Last week, I briefly contemplated writing a painful recounting of why the shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, by police was so troubling. If I’d done that, I would have mentioned the details many have now viewed of the Kenosha, WI incident and the aftermath, which included a White Trump supporting teenager armed with an AR-15 rifle traveling to the city and exacting vigilante justice by killing two people.
I thought long and hard about whether it was worth it. Not because Jacob Blake doesn’t merit the telling of his story, but frankly, because I’m drained. I’m emotionally spent and I’m angry. There’s a new victim seemingly every week. How many stories must be published before there’s justice for the victims?
More Stories and More Pain
Just yesterday, police body cam video was released of the killing of Daniel Prude.
Prude, from Chicago, was visiting his brother, Joe, in New York. On March 23, he experienced a mental health crisis and Joe called the police fearful that Daniel would hurt himself or someone else.
Daniel had been running naked through the streets in light snow before police arrived and was lying unarmed as officers restrained him on the ground. He complied with police requests, though he became increasingly agitated after several minutes.
He told police he had coronavirus and they placed a spit hood over his head. In the video, an officer can be seen pressing down on Mr. Prude’s head and telling him to stop spitting in the hood. Shortly, Prude stops moving and one officer says he felt “pretty cold.”
Prude was taken to the hospital and removed from life support one week later and died. A post-mortem examination report seen by the Rochester-based Democrat and Chronicle newspaper said Prude died of “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”
Month after month for the past several years, we learn the names of the latest victims. Black people and White allies grow outraged and that leads to protests. Then those protests receive widespread media attention, often because a few protestors (or counter demonstrators), show up to loot, destroy property or both, which typically overshadows the cause of the protests.
Public outrage over the destruction of property becomes ferocious, yet those same people can’t seem to muster just a tiny bit of grief or outrage over the loss of unarmed Black citizen’s life at the hands of police.
Protection is for White People
These are the same people who show up by the thousands to support the Agitator in Chief as he delivers ominous warnings to a 99.9 percent White crowd that they’re not safe unless he gets re-elected. That “those people” will invade their suburbs and destroy their neighborhoods unless he is in office to protect them, the “suburban Moms” fearful of urbanites encroaching into their idyllic communities.
What message does he deliver?
That Police Lives Matter. That Teen Vigilante Killers who travel two hours to “protect” the city of Kenosha and aid the police are heroes. That “All Lives Matter". But the lives of those unarmed Black people that died at the hands of police and spurred protests are just like the more than 280,000 Americans that have now died during the COVID-19 pandemic. They. Were. Collateral. Damage. They were expendable.
I could scream! I could write a thousand words recounting the stories of each and every unarmed black person who died at the hands of police. I could cry for hours. And then I can turn on the television and again witness this, the Gaslighting Agitator in Chief saying that “those people” deserve it. That “they” were not worth protecting.
Dividing. Always dividing. Sorting people like baskets of laundry by color. Whites/Delicates. Blacks/Expendable.
I’m beyond angry. I’m in an abyss of numbness and deep sorrow and lately it’s been hard to pull myself together just to function at a normal level.
I’m politically active, because I have to be. It’s not an option.
Someone has to remind our politicians about the Breonna Taylors, the Jacob Blakes and the Daniel Prudes that deserve justice. They must know that we demand it.
My voice will never stop insisting that we get it.