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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Black Lives Matter

A few short words about Black Lives Matter, and the fooforall that is going right now in this country over race (my goodness, have we stepped into the Wayback Machine and emerged in 1965?)

Black Lives Matter, as a movement, grew out of an alarming habit of police officers killing unarmed or incapacitated black men (women are not immune, one woman arrested for a traffic incident "hung" herself in her cell in Houston). The cops who perpetrate these outrages are either not indicted or acquitted. The message to black people: our lives don't matter, when compared to the word of the police, even when video evidence shows otherwise.

This is perfectly rational in my view, and in no way racist. The deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in a suburb of the Twin Cities, the latter who was legally carrying a gun and was stopped for a possibly non-existent broken taillight renewed the cause of Black Lives Matter, as did acquittals of those who killed Freddie Gray, who somehow had his back broken resisting arrest.

Into this mix came Micah X. Johnson, who was not affiliated with Black Lives Matter and, by all accounts, a deeply troubled man, the kind who might be equated with Dylan Rooff or Timothy McVeigh. Angered by treatment of those of his race, he misguidedly singled out innocent police officers, who ironically were doing their duty helping a Black Lives Matter protest continue peacefully. Johnson's actions were horrific and evil.

But, the troglodyte right wing of the Republican Party (an increasing large part of it) sought to tie the two together, and suggest that Black Lives Matter is inherently racist. Repugnant Rudy Giuliani and some bleach-blonde bimbo named Tomi Lahren both embarrassed themselves, the latter comparing BLM to the KKK. Just how many white people has BLM lynched?

What stupid white people don't seem to grasp is that Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, and All Lives Matter are not mutually exclusive. I liked the poster I put above. Any sentient being knows that All Lives Matter, but for black people in this country it is not inconceivable that they could feel like deer during hunting season. Or, put another way, if a group has a fund raiser for breast cancer, that does mean they don't have sympathy for those who have lung cancer, or any other disease. We all have our cause, and it's usually one that hits close to home. For black people, it's the notion that a young black man can set out in his car and not come back because of an ill-trained and/or sociopathic cop.

I value the work policeman do. I have a step-brother who is a cop, and he's one of the good guys, as are 99 percent of cops. But man that less than one percent is making this country into a roiling mess. I don't what the answer is--more body cameras, certainly, and better training. Open carry laws aren't helping--how is a cop supposed to know when a legally carried gun isn't going to be used on him? (And, by the way, Texas is an open carry state--where were the heroes taking down Micah Johnson? Running away, most likely).

The problem is not Black Lives Matter. The problem is much deeper, rooted in the words of an old song by Public Enemy--"Fear of a Black Planet."

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