The tragic end of Jordan Neely’s life was shocking and another reminder of how “white men fight,” to quote the nefarious thinking of Tucker Carlson. 

Being reminded of memories of Darrell Cabey, who was shot and permanently paralyzed by so-called vigilante Bernard Goetz in 1984, or Trayvon Martin, who was killed by a neighborhood watch, and certainly George Floyd, is not an easy thing for Black Americans, and it should have the same effect on all Americans.

When a mentally distressed person encounters someone ready to take the law into their own arms around your neck in a chokehold, it should be alarming to all of us. The ex-Marine Daniel Penny, using a method he obviously perfected in uniform, has said through his lawyers that he was only holding Neely until the police arrived. It only takes a matter of seconds for that hold to become fatal, and to expect a prompt arrival of cops in this city is akin to hitting the lottery.

The number of incidents and arrests Neely had endured should have been enough of a warning to indicate that he was seriously troubled, and should have been in some form of rehabilitation. And what about the mental and physical condition of the ex-Marine—what pre-existing conditions motivated him to act? We have heard repeatedly that if this was a Black person apprehending and choking a white man to death, there is no way in the world they would have walked away as though nothing had happened.

Witnesses are still being summoned, the investigation of the tragedy continues, and the city is waiting to see if charges will be brought against Penny, and whether the outcome will be one we’ve experienced again when a white man kills a Black man. Racism and white supremacy are preexisting conditions that have fomented countless killings and should be, as we see it, viewed in the same way as when other premeditated murders occur. 

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