One-hundred and thirty-six.
Thus far 136 black people have been killed by police officers this year. We've only just passed the half way mark of the year and 136 black people, have been killed. This is unacceptable and it's truly a tragedy that this is the reality of America. Just this week the country celebrated its Independence Day, but who really has independence? Not I nor my friends and family who are people of color. It's crazy, things are so bad that no one can even lie to themselves and say, "Oh that would never happen to me." Because that's not true, it can happen to anyone of us and that's why people are upset. They're afraid. And they're angry.
Within the past week Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and 5 police officers are dead. What a great way to show American Pride, people. Honestly, what does it take for real change to happen? Because thoughts and prayers are beautiful but policy change would be better.
How is it even possible that two black men were killed within days of each other in the same week. Innocent men who did nothing wrong to deserve having their lives taken away. Philando was in the car with his girlfriend going about their day. He was a supervisor at the cafeteria at a local school who also happened to be a licensed gun owner. The officer murdered him in front of his girlfriend. That is unbelievably tragic. Alton Sterling was just selling CDs. That's it. He wasn't doing anything illegal. Shot in cold blood. Unbelievable. Who would've thought that unfortunate events like these would still be happening? The funny thing is that for both men, the media tried to do background searches to see if the men had criminal records. It's disgusting. The image that the media used to show what Alton looked like was a mug shot from 16 years ago...How sad is that? The past of these men had nothing to do with the reason their lives were taken away so early.
And on top of those two events, there was a sniper shooting in Dallas during a peace rally. Not too far away from where President Kennedy was assassinated. The night started off peaceful with civilians and police officers walking and protesting when, out of nowhere, gunshots started to go off.
But lets set some things straight. The shooting that occurred in Dallas is NOT what the #BlackLivesMatter movement is about. Violence is not the answer and the political movement had nothing to do with the actions and plans of the sniper. Reports say that the sniper was Micah Johnson, 25, he was a Veteran who served in Afghanistan. It's stated that he said he was tired of all of the police brutality events and the killings of innocent black men. Specifically, he was tired of white men, white officers. We can all agree that we're tired of the senseless killing of our people, but assassinating, yes assassinating, police officers, random police officers, is not what gaining justice is all about and doing so will not lead the way to peace and equality.
If you are in support of what Johnson did that night then you are are seriously misguided. That act of violence was uncalled for. It was in fact, a terrorist attack. There is a way to create effective change, violence is not a tactful one.
For the past few days I've been reading and watching things online from YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and reading articles online, as should everybody else. Everybody I know and see online is HURT. ANGRY. And DISAPPOINTED at how little we have come in terms of growth in this country. A friend of mine on Facebook said, and I quote, "I sympathize with all deaths but one category of said occurrences is based on brutality and the other with revenge. Both need to stop, but the latter is fueled by the frequency of the first." This phrase is truer than true. And because of the senselessness of what happened in Dallas, this is the time for education, discussion, and change. If we don't talk about these issues then who will learn? If nobody learns anything then how can we possible expect change? The action of Johnson was ignorant, fueled by the power of rage and frustration. We must be tactful, knowledgeable, resourceful, and patient.
Patience is a hard word to swallow in times like this, but patience does not mean that we idle around. It just means that we need to redirect our anger, not focus it on the killings of innocent cops. We can't let our anger consume us. We can't let belligerence overcome us. Right now is the time for us to mourn, to educate our selves and others, and take action by protesting, creating absolute awareness, and creating plans for change.