I’m not sure what’s worse–the fact that Walter Scott was brutally murdered by a law enforcdment officer in this “land of the free”, or the fact that when I cried last night upon watching the video, I felt like I was faking it in hindsight.
I sorta liken it to when my father died last year from stage 4 lung/liver cancer. When I got the call saying he was dead, I let out a scream and teared up for a bit, and then it was just numbness for the rest of that day. I knew it was going to happen. It didn’t shock me.
I wanted to feel something last night, I REALLY wanted to. But it seems we have crossed the Rubicon regarding police brutality in this country. Nothing’s shocking. To me anyway.
What also doesn’t shock me is the apologists I’ve seen on various websites and Fox News trying to sweep this thing under the rug. I had to dig to find any link, video or just an article, on the shooting. The first one I found? A video with the caption “Protesters Interrupt presser on fatal police shooting in SC”. You know, as if the protesters are bad people for demanding that this incident finally be the tipping point to start cascading reforms on how police do things. By the way, they weren’t “interrupting”.
I mean, as long as “interrupting” isn’t the same thing as “asking questions” in your head. “Good God, we can’t have people asking questions! Then they’ll find out about the crack I sprinkled on another dead body on my way to get Chinese for lunch. This questioning of my authority is upsetting my stomach more than eating too much General Tso’s chicken!”
Let’s just all laugh it off–just like people at my job have done with the whole Michael Brown thing. Literally. I heard the receptionist laughing at the notion that Wilson’s killing of Brown was unjustifiable once.
Meanwhile, others have the nerve to legitmately ask “what business did [Scott] have running?”, which again, doesn’t surprise me. Maybe it’s because he was UNARMED and feared for his life. And by the way, if you haven’t noticed–I’m black. Whenever I get pulled over I shake in my goddamn boots. That being said, I’ve had mostly friendly interactions with officers, but 2-3 horrific ones where I was visibly scared–I find it mildly ironic that upon having my backpack searched once the officer questioned me about anti-anxiety medication prescribed to me and I REALLY COULD HAVE USED SAID MEDICATION AT THE TIME.
But I digress.
Police training needs to be reformed. Radically. North Charleston has said their officers will now wear body cams, which have been shown to reduce altercations (whether the oficer of the civilian starts it) by up to 70%, and it also makes it clear WHO started it–maybe then, MAYBE then, we can have fewer instances of people coming to two different conclusions while having the same sets of facts (as has been the case with tragedy after tragedy involving police over the years). And yes, a person has to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt (Darren Wilson didn’t even go to trial). I get it. But what you do in the dark surely will come to the light–Zimmerman has been in repeat trouble (for smaller offenses) since the Trayvon Martin shooting, and the guy was a goddamn neighborhood watch guy/cop-wanna be. Ferguson also exhibited a clear culture of corruption, as evinced in the DOJ report issued. But you know, Obama’s out to get white people. Even though he’s half-white.
A second point on police training–what kind of psychopath handcuffs someone after shooting them 8 times? A police officer. Why? They’re trained to do it.
Seriously.This is inhumane. Why? BECAUSE HE’S DEAD, FOR FUCK’S SAKE. Even Eric Garner’s death was the result of what once was police procedure.
I can go on and on, but the fact that these reforms are not being called for louder enough, that just charging the officer with murder is somehow enough to change the system doesn’t surprise me. And if he’s found not guilty or if it’s dropped to manslaughter or something, that again does not surprise me. Nor do critics of the #blacklivesmatter hashtag. Of course all lives matter, what part of “disproportionate use of force among blacks” do you not get? Black people can simultaneously treat all human life as equal while using said hashtag. Black people aren’t dumb. No really, we’re not. You’re a racist for thinking that though.
The last thing that does not surprise me is me hoping that this post has some lasting impact. It won’t. Not unless I get off my butt and actually do something. I’ve been guilty of apathy and numbness in our politics in general over the years–I was in tears in 2008 upon having a black president elected in my lifetime, 4 years later I voted for a dead white guy in protest. I still think voting for George Carlin was justifiable though, given my Missouri residency and his ability to speak truth to power. An Obama vote didn’t matter, thanks to the Electoral College and Missouri no longer being a swing state in national elections.
But after this, I can no longer sit idly by. I demand change. REAL change.
I demand that those in power be held accountable.
I demand that the guy who filmed the shooting be given a Pulitzer or an equivalent because sweet Christ on a cracker, does ANYONE do any real journalism anymore?
I demand that Walter Scott finally, FINALLY be the inflection point on the curve of disaster this country has been set on, and that his name will not be sent to the hashtag graveyard on the Internet a few weeks, or a few days from now.
And I demand that you find a way to get involved, someway, somehow, in whatever movement you can find, even if it’s not related to police brutality. Something good. Something to help humanity. Something more than a Facebook essay or a brief 140-character chirp of wisdom.
But I get it, dildoing yourself while playing Candy Crush on your couch is fun. So whatever. Just don’t complain when the next video surfaces and you had no idea the revolution has finally been televised because you were too busy watching “America’s Got Talent”.
To be fair, we do have talent–if apathy were an Olympic sport, we’d win gold every 4 years. Without having to show up.