Common Sense Conspiracy normally covers these types of situations from the angle of what conspiracy theorists might think or be saying about it. That’s our gig. Over the last couple of years, we have frequently assessed the lightning rod police shootings of black
males in America as a tragedy that was being used by the mainstream media and government to drive another wedge between the American people to make sure that they stay bitter and divided. While that is still true today, perhaps more than ever, the shootings over the last several hours (and that’s not a good way to have to put it, is it?) are forcing us not just to look at it from that angle, but from a more complete angle transcending politics and conspiracies and venturing into the realm of common human decency.
White people of America, it’s time to at least admit something is wrong. Each time something like this happens, Facebook and Twitter and whatever other social media network of the week is overflowed with messages from white people that all say the same thing in a slightly different way. There’s the whole “if you just do what the police tell you to do” excuse that gets tossed around. Let’s look at that one first.
Like it or not, there is some truth to it. Yes, cooperating with police officers probably decreases the odds that they decide to kill you in torrents of gunfire. But that is easy for someone to say that has never been on the other side of things. What if what the police officer is telling you to do is totally wrong? Are the police always on the right side of things? This is something that a lot of white people may have trouble understanding. In their world, the police are always the good guys, there to save the day and take the bad guys away. Most white people have never been handcuffed and put in the back of a police car because they had the “wrong guy.” There are tons of stories of black people that could say that not only have they experienced this, but have actually had it happen to them on multiple occasions. Most white people have never stared down the barrel of a gun or been frisked by the police. Black children are taught to fear police at an early age. After all, far too many of them have watched police officers take away their fathers, some to not return for decades over crimes that seem sillier in a new political and cultural climate. So, yes, for white people, it’s easy to say that if you just put your hands where your told and never question these things at all, you should be okay. But at what point does that go out the window? If our police totally militarizes (as many, many in conspiracy circles believe will eventually), at what point is it okay to resist? At what point is wrong wrong and right right? It’s more complicated than “just do what your told.” It’s kind of like when a parent says “because I said so.” So, white people simply cannot view this from that perspective, no more than your average black person can imagine getting pulled over by the police and being completely nonchalant about it. In some ways, we do live in different worlds.
Another thing that white people harp on after an incident like this is the criminal record of the suspect. It happened today with Alton Sterling. Yes, Sterling had a record. And, just keeping it real here, a record does cast a person in a different light. That’s kind of a natural reaction. But if you are black, a criminal record doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as it does to White America. To a white person, a criminal record is an “I told you so” moment. See, the guy was a criminal. As if this makes it different. It doesn’t matter if you just raped a child, ran a red light, or killed the President; if you are unarmed or not posing a direct, deadly threat, the police can’t kill you. It’s that simple. It’s called living in a civilized society. White people don’t want to admit it, but there is truth to the fact that white people can commit complete atrocities and be peacefully taken into
custody. See the Charleston shooter for an example. If ever there were a time for police to have an itchy trigger finger, that was it. If ever there was a time where most of us would have been fine with the police just foreclosing on this process and killing this piece of human garbage, that was it. And yet, he was taken into custody peacefully. They knew he was armed. Armed to the teeth. Remember Aurora, Colorado. Even coming on a scene knowing a guy just butchered people with assault weapons won’t make police automatically kill a white person. There are several other instances of this, but for the sake of not making this ridiculously long, we will leave it at that. And yet, a black man selling CDs on the street corner that may or may not have a gun is executed in daylight. Criminal records are in the past, and while it might not be a great sign of an upstanding citizen, it still doesn’t mean anything about what is happening right now. And, even mass shooters get their day in court. Remember the child molester at Penn State. Peaceful arrest. He’ll get his day in court. Most people equate child molestation with the absolute worst crimes on this Earth, and almost no one would be sad if he got his brains blown out. These people we just named didn’t have criminal records. They were actively committing atrocities right now in your face, and the police did not kill them. It is only an excuse for white people to continue to look the other way and find a way to blame the victim for the crime. That may not be convenient, but it’s still the truth.
Another frequent thing you will see white people saying about something like this is something to the effect of “Oh no! Here comes the race card again.” Well, here we go again. The so-called “race card” is pulled plenty of times in our world when it is not warranted. Not everything that ever happens to a black person is because of race. Sorry, black people, but this might not be convenient for you either. However, there are times when the “race card” is legitimate. And that is where the water gets murky. It’s like a boy who cried wolf. Remember that story? The race card gets thrown around (not just by black people, but also by the media), and white people, both good and bad, have become desensitized to it. Really. There are some white people that are racist, we all know this, and really, no one is reasonably trying to deny that. Otherwise, we wouldn’t even have the word to throw around. Racism exists. But the overwhelming majority of white people are not overtly racist, but the “race card” is thrown around to the point that even those white people that do see things in the right perspective are so used to hearing it that they don’t even pay attention. That’s the thing about these two shootings. This is one of those bulletproof (oh, please, please no pun intended) occasions where the “race card” is 100% absolutely appropriate. Is this us saying that the police officers involved in these shootings just got back from a Klan meeting on their lunch break? No, not necessarily. But it is reasonable to assume that this at least partly happened because the police officers were white and the deceased was black. Can we at least admit that much? The bottom line is that the “race card” is a real thing, and it deserves to be played at times in the game. It’s really a disservice to everyone involved that the card used to be an Ace of Spades but is not watered down to just another card in the deck. The blame for that has to be spread around to not any race individually but the human one. Yet, it is not a defense for police officers slaughtering citizens.
We could go on further, but that’s enough of white excuses for murder. But while we are on that subject, let’s address something else about this. It is murder. Why are we so hesitant to call it that? It disgusts me that when the Department of Justice today opened its investigation into one of these shootings, they call it a civil rights investigation. That’s so demeaning to black people, and I don’t even think they have thought about it. It’s not a murder investigation. It’s not an abuse of power investigation. It is termed as a civil rights investigation. When will we see black people as equal enough to white people to just go on and call it murder? So, the civil rights that were violated, presumably, were the very rights to live and breathe and walk on this Earth? That sounds more like murder to me, and I think that the way we term that is part of our problem. Civil rights? That is the right to vote. The right to work and have fair hiring processes. The right to worship as or if we choose. The right to live? That’s going too far. The right to live is a civil right I guess. I mean, it is pretty civil to say that black people do have the right to live their lives without being slaughtered by the police. But when the Orlando shooter slaughtered gay people the other day, nobody called it a civil rights issue. It’s murder, people. The police may have done many things to violate these two men’s civil rights while they were alive, but this is not about that, and the way we label it that is actually taking away from what the message should be. This is murder, and when we are truly recognizing each other as equals, we will be more apt to call it what it is. It isn’t civil rights. It’s human rights.
We at Common Sense Conspiracy have no answer as to what the solution is. We understand that most white people think this is horrible and want it to stop. They also have to somehow balance that with respect and appreciation for the thousands of police officers all over America that are great individuals willing to do just about anything to make their community a better place. However, we can agree on at least one thing today, right? It’s time to stop making excuses and at least agree that we have a problem here. We can at least do that. You’ve got to start somewhere. This is somewhere.