Not Looking Forward to 2016

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I will not let 2015 end without mentioning that there is no justice. In may respects this was a terrible year. As much as I try to live my life and write as much as I can, there are things happening in this country that trouble me.

Black Lives Matter.

I’m not going to describe once again how important it is to keep this going. At this point, you either get it or you don’t. Tamir Rice was 12 and was killed by  police within 2 seconds of seeing him. He was playing with a toy gun and was considered armed and dangerous.

No indictments.

Sandra Bland was a woman pulled over for changing lanes with no turn signal. She was arrested and died in her jail cell for reason unknown.

No indictments.

Remember Walter Scott? Shot in the back by a police officer, that trial will be in 2016. Laquan McDonald? That trial will also be next year. Let’s also not forget Freddie Gray’s killers face a trial too. While these killings got indictments, there is very little hope for actual convictions.

I’m jotting all this down because I think that the whole idea of celebrating a new year is almost disingenuous considering that nothing really is changing. We can march, protest, and create hashtags but it does nothing in the minds of those who truly believe that “all lives matter.”

We have a problem. A huge problem that the father of Quintonio LeGrier can attest to.  The police have to be held accountable for the things they do. Why is that so hard to understand?

How many killings will we see in 2016? I’m sure we cannot predict that but it will be too many. This is the part of next year that I will not be looking forward to. I will not be happy with the new hashtags and the same narrative of black people being killed by police. I will not look forward to the same story of not guilty verdicts and non indictments.

I will not look forward to, once again, bearing witness to what continues to be a dark part of this country’s color blind legacy of allowing police to get away with murder.

I’m not looking forward to this part 2016.

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We Have A Perception Problem

Photo Dec 13, 3 40 50 PMToday is the eve of Christmas Eve and as much as I really want to talk about my book and how you should all buy it because it’s on sale, I feel the need to continue to talk about what is going on around me. I find it fascinating that we’re living in a time of sheer division. Before it was about Obamacare, or gun control, or Ebola, or gay marriage, but now it’s about policing and protesting for accountability.

Once again I look at the media and see the dollar signs that sells papers and web clicks. Although I find it to be really interesting that two policeman are killed during a terrorist drill in Brooklyn, I feel bad that people have to lose their lives in order for a discussion to happen or to continue. What I can’t stand is how predictable people are.

The moment that those two police officers were killed I hoped and prayed that it was not going to “linked” to the peaceful protests of a week ago. But, in my gut, I knew that this was going to add fuel to the fire.

It’s shame those cops were killed. It’s also a shame that everyone who stands to gain political capital has taken advantage of that, which means that the sheep who believe everything they read will follow suit. Blaming the protesters for a crazy man’s deed is just as stupid as any police supporter saying we’re blaming all police for the actions of a few bad cops. Which brings us to the real problem… perception is reality.

There’s a real perception problem that is overplayed by the media. There are people who believe, with good reason, that the gangsta lifestyle has been glorified and that these “thugs” want to live that lifestyle (by the way, thug is the new “n” word, think about the that). Sure, you can point to music, movies, and video games for such attitudes but lets think about this for one second. If you’re perceived as person who wont amount to anything and you live in an area where your life means nothing then would you think you had a future? How would you act?

There are also people who believe, with good reason, that bad cops don’t exist. They’re first responders to danger and are sworn to protect and serve. If there’s an incident they respond to that must mean that thugs and criminals are present, which may be true. However, it’s only in the pages of the Batman or in television shows that police do bad things. After all, if Tamir Rice (12 years) had only listened to the police and put down the toy gun he would be alive today.

Maybe that assessment may seem unfair but bad people exist on both sides. What continues to pop up is absolutism. If you’re not with me than you’re against me. If you support Obamacare you’re anti-American. If you’re protesting police brutality then you’re against cops. Why can’t we live in the grey anymore? Why can’t our interests be mutually exclusive?

I know the answer but if I talk about race then I’m a race-baiter or I’m being divisive. We have a perception problem and it will not be fixed until we place the appropriate value on human lives.

If I talk about Mike Brown, someone will say, “he wasn’t innocent.” My response has always been, it doesn’t matter. We’re suppose to have this glorious justice system that can determine that

“Well, he’s this big guy and the cop was afraid so he had to shoot him.” My response has always been, you mean shoot him after he ran? Couldn’t Wilson shoot him in the leg? “Cops are taught to shoot to kill.” Bingo. That’s the problem. Why have a judicial system if that is truly the case?

Again, we have a perception problem because if anyone of us talk about any of these officers in a bad light in terms of history of police brutality, any guesses on the response?

It doesn’t matter they were a cops.

Perception is reality and we need to fix this.