Mike Brown: Where Do We Go From Here?

Sorry for the lack of blogs this weekend. I was preparing to write more about fitness, but then the Mike Brown shooting happened. Then, Robin Williams passed yesterday. So much sadness lately.

I didn’t know if I wanted to say anything at first about the Mike Brown shooting because, to be honest, there’s so much to say. I didn’t know where to even begin. And then I just read about John Crawford III who was killed by police in Ohio a week ago. I heard about this in passing, but didn’t follow up. And then Eric Garner here in New York back in mid-July. What is going on!? It’s like some sick and twisted epidemic is going around where the police are out to get Black men.

From this point, I really don’t know how to articulate my thoughts. I have too many. So, I’m just going to write and see where this takes me. If this is incoherent, I apologize.

I’ve been trying to follow the news about Mike Brown. So far, none of the accounts that I’ve read make sense. I hope they find out what really happened. All I can say is that, no one should be shot by police with such excessive force. Brown was unarmed, yet was shot several times! I just … I just don’t even know how that makes sense.

Before I go any further, let me say this because in my true Libra form, I have to be fair and balanced. We have to remember that the police are out there, risking their lives daily to keep us safe. I get that their job is dangerous and while they’re trying to protect the public, they’re also (obviously) trying to protect themselves. They have families at home too and they want to go home to those families at the end of the day. I TOTALLY get that.

However, on the flip side…

How can anyone feel safe after hearing these horrible stories of unarmed people getting shot and killed by the police? It’s like, if I get pulled over by the cops for speeding, I’m supposed to assume that the officer will tell me I was speeding and issue a warning or a ticket, right? I shouldn’t have to fear that this cop is going to do something crazy like, pull me out of the car, push me onto the ground while pointing a gun at my head, right?! [Sorry, I have a vivid imagination.]

And clearly I’m not a police officer. I’ve never been in a position to fear for my life like them. To tell the truth, I could never be a police officer. How many of us would want that job? Be honest. But with that said, I feel I can safely assume that police are trained on how to subdue an assailant without using their weapon. Maybe I’m wrong with that assumption, but to me, that seems accurate in my mind. However, I think in many cases, these officers think the best way to “fight” off an attacker is to use their gun. Just my thought. Didn’t say it’s the right thing to do, just … saying. With all of these recent shootings, I wonder if the officers had tasers? I wonder do all police officers carry tasers? I don’t know if that’s a standard thing they carry these days.

[SIDEBAR: I just thought about a situation my husband shared with me a few months ago, about a police standoff in Kalamazoo, MI. An intoxicated white man was holding a standoff with the police while holding a SHOTGUN! Click the link, there’s a 10-minute video from the police’s dashboard camera. Unbelievable how the police in this situation negotiated with this man for 40 minutes!!! FYI: It is legal to carry a gun in MI, but illegal to brandish it.  The police tell the man that he jaywalked and that’s why they’re detaining him. At one point, the man asks, “Why don’t you shoot me?” Cra-zy! If you watch the video, listen to the police discussing back and forth. Very interesting./END SIDEBAR]

Back to Brown, the officer’s story doesn’t make sense. He says he was exiting his car and pushed back into it by this kid. Really. Really?? This kid just attacked a police officer out of the blue? Look, unless this kid had balls of steel, you can’t think anyone honestly believes this kid just attacked an ARMED police officer. Sorry. I don’t buy that story. And then, he says the kid supposedly fled from the car, hands up, yet he shoots multiple times?

Why?

Brown’s friend tells the account differently, stating the officer was in the car and yelled to them to get out of the street. They were apparently walking in the street and according to the friend, were about to get on the sidewalk as the officer pulled up. The friend then says the officer grabbed Mike by the neck, pulling him into the car. (This doesn’t make sense to me.) The two exit the car and as Brown runs, the officer fires one shot. This is when Brown puts his hands up and goes down. The officer fires several more shots. Again, why?? [Just read this today. The police haven’t interviewed Brown’s friend!!]  I seriously hope they find out the details. I hope there are other witnesses. 

Then, there were the peaceful protests ending in rioting, looting, etc on Sunday. That’s a shame. I saw a short video from a cell phone. I’m not for violence. In the end, it doesn’t solve anything or make the problem go away. I’m for solutions. And sadly, I don’t know if we’ll ever fix this. Seriously, we can protest until the cows come home, but something has to change within law enforcement.

Protests are helpful. They bring more awareness. I think it’s important that we spread the word about these incidents. But we need to get to the heart of the matter at hand and I don’t think protesting is enough. As a community, but particularly within the Black community, we need to feel like our law enforcement agents are there to protect us. We need to be able to trust that they’re out to get the real criminals and not out to get us because they wear a badge. How many more unarmed, innocent men and women have to be killed before we seriously take action? All of these shootings could have had a different outcome.

All of this really makes me wonder, what’s going on with the police? Is it cases of them having chips on their shoulders, thinking they can do whatever they please because they carry a gun and a badge? Do they have vendettas? Pent up aggression? Are they fed up? Seriously, why does this keep happening?

And as a result of these tragedies, the rampant racism that exists in our country seems to grow even more. Don’t read the comments on any of the above articles. The racist remarks are ridiculous. Some of them are internet trolls, I’m sure. While others could definitely be real, which is tremendously sad. Whoever says we’re in “post-racial” times (I’m sick of that term), is on drugs because we’re not. Racism still exists and it’s sad that there are comments out there saying that these men all deserved what happened to them. *sigh* Unbelievable.

