We don’t see color when looking at any shooting incident where there is a possibility of police wrongdoing, just as in this attack on the police, we have no idea what color the dead or wounded officers are, and we don’t care. We just see people.
And as I have said many times, I think we ALL have a very real, and very serious problem in every community with the militarization of the police, and the increased use of what amount to military rules of engagement where officers are very quick to fire on anyone they suspect of being armed, as if that is itself a justification for shooting people (odd, in a nation of armed free people). See our protest against the SWAT killing of Marine veteran Jose Guerena. I still have a hard time watching this gut wrenching video we put together on that and every time I hear that song, I think if him and his poor wife and child and tears roll down my face. I didn’t insist on protesting that shooting to give “equal time” to Hispanic victims of police abuse, even though I come from a family of Mexican immigrants on my mother’s side). I insisted on it because he was AN AMERICAN, and a Marine who served his nation in combat, and he did not deserve to die like that. And it made us angry to see a SWAT team used like that, to serve a mere search warrant, on a man who did exactly what any of us would do if strange men came crashing down our doors with our wife and kid home – grab a rifle and defend them. We don’t see color, we see people, and we realized that there but for the grace of God, go I. We all would have ended up like him, dying with his safety still on, while he tried to sort out what was going on, while the SWAT team saw man with gun, and shot man with gun, who was merely defending his family. It was an outrage, and it was an outrage not because he was a “man of color” (whatever the hell that means) but because he was a man. Period. A man we can relate to as men, and as warriors. And it pissed us off.
Before you start demanding that we provide “equal time” according to race, you really should read what I wrote back in November, 2014 here:
The perception of the people as “the enemy” in a “war on terrorism” and a “war on drugs” is not just in cities, nor is it just applied to “communities of color.” That perception is applied in small town America as well as in cities, and to ALL Americans, of every race, creed, and color. It is not a “black” problem. It is not a “brown” problem. It is an American problem. Any American, anywhere, at any time, can be subjected to the same military tactics and mindset, whether during a raid on their home, during a traffic stop, or any other encounter with police. Sniper rifles were pointed in at protesting Americans at Bundy Ranch in Nevada just as much as in Ferguson, Missouri. And likewise for the response to the Boston bombing in the search of Watertown, MA, where weapons were pointed in at entire families as they were ordered from their homes. And any American can suffer the fate of Jose Guerena (Marine Iraq veteran killed in SWAT raid), Bounkham Phonesavah (a one year old baby burned with a flash-bang), or any of the many other Americans caught up in the overuse and abuses of SWAT teams seen here: http://www.cato.org/raidmap
And any American can end up like John T. Williams (deaf woodcarver shot by Seattle cop while whittling a stick), or David Eckert (repeatedly cavity searched and subjected to forced enemas and colonoscopy), or like these two women cavity searched on the side of the road. What does race have to do with it? Not much.
This, this, this, or this, can happen to any American, of any race, in any community, at any time.
As retired Pennsylvania police officer Larry Hohol put it, when referring to that last link (the Robert Leone beating): “But for the grace of God, this could have been your child or family member that these horrific acts happened to.” Watch his video analysis of that incident here. That had nothing to do with race, but everything to do with abuse of power.
American police have a problem, and this problem is now endemic, and reaches into every community. As former NYPD Detective Frank Serpico recently said:
Today the combination of an excess of deadly force and near-total lack of accountability is more dangerous than ever: Most cops today can pull out their weapons and fire without fear that anything will happen to them, even if they shoot someone wrongfully. All a police officer has to say is that he believes his life was in danger, and he’s typically absolved. What do you think that does to their psychology as they patrol the streets—this sense of invulnerability? The famous old saying still applies: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
And it is a problem that the good police have a DUTY to stop. You officers who are the “good cops” out there must police your own and put a stop to the abuse by the bad cops, and that includes all the overuse and abuse of SWAT teams, all of the violations of rights perpetrated in the name of the “war on drugs” and all of the excessive force and violations of rights that occur all over this nation, every day.