Another week in the United States and another tragedy at the hands of a firearm.
Not to kick a dead horse, but I feel like I’ve been here before…
Then I was told that guns aren’t the issue with Alton Sterling or Philando Castile, or the Dallas Police officers for that matter.
It’s about Obama and the death of America. It’s about division.
Then we were told Alton Sterling was shot because he was reaching for his gun.
So he was shot with a gun because he was reaching for a gun, but it’s not about guns.
Police Officers are armed to defend themselves against the citizens who carry guns.
Some of those same citizens carry guns because they fear brutality from police officers who carry guns.
It would be dismissive and ignorant to claim that people of colour, especially those from neighbourhoods with higher levels of crime and thus greater interaction with law enforcement, have no real history from which to base their fears.
Police officers have been convicted and sent to prison for brutalising and murdering people of colour.
People of colour have brutally and senselessly murdered police officers.
So this is a war, and every American has been asked to take a side. Who’s right?
Does no one seen the gun correlation?
If America banned guns would the police still need to carry them?
Alton Sterling doesn’t have a gun because he hasn’t grown up in a culture that taught him he may need it, thus he has nothing to reach for, and – assuming the reports are true that that IS the reason they shot him – the officers have zero reason to kill him.
But the fears of both sides are real and justified, however much we want to close our eyes to it.
Thus, another in a long list of lines are drawn in America, leaving the population divided and blind to the fact that the enemy they think they are fighting is the wrong enemy.
The real enemy is ourselves.
Blinded by sensational media from both sides of the fence that are forcing people further and further apart, yet both sides point fingers at the other side’s ‘sensational media.’ And round and round and round we go, with no one getting any wiser to the real problem.
American is a selfish nation full of individuals who are too easily manipulated by fear.
It also doesn’t help that Americans deal so frequently in absolutes.
One cannot respect and honour the men and women of law enforcement who go out everyday of their lives and sacrifice their own personal safety to make America a safer place and also hold them to a high standard that says, ‘if you cross the line you must answer for it.”
One cannot be shocked and saddened by the recent loss of life and not be considered a ‘cop hater’.
One cannot also be disgusted by the amount of crime and violence on the street without being ‘racist’ and ‘blind’ to the fact that I’m of a skin colour that denotes privilege and thus have no right to speak. My skin colour is often the very root of that problem.
I have to feel bad for the colour of my skin because it means my life was easier. So, we don’t want an end to shame, just a reversal of it.
It’s these same absolutes that lead decent people to claim that Donald Trump becoming the president of the United States is not evidence that bigotry is acceptable as long as that person is the representative of ‘my party’. But the division isn’t their fault. It’s the OTHER guy.
That pointer really is handy as a finger, ain’t it?
American has their lovely two party system and it’s what leaves people feeling like they have to pick a side.
The sad truth is that neither side is really the side of progress for the whole. It’s all self serving and the majority of people live in ignorance of that fact.
The majority have also never stepped out of their own little bubble to truly understand the width and breadth of their own country. How can you truly say you know what’s best for America when you’ve only ever lived in one place? Put yourself in the shoes of someone living on the other side of the country from you, facing wholly different problems…
“But those aren’t my problems, I have to deal with….”
Your own shit. That’s what American’s care about. The three feet in front of their face. The context from which they understand their own individual life and circumstance.
So, two people of colour and five police officers died and we fail to acknowledge that this is a war we’ve allowed to boil over for years, and neither side is solely to blame.
The real blame falls on the people, because we refuse to take the guns out of everyone’s hands and try to bring the violence to an end. We refuse to actually be, in fact, united.
“It wouldn’t stop the illegal guns though!”
No. But it would be a start. Stop focusing on why it won’t work and start trying to help find a way to MAKE it work.
America needs to start being know for something other than violence. Military might and guns. That is America.
I had a girl in my preschool class last year who was talking to me about where I come from. We nicknamed this girl “Katy” after Katy Perry and everyone in the class often called her, “California Girl.” She said she wished she could visit California one day and go to the beach. Then she made a sad face.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I want to go, but I can’t.”
Confused, I stabbed at the reason she was saying this. “When you grow up you can go wherever you want.”
She shook her head. “I’m afraid of going to America, I don’t want to be shot by a gun.”
That’s from the mouth of a 6 year old Japanese girl.
That’s the image America is selling. That’s what people see when they look at America from the outside.
We should all be ashamed.
Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa are all dead now because we cannot see how divided we are. Because we stand on our side of the line, clinging to our righteousness, and refusing to understand that change doesn’t come without a willingness to concede the need for it… from BOTH sides.
Instead of looking to pin blame, we should be looking for the root of this problem and finding a way to stop it form ever happening again. How can we do that if we are too busy trying to prove it isn’t our side’s fault while blaming the other side for pointing the finger at us?
Like any dispute we must be willing to accept our own culpability, carry our share of the burden, and cross the line to our so-called enemy and ask how we can end this. Until we can share the burden equally we’ll always be divided.
That very concept runs contrary to the name of the country and so few want to face how disgraceful that is.
So there’s your problem. Now how are you going to fix it?