When I started this post, I didn’t know what to say. And I feel as though I haven’t said anything. But I hope for some of you, I’ve shared three stories that you didn’t know about before. And there are more stories out there unfortunately.

All I can say is, rest in peace to these men. We’ve all lost a loved one, so let’s pray for/send love to their families. I really hope these families get the justice they seek.

And finally on another note, rest in peace to Robin Williams. I’m very sad about his passing, as he was such a wonderful actor and comedian. I will always remember him from TV on Mork and Mindy, as well as my favorite movies…Dead Poets Society, The Birdcage, Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin, Jumanji. Really can’t believe he’s gone. Praying for his family too.

-t

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10 thoughts on “Mike Brown: Where Do We Go From Here?

  1. It is a disturbing trend. I’d like to see more information come out from the Mike Brown case through. But regardless of that information, Mike Brown should still be alive. I have always felt that when cops shoot a person dead, it was unnecessary. Even when the perpetrator is considered dangerous. Especially when there are more than 2 cops pointing a gun at one unarmed individual.

    Either cops have gotten lazy, or they lack the courage to get physical. Or, they lack the art of letting those who have no probable cause go on their merry way. Then there is the whole anger management issue with cops as well as the skill of diffusing an angry citizen. Being a cop doesn’t mean you ONLY have the skill to fire a weapon or physically kill someone with your hands. There is an entire skill set required to deal with a wide range of circumstances and situations. Physically harming a citizen should be the very last resort. If the citizen is unarmed, it should not even be an option.

    One of my pet peeves in the suburban areas at least is that cops don’t get out of their cars and interact with those in the neighborhood. they stay in their cars and either sit in a parking lot and play on their computers or they drive around. Perhaps if they got out and walked around the neighborhoods to get to know individuals, teens and kids would have more respect for them and they would know who was just getting into trouble for now reason and wouldn’t feel the need to shoot to kill.

    Is that an excuse for minorities to fear or hate the police because the are not involved in the community? No. But I think a lot of these shoot to kill situations wouldn’t occur if the cop knew the perp and his or her family members. Had that officer actually known the Mike Brown’s aunt or family, this would have never happened. The officer would have known that Mike Brown was visiting and would have probably struck up a conversation instead of shooting him in the back.

    There are cops out there with no social skills at all and everyone they see, or at least every minority they see, is a potential suspect or up to no good. God told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Perhaps if cops made this their number one credo and made an effort to get to know their neighbors, we would see less of these senseless shootings and killings by cops.

    White cops have had such a clouded history that it may be too late to turn that around. I don’t know. have you seen any examples of cops actually walking around the neighborhood talking to neighbors on a daily basis? I know I don’t see it in the suburbs. The cops only get out of their cars for civic meetings or when there is free food. lol

    1. Check out this excerpt from this article on Deadspin I read last night. I think it puts things into a similar perspective:
      “Part of the reason we’re seeing so many black men killed is that police officers are now best understood less as members of communities, dedicated to keeping peace within them, than as domestic soldiers. The drug war has long functioned as a full-employment act for arms dealers looking to sell every town and village in the country on the need for military-grade hardware, and 9/11 made things vastly worse, with local police departments throughout America grabbing for cash to better defend against any and all terrorist threats. War had reached our shores, we were told, and police officers needed weaponry to fight it.

      Officers have tanks now. They have drones. They have automatic rifles, and planes, and helicopters, and they go through military-style boot camp training. It’s a constant complaint from what remains of this country’s civil liberties caucus. Just this last June, the ACLU issued a report on how police departments now possess arsenals in need of a use. Few paid attention, as usually happens.

      The worst part of outfitting our police officers as soldiers has been psychological. Give a man access to drones, tanks, and body armor, and he’ll reasonably think that his job isn’t simply to maintain peace, but to eradicate danger. Instead of protecting and serving, police are searching and destroying.

      If officers are soldiers, it follows that the neighborhoods they patrol are battlefields. And if they’re working battlefields, it follows that the population is the enemy. And because of correlations, rooted in historical injustice, between crime and income and income and race, the enemy population will consist largely of people of color, and especially of black men. Throughout the country, police officers are capturing, imprisoning, and killing black males at a ridiculous clip, waging a very literal war on people like Michael Brown.”

  2. That’s an excellent article. I’ve always felt a growing disconnect between police officers and the neighborhoods they serve.

      1. It is real sad and it breaks my heart. The first picture in the article is horrifying. At first I thought they borrowed a picture from a third-world country to match the title of the article. But then I found out it was in Ferguson! My wife and I are getting very concerned about the direction this country is going with race relations, class warfare, and gun rights and raising a black male in the midst of all of this.

        1. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I want to move to another country. But then, would it be any better? Everything you’ve mentioned about this country is an issue everywhere and potentially even worse. While this is very cliche, I often wonder if we’ll ever be able to just get along.

  3. Now we have two reporters and an alderman arrested and no names of police officers or staff at the police department. Since when did it become law to arrest and detain individuals without probable cause and without the arresting officer identifying who he is? What’s with the secrecy? If you don’t want to be identified, don’t become a civil servant. Were those arrested ever read their Miranda rights even? This is scary.

    1. One of the reporters said he was not read his Miranda rights. This police dept is about to be shut down soon. I can’t see why they should be allowed to continue being officers. They will surely be sued beyond measure at this point.

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