No Indictment from Grand Jury in Eric Garner Case

 

icantbreathe

I’m deeply disheartened (I literally gagged) that the grand jury found no cause to indict police officers that placed a choke hold on Eric Garner, which was determined his cause of death. Garner’s death was ruled a homicide. How could it not? It was the chokehold seen around the globe.

But it wasn’t enough for the jurors. I’m beginning to wonder what would be. How can lives (yes, LIVES) be so violently taken and the only outcome is a makeshift how to get away with murder fraternity among Zimmerman, Wilson, Oliver and Haste.

Yes, Mr. President, it is an American problem. A biggie that predates your existence and mine. The only thing that does change are the names. The faces and pleas for justice go unchanged.

If We Must Die (1919) by Claude McKay
If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honourus through dead!
O kinsman! We must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave, And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

Color Chart (2013) by Guy Farmer
Certain
Lives
Are
More
Expendable
According
To
An
Outdated
Color
Chart.

Rehab for Ferguson

 A burning building in Ferguson. Image Courtesy of Jim Young Reuters

A burning building in Ferguson. Image Courtesy of Jim Young Reuters

Once again justice wasn’t served. Was I surprised? Nope, because I knew what the decision would be. We all knew. Calling in the national guard, declaring a state of emergency were huge indicators that local officials knew something we didn’t. But we all knew, even before the prosecutor matter-of-factly announced no indictment for Darren Wilson, there would be no justice for Mike Brown, so therefore no peace for Ferguson, MO.

And in the heat of that moment, when digesting that bitter pill of fact, one of Mike’s relatives yells, “burn this bitch to the ground,” into the crowd of protestors, how is that not understandable? I’m not slapping my seal of approval on violence and destruction, but I get why it’s there. It’s a quick fix. An easy way to drain the rage burning out of people’s pores and into local storefronts and car dealerships faster than the actual flames.

But, who are we (as in Black folk) really destroying?

Burning the local Family Dollar that benefits your community is like shooting your own self in the foot, or to put a poetic spin on it: it’s like you drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die. It’s not effective. It wasn’t in L.A. and it won’t be in Ferguson.

Why?

Well, other than the most obvious point that stealing a big screen TV doesn’t make up for a murdered teenager laying in the street for four hours and then being whisked away not in an ambulance, but a shady SUV. (No amount of minivans burnt in a car dealership can make up for that sad reality.)

How is it effective? How is–to borrow a quote from Rev. Al Sharpton–“burning your own stuff”–going to make things right? How is behaving like an animal, which law enforcement was banking on us doing, illustrate we aren’t to the white powers that be.

It doesn’t. It just makes us a distraction. The rioting and the looting divert attention away from the fact an unarmed–the prosecutor failed to mention that in the press conference–black teenager was shot 12 times and his murderer walks away. Unpunished.

So, yes let’s protest–peacefully–but more importantly, take back our power by letting our voices be heard. Not just in darkened streets near courthouses, but in voting booths where there’s proof our voices echo each other and demand a change.

Let’s demand body cameras for police officers around the country, elect state reps that support it, and have an honest debate (not just on Facebook) about race relations. We need to channel our frustrations towards making a change.

Otherwise we will be in this same place, next week, next month or next year mourning another young life ┬áruled unworthy of justice.Let’s show them our lives matter. We all matter.