The recent shootings by law enforcement of individuals being pursued by police have reminded many people of color of what appears to be an unwritten universal double standard. One would think that after the George Floyd murder and the subsequent murder of a young Black man following a traffic stop in the state of Minnesota, that something might have been learned. We just witnessed a young Black man in Akron, Ohio being shot more than 60 times by police following a pursuit for what allegedly was a traffic violation. We can still remember another Black man who was shot because he had a cell phone in his hand when confronted by police. The list is almost endless, from California to Chicago to North Carolina, from Missouri, and from New York City where a Black man was choked to death over some cigarettes.
Now let's look at the “White” side of law enforcement, starting with the most recent Fourth of July mass shooting in Illinois. An 18 to 20-year-old white male kills seven people and wounds 31 others. When police check-up with him, he is taken into custody without a shot being fired. Another 18 to 20-year-old in Buffalo, New York mass murders ten African Americans at the Tops Supermarket and he is arrested without a shot being fired. Let us not forget Rittenhouse, who killed two people with an assault weapon, also was arrested “alive”, was tried in Minnesota, and was acquitted, becoming a national hero of the Extreme Right. It appears no matter how much we (Blacks and those whites who join us) march and protest, it makes no difference to law enforcement around this country.
This same shoot-to-kill mentality, if the alleged lawbreaker is Black or Brown, appears to be universal.
It appears that the solution to this problem cannot be legislated because we can’t make laws to change the hearts of men. But we must not let each of these incidents become just a matter of business when dealing with white folks, but continued acts of murder if one is a person of color. We know there are no federal murder laws, but we can mobilize within each state where these “murders” occur and take action against those who do not prosecute these murderers of unarmed people to the fullest extent of the law.
This year’s Fourth of July mass murder is a testament to the hypocrisy of a Congress, both House and Senate, that refuses to outlaw assault weapons and enacts weak and meaningless gun laws as pacification of an aggrieved nation. A midterm election is coming up. We have homework to do if we are going to make a difference.