Lives Matter

Every time I chat with my brother on the phone, it’s the same damn thing, “Angie, you need to apply for LAPD. Go through the academy and be a cop. You’d be great and you could finally start your life.” My brother is sorely mistaken. I’d be awful at being a cop and I’d consider my life – and all it’s purpose – to be over. It’d be worse than selling my soul to Satan itself.

I am horrified. Terrified. Mummified. Infuriated, debilitated, flummoxed. There aren’t enough words to put it simply. I AM FUCKING MAD.

This isn’t a #BlackLivesMatter bit, even bigger than #LivesMatter, it’s the elementary difference between right and wrong! Do and don’t do. Police officers have taken their authority too goddamn far! How is it that people are up in arms about guns when it comes to thinking about the travesty that happened in Orlando and yet Black men are being shot left and right at the mere suspicion on them carrying a gun. Or even barely posing a threat.

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All day, the fuss in the news (which, nowadays means our own Facebook feeds) has been the following:

Alton Sterling was reported to Baton Rouge Police as a threat by an anonymous caller. He was just hanging around outside a mini-mart selling CDs and suddenly that prompts fatal gunshot from two police officers.

And then, I came across the following on my feed. A second fatality in a consecutive day:

Nearly 10 minutes of concrete proof of what’s so fucked right now. The woman in the video, Lavish Reynolds, and her daughter witnessed her boyfriend, Philando Castile, be shot 4 times after being instructed to reach into his back pocket for his wallet. It’s entirely heartbreaking to hear her baby girl say, “It’s okay mommy, it’s okay, I’m here with you.” I am astounded by how Lavish managed to not go apeshit on these cops for what they’d done. Oh, but wait, that would’ve warranted her death, and maybe even the death of her daughter in addition to. That was her only form of survival in that moment. To go Live on Facebook has only served as exposure, but what more? The real criminals of this video will not be prosecuted. They might just be suspended from work. Whoop de fucking doo.

And the nerve of the cops in the out of sight background of the video to call the little girl “sweetie” and “sweetheart”. That comes off as hey little kid, obey us because that’s the only option you have. Hey little kid, learn quick and learn now that violence and abuse will run rampant in your life and there ain’t nothing you can do about it. HEY KID, you’re a POC, you were born wrong. 

This apprehension of police is nothing new to me. As a matter of fact, it’s been engrained in me. Sirens are the soundtrack of Inglewood, California. And gunshots are the bass line. When I see a cop, I want to crawl under the biggest rock in sight. Want to vanish into thin air, like the effect of a nuclear bomb exploding from within. I do my best to be my best because I know that they’re just out to get people. And we, as citizens of our #GreatAmerica are not allowed to stand up for ourselves. Stand up for the correction of such wrongs.

I distinctly remember being barricaded and then shoved around by guns and plastic shields at a non-violent rally that happened at my alma mater (UC Riverside) when the UC Regents held their meeting on campus. We wanted their attention. We wanted their time. We needed to discuss the deeply rooted issues that were eating us – students – alive. Instead, we were met with swat squads armored from all over the Inland Empire. I remember being beaten with a baton when my brother and I were caught up in the Lakers Championship Riot of 2000 that took place just outside of Staples Center. We were children, trying to find our way out. Instead, we were taken to the ground and threatened with our lives. I remember getting ready for school on a random morning when suddenly I hear loud banging next door. “POLICE, OPEN UP!” No one opened, so they let themselves in. Seconds after, I heard a series of gunshots. I dropped to the ground, crawled over to find the house phone to make a phone call because I was home alone. “MOM, come home now! Police are shooting,” I cried into the receiver. The block was closed off. No one was allowed in or out.

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RIVERSIDE, CA – JANUARY 19, 2012: University of California police in riot gear keep hundreds of student protesters from entering the Highland Union Building where the UC Regents were meeting to discuss budget issues. Students protested tuition rate hikes and were held back from entering the regents meeting after early morning protesters disrupting the meeting. Campus police along Riverside police and Riverside County Sheriffs were on campus.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

This isn’t to say that all cops are bad or corrupt. This isn’t to say that every manifestation of authority comes in an iniquitous form. No. However, I will materialize in my overgeneralization from all the proof I’ve lived and continue to witness. I’ve never had faith and probably never will of the American justice system (or lack thereof). Too often, innocent people are wrongfully harmed, convicted, and killed, and we bystanders are the ones left in ruins from the testimonies.

Last I spoke with my brother, I put it this way, “Police haven’t done anything nearly as severely to me as they’ve done other innocent people. But if and when I see a police officer, I get nothing but unfavorable feelings. They aren’t trustworthy. They’re power hungry folk who embark on endless, fruitless, inconsequential power trips that have come to normalize police brutality. They’re everything that I stand against. Why would I ever want to fiddle around with that insurmountable aggression and violence or anything of that sort. It’s immoral.”

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We can write, we can tweet, we can rally, we can pledge. There are numerous ways to bring attention to this abhorrent issue. We’ll face cynicism along the way, but something must be done! That said, it’s also crucial to know one’s limits when ingesting this content. Put simply and from a beholder:

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My condolences go out to the families of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, and the 113 other Black men killed by police this year so far. Lest I forget Sandra Bland and Pedro Villanueva. To list so many names is sickening. To even have a list is sin.

– In Solidarity

Darkness
Daring

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7 Replies to “Lives Matter”

  1. What a sick world we live in that the best thing this woman can do is post to facebook and pray that someone pays attention.

    The police are out of control.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It really ought to go past attention. Her video is full blown proof of the shit police get away with and yet nothing is being done to control their actions. How is it that civilians are taught to behave in the presence of authority and obey their demands but they’re granted guns and power with no remorse. How far will it go?!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It definitely should… I think a lot people feel hopeless about the situation with the government, and are unsure what to do. At least that’s kind of the group I’m in. I’m honestly in shock, I hate to think what the cop would have done if he wasn’t being recorded.
        I’m not sure how to word this, but I’ll just clumsily say that if I had a notion left that white privilege didn’t exist, this video killed it. I’ve been in the same situation as the woman-in a car with a guy pulled over for a broken taillight, weed in the car-and in my situation the worst fear present was prosecution, not random murder. I think I’m kind of rambling at you now, so I’m sorry.
        Thank you for posting,this really changed my perspective on this…

        Like

      2. Jocelyn, I appreciate your honesty. You can ramble at me all you want, the least I can do is listen (or read, more realistically).
        At the bare minimum, it’s important to establish an insightful and safe dialogue. It’s our only hope and really our only outlet.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. it’s a sad and sorry situation. i just read yesterday that hilary says crimes against cops won’t go unpunished… well, they don’t anyway! how many times has a cop killer actually survived?? when they start making sure cop’s crimes against civilians don’t go unpunished, we may be able to breathe a little easier. as long as they never pay a price for taking these lives away from us, their brothers in blue will know they’re immune too. and they’ll never see what’s wrong with it. here was my rage on it: https://kstanlyksays.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/darkness-at-the-hands-of-the-blue/

    obama made a very good point about how well the cops in dallas handled that situation. it could have been madness. so no, it’s not all cops. but “good” cops who stand behind bad cops are no longer good cops.

    we need clear-headed, logic-based people working on real solutions. this is a national epidemic that needs to be addressed. scott woods suggests a good place to start:
    https://scottwoodsmakeslists.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/what-would-it-take-to-stop-police-killings/

    Liked by 2 people

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