On the Current “Riots”

On the Current ‘Riots”

In 1968 I watched the news and black folks were marching, carrying signs and the policemen were knocking them down with fire hoses and sicking dogs on them.

“Why are they doing that?!” I asked

“Because they are marching.”

“But you can march and carry signs. That’s not against the law.”

“Look, some people don’t like black people.”

“Why not?”

“You’re in the south now. Keep quiet or you’re gonna get hurt.”

“No, this is stupid. If a march comes near here, I’m joining them.”

“No. You are not. Just shut up.”

Two years later I rode my bike to the courthouse in Leesburg, Florida. It was hot and I was looking for a drinking fountain.

I found one with a sign over it, “White.”

“It’s a porcelain fountain, obviously it’s white. Why do they have a sign here?”

“It’s for white people.”

“Where do black people get water?”

“Probably from a hose out in back.”

“What the hell? That’s stupid. I’m drinking out of the hose.”

“No you’re not. Want to get killed?”

Willis McCall was sheriff there. He was famous for shooting black prisoners in the back because they were “trying to escape.” His reign of terror was not ended until the FBI stepped in. He was never charged.

Later I met a Klan leader and a Neo Nazi, both of which were learning experiences. Look, the wielders of deadly force have been murdering black people for many, many years and getting away with it. It’s time to stop that. Other developed nations arrest lawbreakers without murdering them. That practice is itself a threat to our legal system and our reputation worldwide. It’s been going on a long time. It needs to stop, for the sake of the victims and for the sake for the good cops, who are the majority.

You decent cops: INSIST on bad cops being prosecuted. People don’t “riot” until they feel their lives are threatened. Their lives ARE threatened; it’s a valid fear. Sure all kinds of extremists will now come in to use the publicity for their own agenda, but remember:

Bottom line, it’s about the wielders of force getting away with murder. We can do better.

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