Friday, July 8, 2016

A Blood Soaked Week

How long, oh Lord, how long?

The latest round of carnage began Tuesday, the day after Independence Day.

Alton Sterling was in front of the Triple S food store in Baton Rouge, LA, hawking CDs to people going in and out of the place. Most reports now state a homeless man began hitting on him for money, which Sterling refused to give up. Being a persistent sort the homeless dude continued to bug him, so Sterling showed the guy a gun he was carrying and told him to beat it.

This apparently incensed the unknown panhandler who then pulled out his cell phone--yes, that's right, here in the United States we're so affluent even our homeless people can afford cell phones--and called Baton Rouge 911. He told the emergency operator there was a man brandishing a gun at the convenience store.

What happened next has become so predictable there is really no reason to even detail it. The cops arrived and because in the 21st century everyone is a journalist, various people began to video the nightmare on their phones as it took place. The police went after Alton Sterling as if he was Osama--by God--bin Laden and by the time it was over Sterling was dead.

The following evening in a Minneapolis suburb two St. Anthony, MN police officers pulled over Philando Castile, his girlfriend and a child because of a broken tail light. Castile, who was also an African-American, had evidently made the mistake of driving through a predominantly white middle class neighborhood. As Castile was attempting to comply with a command to produce his ID he made yet another error. He did exactly what he was supposed to do. He informed four year police veteran, Jeronimo Yanez he had a conceal and carry permit and was armed.

As Castile either continued to reach for his ID, or began to put his hands up after being ordered to stop, Yanez started shooting. Philando Castile died shortly afterward. Other than a gaggle of traffic infractions he had no criminal record.

All of which brings us to Dallas last night. Under the auspices of Black Lives Matter a large protest march was being held in downtown. By all accounts the marchers were well behaved and peaceful. In fact by the time the demonstration began to wind down things had gone so smoothly both cops and organizers were congratulating each other on how successful the march was.

Then the lunatics struck. Even at this hour there is confusion over how many gunmen there were and where they were located. Five Dallas police officers were killed. One of them, Patrick Zamarripa, a five year veteran of the transit police, had survived three different tours in Iraq. Seven others were wounded along with at least two civilians.

After the fire fight in Dallas subsided, former one term Illinois republican congressman, Joe Walsh, now a syndicated radio host, tweeted this: "Obama should watch out. Real America is coming after you." To make sure no one misunderstood his message he then tweeted, "This is now war. Watch out Black Lives Matter punks."

Gandhi he's not, but at least Brother Walsh, unlike a lot of other people this week, didn't open fire. However, given his well reasoned rhetoric, he might have plenty of time and opportunities for that later.

One of the current NRA theories repeated ad nauseam says, if everyone has a weapon we will all be safer and mass shootings will be stopped cold. Yeah, well, everyone involved in this blood soaked week had a gun. Sterling Alton did. So did Philando Castile. Hell, he even told the cop who killed him he did in order to follow the letter of the law. The Dallas cops were all armed, but tragically so were the lethal psychotics who ambushed them.

This is a degree of insanity not seen anywhere outside of a few select war zones.

So what did all this gun totin' stuff get us this week? The African-American population has a lower than ever level of trust in the police, while the cops, thanks to those deadly clowns in Dallas, aren't going to be any less wary--or trigger happy--when a situation involving a black person arises.

No wonder much of the world views our society with, as Hunter Thompson once wrote, fear and loathing. We're a desperately violent bunch and every last one of us owns guns--lots and lots of guns. And, as we've seen far too often, the evidence proves that on any whim, or excuse, we're more than willing to use them.

sic vita est


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