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Stopped for a Broken Tail-light, Shot to Death While Reaching for License

2016-07-07

Another police shooting.  In this case, a man was stopped for a broken tail-light in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.  He told the policeman he was licensed to carry a gun, then reached for his license.  The policeman shot him to death.  The immediate aftermath to the shooting was recorded by his girlfriend and posted to Facebook on a video that has been viewed many times.

This policeman’s behavior is typical of the way nonwhite people are treated by police whenever there is the slightest apprehension, or even without provocation.  Another man was shot by a policeman while reaching for his driver’s license, in a similar incident, without provocation, but fortunately the man survived.  That incident has been forgotten in the crush of other incidents that seem to occur on a daily basis.

This is the United States: a gun-saturated culture, a trigger-happy culture.  Mass shootings by civilians occur almost every day.  Policemen shoot unarmed, unresisting black and brown men almost every day.  Young men in the inner cities, men of color, shoot each other multiple times every day.  It’s not just the guns in the hands of ordinary people; it’s the guns in the hands of the people, policemen, who are supposed to know how (and how not) to use them.

This is a tragic state of affairs and it could have been avoided.  The education and training needed to prevent these occurrences is lacking in almost every police department in the country.  The mind-set of those who enter into police work is abnormal and the level of police prejudice against people of color is alarming.

Worse, there is a mind-set, especially among young men of color, that says that everyone who disagrees with you is dangerous and the only defense is to carry a pistol.  This mind-set is apparent among men of all colors and every age who see life as a deadly struggle and firearms as the only protection for one’s manhood and personal space.

I know I’m a lonely voice crying out in the wilderness but still I say:  Why can’t we all just get along?

 

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