Trying Times

Ron Scott | 7/14/2016, 12:13 p.m.
Suddenly, the television flashes a video of a young Black man, Alton Sterling, shot by a white police officer in ...

Suddenly, the television flashes a video of a young Black man, Alton Sterling, shot by a white police officer in Baton Rouge, La., Monday. Then two days later in Falcon Heights, Minn., Philando Castile was pulled over for a broken taillight while driving with his girlfriend, Diamond Lavish Reynolds, with her 4-year-old daughter in the backseat.

It is the videos of these two young men being killed that is so devastating. Sterling, a young man who sold videos in front of a store, is confronted by police and, like the Eric Garner (selling loose cigarettes) killing in New York, the incident immediately became fatal.

The officers are seen subduing Sterling (by sitting on his chest) as one officer pulls out his gun, pointed a few inches from his chest and shoots. He says, “I felt my life was being threatened.”

In Minnesota, Castile was shot numerous times, never being allowed to get out of his car. How could a trained police officer shoot into a car with a baby girl and mother?

The only difference between Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” and these deaths are these innocent young Black men, along with Tamir Rice (12 years old), Walter Scott, Freddie Gray and many others, not hanging from the poplar trees. No, these Black bodies lay lifelessly on the ground, drenched in blood, with bullet holes, left to be mourned by their families and friends and for all of America to witness.

Immediately after these tragic deaths the now all-too-familiar formal news conferences were called, with the two cities’ mayors and police chiefs and the states’ governors promising a complete and thorough investigation and pleas for the cities to remain calm and not to rush to judgment.

As Americans were still attempting to digest these latest two horrific killings (and deal with their hurt and anger) many took to the streets in peaceful demonstrations Thursday night in New York, Newark, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington and Dallas.

However, in downtown Dallas as the demonstration was ending, shots rang out. Before the shooter, 25- year-old Micah Xavier Johnson, was eventually killed by police, he was able to kill five police officers and wound seven.

It was reported that Johnson was in the U.S. Army Reserve for six years and spent time stationed in Afghanistan. It was noted that “he wanted to kill white police officers.” News reports stated he said, “I wanted to kill white people, especially white cops.”

It seems he was a lone wolf in this ambush attack, without any affiliation with any type of organized group, so noted news reports. It isn’t surprising that a young Black man struck out and committed himself to killing white police officers.

In “Black Rage” (Basic Books, 1968), psychiatrists Dr. William H. Grier and Dr. Price M. Cobbs “bring a unique understanding of the anger raging in the Black man’s breast and the long history of white racism that put it there.”

It was stated that not since the tragic 9/11 terrorist attack have so many law enforcement officers been killed in a single incident. These five police officers died courageously in the line of duty. They didn’t deserve to be killed, just as both Sterling and Castile were innocent victims who didn’t deserve to to be killed.