"Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber."
-Martin Luther King Jr., Letters From Birmingham Jail
I had been happily completing my English assignment (several weeks late if I'm being completely honest) when I came across this quote that Martin Luther King Jr. addressed to his fellow clergymen who had been questioning his various actions and motives when it came to the civil rights movement. And I couldn't help but feel that his words were still extremely relevant in today's society.
In many situations, often when a black life is taken unfairly, many people with often jump to the attacker's defense -- often going as far as to say the person who died got what they deserved. When Trayvon Martin was murdered, people continually stated that he deserved to die. When Michael Brown was murdered, people continually stated that he deserved to die. The same thing happened with Alton Sterling. Sandra Bland. Freddie Gray. Tamir Rice. Eric Garner. Somehow, whenever someone attempts to defend their lives, someone brings up something, maybe it's cigarettes that were being sold illegally, or a toy gun that mimicked a real one, as if this justifies their lives being taken. Somehow, these technicalities seem to trump the fact that a live was taken. Whenever a Black life is taken, they're ridiculed for their past actions or events that occurred leading up to the crime. But this causes many people to miss the bigger picture.
A life was taken.
"Citizens may resist unlawful arrest to the point of taking an arresting officer's life if necessary" (Constitution Society). A person can resist any lawful arrest. And regardless, an officer cannot kill them for resisting arrest.
There are only six instances when you can lawfully kill someone. You cannot kill someone for having ice tea and skittles, you cannot kill someone for selling CDs, you cannot kill someone because they look suspicious, and you cannot kill someone for being black. The list goes on.
We must protect those who have been robbed of their lives and punish those who robbed them of their life. And its that simple. Quit with the "But they--" and the "He was--" and the "He didn't--", because none of those reasons justify someone's death.