KILL UNARMED BLACK MEN, but keep it within the rule of law so you’ll get away with it.
For some folks, that’s the takeaway from four high-profile killings of unarmed black guys – three of them kids.
- Death by chokehold. Eric Garner, 43, New York City, died July 19 after an arresting officer applied a chokehold, and kept it on him while Garner repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” I counted 12 times on the video, though other noises eventually drowned him out. The grand jury on Wednesday refused to indict the police officer who put the squeeze on Garner.
- Death by seven or eight bullets to the body. Michael Brown, 18, Ferguson, Missouri, died on August 9 after a fight with a policeman who fired 12 rounds. The grand jury, last week, on November 24, refused to indict the officer.
- Death by a bullet to the intestines and pelvis. Tamir Rice, 12, Cleveland, died two weeks ago, November 22, when police responded to a 911 call about a man waving a gun in a park. It was a kid waving a toy revolver. Surveillance video shows that the police drove into the park and shot him dead as soon as they opened their car door. The officers are on leave, pending a review of the case.
- Death by a bullet to the chest. Trayvon Martin, 17, in Sanford, Florida, died February 26, 2012 after a neighborhood watch volunteer followed him, fought him, and shot him in the chest. A jury acquitted the shooter in July 2013.
What’s a Christian to do? Whether we’re white, black, or some shade in between.
I decided to start by treating my black neighbor to a meal. I sent him an email invitation with the subject line: Eat pizza with a cracker.
I saw him a few hours later in the driveway. We chatted. He seemed open to the idea. No date set yet.
Given these deaths I’ve reported, I’m thinking there’s a particular shade of people who need a little extra protection right about now.
I’ll grant you this: some controversial issues aren’t black and white.
This may be the exception.
Skin color, many protestors are insisting, can get a body dead.
Here’s the problem. There’s a lot of apathy in our culture right now. We let a lot slide:
- Politicians bought and paid for by the rich because politicians need money to run for office the way the stinking system is set up now.
- Justice sold to the highest bidder because poor folks get bottom-of-the-barrel lawyers while rich folks get off scott-free with the help of top-of-the-line lawyers.
- Tax welfare for oil companies, when Exxon alone posted a profit last year of $32.6 billion (see bought and paid for politicians above).
Maybe we’re overwhelmed with all the stuff we need to fix and all the people we need to help.
Maybe we need a reminder from one of the sages whose words are preserved in the Bible.
“Speak up for the people who have no voice,
for the rights of all the down-and-outers.
Speak out for justice!
Stand up for the poor and destitute!”
Christians change the world around them. That’s what we do. That’s who we are.
We look for people in need and we help them.
We built the first hospitals in this country. And the first colleges. We run homeless shelters. We adopt orphans. We go on mission trips to Central America.
Sometimes – when we’re particularly motivated – we speak the words that change the rule of law. We bend the law toward justice for the powerless instead of protection for the powerful-and-packing.
There was a Civil Rights movement when I was a boy, led by Christians.
It could happen again. If Christians speak up for the people to whom no one in authority seems to be listening.
Random book winner this week
I give away one free book a week to a randomly selected subscriber to my free blog and quarterly newsletter.
Juan is random this week.