon”. That’s when Wilson fired the series of fatal shots.

By turning to walk back to the officer we know one thing. Brown was not afraid or concerned that Wilson had a gun; which leads me to ask the protesters what would you do if someone who just attacked you, tried to steal your gun and shoot you, was now coming back at you (21 feet is not just a few steps)? Would you try to talk with him, calm him down, run from him (if you could. Remember Wilson was in or near his car)? Can you seriously say you would do anything different from what Wilson did?

The death was senseless! Of this there is no debate. But it was senseless because this hulking young man committed some senseless acts including attacking a police officer who was trying to talk with or detain a suspect in a crime.

Michael Brown ought to be on Thanksgiving break from college this week, as he was planning on furthering his education. He ought to be hanging with friends and preparing to watch Thursday football and stuff what must have been an enormous appetite with turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, candied yams, and whatever else his family puts on the table to celebrate that for which they are grateful. He ought to be. But he’s dead. And he’s dead because of, based on a preponderance of evidence, his own choices.

It sucks. It’s sad. It’s even maddening. It shouldn’t have happened. But until this country solves its race problems it’s going to happen again. Police and others in authority need to completely wipe out and eliminate all people responsible for truly guilty acts of unnecessary violence and discrimination. And African-Americans need to vigorously fight such people and such acts. But they shouldn’t cry wolf every time an African-American is hurt, killed, or jailed because of their own criminal behavior. Such explosive outcries only foment distrust and hatred. And its my belief this distrust and hatred is learned, and was at the forefront of Michael Brown’s mind when he took the steps toward Darren Wilson that ended his young life.