by Antoinnette Borbon
It has become an ongoing story in the world today, as we hear of yet another fatality involving a man of color and our law enforcement. Tragically, another man dies after an incident with police.
At a time when we need to be mourning the losses and supporting those who have suffered such a loss, we instead see hideous rioting, vandalism, destruction of businesses, looting of property and more injured people. Thus, the tragedy becomes worse.
From the death of young Trayvon Martin to Mike Brown, from the man in New York to several others killed now by law enforcement, police officers have now become a target for scrutiny. What is happening? Is this really race motivated?
Having said that, of course, each case has its individuality and cannot be one-sided. We must take everything into accountability.
We do not have privileged information into these cases and what we do know may just be a fraction of truth. As with any case that goes to trial, much is left to speculation, assumption and/or imagination – something that I have certainly learned all too well in my two-plus years of reporting for the Vanguard.
But for many in our country, it most certainly has become a race issue. Is that a fair charge? We can assume that believing every incident to be of a racially motivated nature has caused serious hostility. Many of our cities are attacked, becoming the target for pent-up aggression, anger. Is it for lack of prosecution or is it an excuse to behave badly?
Perhaps so, perhaps it is an excuse for some to exhibit their personal pent-up aggression toward what has already happened in our past history. It begs a question.
But do these acts of violence ever solve anything? Not to our knowledge.
In fact, from what we have learned, even the families of those lost never sought out revenge or promoted violence. Instead, they pursued peaceful protests, peaceful marches – which in some cities proved powerful.
Even though we are forced to face facts about racism, we cannot assume this is a generalization. Nor can we assume every cop out there is a bad cop.
Yes, we must take a stand and fight for justice but there is a better, more powerful, way to achieve it without pouring gas on a flame that has been burning for decades.
Unfortunately, whether these tragedies were racially motivated or not, we may never know because we cannot judge the heart of another. Sadly, racism begins in the heart and often ends in the heart. But we can hope, we can teach and we can live by example.
We may never know the details of each case but, nevertheless, any death is tragic when taken unnecessarily, be it a man of color or a cop who dies in the line of duty. No life is more important than the other to God.
If the headlines are in fact true, that we now have three notorious gangs joining together to, “take out cops,” how much more dangerous are the streets going to be in our cities now?
Who will protect us? And what about those good cops, the ones who stand for what is right, who put on a badge each day and risk their lives to keep us safe, secure within our community? It’s a frightening thought to think I may not have protection or, on the flip side, may be killed by a careless officer because he/she may have bias toward me.
Wrath can be a dangerous tool for any one of us and, as a nation, we cannot keep enduring these events.
Taking to the streets to destroy what many have spent a lifetime building is not the answer. However, the outrage can be felt and understood.
What we must do is continue to push for a better system, a more peaceful solution, or we lose the ground of great civil rights leaders who have made history – leaders who utilized a more powerful way of achieving success or change.
Martin Luther King made strides using peaceful protests, after he watched as many folks were beaten by police and even killed during the time he pushed for voting rights. The infamous day in Alabama set the stage for change, even for presidents/leaders, to come.
Along with Martin Luther King, our country had more than a few great civil rights leaders who fought against the dark effects of racism. However, it never stopped racism.
It is more than a scary thought to think that, if tragedies continue without justice, we may be headed toward a civil war.
Abraham Lincoln had no choice but to take our country into a civil war to end the hideous nature of slavery. But that hate born of slavery and racism has not left the hearts of many men today. It is a fact we must face until the end of time.
Still, we need positive and peaceful change, not violence. We must exercise greater self-control so we set a forthright and strong example for our children and grandchildren, who may well be the next leaders of this great nation.
Our media outlets have flooded the television, the internet and radio with the negative news of these stories and, even though we have a right to know, I believe it only contributes to the anger and the violence we see taking place now.
If there is anything we can do as a country, as a nation and as individuals to help take those steps forward, peaceful steps, our world would assuredly be a better place.
It does not entail allowing law enforcement to continue in their ill-gotten and deadly behavior, it only entails the manner in which we fight for justice.
At the end of the day we must ask ourselves just how important human life really is.