Thursday, July 7, 2016

"I can't breathe" and guns

In 2014, New York police were videotaped holding down a black man who was being arrested for selling CDs illegally on the sidewalk.  They had him pinned.  A passerby filmed it with a cell phone.  Eric Garner (the black man) groaned "I can't breathe!" as a police officer held him pinned in an illegal choke hold.

Garner died.  The coroner determined that holding him and choking him to death was a homicide.  Despite this, despite the video, the policeman responsible was not indicted.

Earlier this week,   Alton Sterling was selling CDs in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The police arrived to arrest him (why, is not yet clear).  They claimed he was threatening people with a gun, and they used a taser.  He was on the ground, pinned down.  They shot him.  He is dead.  But he had a gun in his pocket, which the police say is the reason he was shot. There is video of this, which disproves some of the police claims.

Last night, a police officer in a suburb of St Paul, MN pulled over the car driven by Philando Castile    for a broken tail light.  Castile  told them, appropriately, that  he was a licensed owner of a gun.  The police officer  told him to put his hands up, but shot him in the arm 4 times as he did so.  He died.  This was recorded on video by Castile's girlfriend, who asked why the police shot a man who was just getting his license? She was pulled out of the car, handcuffed, and put in  the back of a police car with her 4 year old daughter.

Remember John Crawford, who was shot by police in a Walmart for carrying a BB gun he wanted to buy?  (And then the police tried to badger his girlfriend into saying he was a threat.)  Remember when   Tamir Rice, a child of 12, was  playing in a Cleveland park with a toy gun (as boys do), and was shot literally within seconds of the police arriving?   These killings were also videotaped.   The police were not charged.

Except for Garner, all these deaths involve black men (or a boy) with a gun.  These leads one to conclude that an African American exerting his second amendment rights is quite literally taking his life in his hands.

Indeed, I am not the first to suggest that if you want gun control, encourage African Americans to buy guns.  But you'd better buy them body armor too.   Because the response of the police to a black man with a gun appears to be "shoot first".

This is a living nightmare.


No comments: