Loss of life under any circumstances is tragic, and that is why as a society our hearts are heavy, why our nation mourns.
Although news headlines report tragedy and loss of life daily, what is worrisome is the fact that an increasing number of those lives are lost at the hands of law enforcement officers. Worse still is the obsessive focus on skin color in these incidents, more often than the loss of life itself, or the rationale behind the taking of those lives.
My name is James Priest, I was especially saddened to hear the tragic news about Walter Scott since I was raised in North Charleston SC, not far from Rivers Ave on Chestnut Street, and I can remember it then as a great place to live and grow up. The district was rich in culture, filled with smiling faces and friendly places. But more importantly, it was the 80s, a time when the police still enjoyed a good reputation.
They were good old boys, of course, but they were also honest and fair. They were visible at school, talking to kids, showing us their squad cars and giving us rides around the school parking lot. They were on the right track in those days, involved in the community, letting kids know that cops were real people, and that they had children just like we were. They raised their families in the neighborhood, and all they really wanted was to help to make the place safe. That is an admirable trait, but to me it seems that this is something that we are losing a little more of every day. When I saw the words “North Charleston” and “Murder” pop up on my Facebook page, I thought to myself that the times sure have changed! I would never have expected to see a North Charleston cop charged with murder, and that was just the beginning. I decided to dig a little deeper…
And what I discovered is that by the first quarter of, 2015, the US national police kill rate for 2015 is already over 300! That is a depressing statistic, and it will not improve. But there are multiple issues at play in this situation. Consider, for example, the impact of this episode on the police, and police morale. The badge that Michael Slager wore should ideally represent trust and respect. His actions, however, have sadly tarnished the good name of the men and women who honestly and justly serve and protect the community.
Walter Scott was unarmed, and simply made a very bad choice to run from a cop. However, merely because someone chooses not to stop when a cop orders does not justify the murder of an unarmed American citizen!
Which introduces another question: why do the police in the United States kill more people than police elsewhere? Where does this kind of action differ from terrorism? It does not differ one bit!
Remember that terrorism can be foreign or domestic. Have cops become terrorist? Are some of us living in a police state?
To me it is just sad law that enforcement appears to have lost that vital connection with the community. People are inevitably wary of the very men and women who are appointed by society to watch out over and help protect us.
But perhaps the key point in all of this that I would like to make is that I also dislike the way news reports fixate only on a killing when it is a white cop killing a black man. Why do you think this is? Does nobody else of any color get killed by police? Of course they do. It is just not what the news wants you to hear about. News reports show one thing, but national statistics show something a little different. They reveal that cop killings are not limited to race or color, that only the news reports are.
The media is feeding on the emotions of the people, and choosing what news stories to cover. Cramming social fed mainstream garbage produced to seduce the mind and lie to the masses. This kind of treatment can only be stopped one way. That way is for people everywhere to put a stop to it together!
The reality is that Caucasians, Asians, Hispanics and every other race representing this nation make up the statistics, but we do not hear of these. Why? It is because such mundane incidences do not drive media ratings, which seem to be fueled by the seemingly never-ending black/white race antipathy that is still such a fact of our national psychology.
Times have changed, people have not.
I understand and agree that Black Lives Matter, but so do everyone else’s. We all matter. People need to look past color and remember that a mother and father lost a child. A child lost a parent. I say that the people looking to turn this into a race issue are simply feeding an age-old problem that some Americas might stand to gain from.
As a people we need to grow past this, but until we do there will be more victims of unjustifiable homicide, and more press hysteria fueling racism in this country.
A majority of we in the US have moved past these simple race stereotypes. Racism today is a fringe phenomenon. I know this firsthand because I personally enjoy a very cultured and diverse circle of friends and family, none of whom feed on the race dynamic as it is portrayed in the media. It is the loss of somebody’s son or daughter, and the evil way that it happened, that brings a strong community of all people together.
I stand with my friends of all colors, because we all matter. We will stand up for our rights. Charleston, you have to help stop this and everyone else we have to support each other.
And in conclusion, police shootings take a toll on people’s lives everywhere, black or white. It must be a great challenge today protecting our streets, and some say the job that they do does not get enough credit. I hope our next President in 2016, Hillary Clinton, will help make the people policing us take accountability and create measures that will prevent what is turning into an epidemic.