In recent weeks tensions have risen in America between the African American population and law enforcement across the country. This recent burst of anger comes from yet another pair of black men being gunned down in this country. Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile were both victims of police shooting this week which led to a series of anti-police brutality, and Black Lives Matter protests across the US. One such protest was ended abruptly with gunfire as 5 Officers were killed by gunman Micah Johnson. It’s clear that this violence, on both sides, stems from racial tensions that go back farther than any of us can remember. These days it’s not as blatant but it’s still there causing big issues.
Alton Sterling was shot several times by police officers who thought he was reaching for his gun which in the video he appears not to be moving his arms. Alton Sterling’s death was quickly defended by bringing up the man’s less than pristine history with the law. This does not justify a murder, let me make this clear that whatever wrongdoing a person has done in their life does not make it ok for them to be gunned down by law enforcement without the proper procedure for arresting, or handling these kinds of situations.
Philando Castile was shot in the chest shortly after being pulled over for a traffic stop. Castille was licensed to carry a concealed weapon which he informed the officer about. Castile was then ordered to retrieve his license and registration but was shot when he went to reach into his back pocket. The officer thought he was reaching for his weapon and shot him. Castile had no record for the media or any other nay-sayer to show, this was a simple case of racism coming out in the form of fear.
This is always the case in these shootings, that people are always thought to be reaching for a weapon and that’s why they are killed. Fair enough, police do have one of the most dangerous jobs and it’s very likely that they could also be killed. I had a friend remind me after these shooting that there was once a rally for the confederate flag dilemma that took place last year in Georgia where many of the white protesters were carrying their weapons with them. One famous photo was captured showing a protester with his hand ON HIS PISTOL, while an assault type weapon can be seen slung over his shoulder. Yet besides clearly wanting to take his weapon out and gun down the Anti-Confederate flag protester this man lives and does not have several gunshots in his body. I’m sorry but this seems insanely hypocritical to me and it’s a blatantly obvious case of racism in the justice department.
Now after these shootings occurred there were 5 officers shot in Dallas during a peaceful protest. The shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson was a military veteran who after an investigation was found to have a grudge against white people in America from the recent outburst of black people deaths from police, and specifically targeted white police officers in this shooting. Eventually, Johnson was killed by an explosive device attached to the arm of a bomb-defusing robot. This attack is also an extension of the racial tensions between the black community and law enforcement. This is disheartening for all involved and these shootings are something that you don’t want to happen in America.
What this all comes down to is that we as a country need to come together and have a conversation about this racism of all kinds and levels. To come together and change and love one another. Hate only creates more hate, but if we stop the hate and live peacefully this never has to happen again. My thoughts go out to the families of Castile, Sterling, and the 5 officers shot in Dallas in hopes that this racial disparity can be solved soon.