A protester displays a placard at the Union Square in New York on April 14, 2015 during a demonstration against the recent shooting death of Walter Scott by a South Carolina police officer. Walter Scott, a 50-year-old father of four, was shot in North Charleston, South Carolina after fleeing from a routine traffic stop while a bystander caught the event on video. The shooting follows a series of similar incidents that have provoked outrage and protests across the United States, most notoriously the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last August. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
The killings of the five police officers in Dallas recently by lone sniper Micah Xavier Johnson was a vicious, calculated and despicable act. I condemn these killings in no uncertain terms. I also condemn the killings of black citizens Alton Sterling, age 37 of Baton Rouge and Philandro Castile, age 32 of St. Paul, Minnesota at the hands of police. Nothing justifies these killings but one cannot escape the nexus between these three events. There is no question that police overstep their bounds and brutalize and murder the citizens they are sworn to protect. With the killings in Dallas the situation is only going to get worse. I stand in solidarity with the Black Lives matter movement but I believe we are all at risk, white, black, brown, or whatever. We should not have to live in fear of those who are supposed to serve and protect. I am very concerned about the militarizing of police across this country. They have been given and allowed to purchase weapons and tools of war. Who are they going to use these weapons against? I am very concerned that the Dallas police department used a bomb carrying robot to neutralize Johnson. This sets a very dangerous precedent. I believe we are moving in the direction of a police state and a fascist nation. George Orwell said, “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”
I think that an armed citizenry is not necessarily the answer. The police are scared shitless out there on the streets because there are so many guns. Sterling and Castile both had guns but they were legal. What do you think is going to happen if you get stopped by a cop and you have a legal gun in your possession? This is dangerous set of circumstances to say the least. If you are driving while black and you have a taillight out it could be disastrous.
I am a gun owner and believe in the second amendment. But I believe common sense gun regulation should be in order. Backgrounds checks are necessary and should be beefed up to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them. Loop holes should be closed. Also, no citizen needs a military type assault weapon of the kind that killed the five officers in Dallas or the 49 patrons at the Pulse Nightclub in Dallas. This is pure insanity.
We need to change policing modelling in the country to a more community based model. Hiring practices must change. Police departments must stop hiring homicidal maniacs. If you are a policeman and you are so scared that you shoot first and ask questions later then maybe you should consider a different line of work.
I have had my share of run ins with the police. I was very nearly arrested at the Dali Lama visit here in Louisville when I was harassed by a Louisville police officer for trying to bring in a bottle of water that was sold to me but the YUM center. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor so I let it go, but I felt threatened and intimidated. Also, the irony was not lost on me the type of event I was attending. This was not the first time I have been harassed by police. The first time being when I was eight years old walking alone along a street in Ridgecrest, California when a police car pulled up beside me and asked what I was doing there. I of course was immediately put on the defensive and felt threatened and intimidated. There have been many instances since then. And, I hasten to add, I am a law abiding citizen that has raised a family and has worked my entire life.
I will continue to speak out against police brutality and stand up for civil rights. There is no more pressing issue facing our country.