Lazy Saturday Reads: America the ViolentPosted: July 9, 2016 Filed under: just because | Tags: Alton Sterling, Dallas Massacre, gun violence, Hillary Clinton, law enforcement, love and kindness, mass shootings, Philando Castile, Shorky Eldaly II 46 Comments
We’ve arrived at the end of another terrible week in America. When will it end? Never, until we do something about the availability of guns–especially military grade weapons that are designed for the express purpose of killing human beings. People should not own military grade weapons, if you like guns then get yourself airsoft gun, which is safer.
I’m going to begin with an excerpt from an essay at NBC News by Shorky Eldaly II: An America I See in the Distance. Eldaly was likely writing before the massacre in Dallas took place; his piece is mostly about police killings of Black people. Please do read the whole thing at the link.
Hours after the first report of another American, another father, another son, killed without the provocation all I could do was repeat this mantra to myself as I searched my home, for something to remind me of why we must go on; why we’re not allowed to give up on an America that seems, in some ways, now more distant than ever.
Today our nation struggles to find its breath after the loss of Alton Sterling. As we are still grieving the loss of life in Orlando I try, alongside the rest of the world, to make sense of the loss of Philando Castile.
In the barrage of questions being posed by experts on television screens and news feed updates, I whisper back, “Where are our solutions?” And I apologize (to who or what I am unsure) for not having done enough, in the wake of these executions.
Amidst these acts of terrorism, I am left at a loss for not just words, but of an ability to fully comprehend the true amount of loss we’ve suffered. I’m searching for an America I can still believe in.
Eldaly asks the questions all decent Americans are asking–where is the America we once believed in? When can we be proud of our country again? Or did that country never truly exist except in our imaginations?
This week we’ve seen the convergence of our national plague of mass shootings and the disastrous effects of racism on the way laws are enforced. The Dallas shooter Mikah Johnson claimed he was angry about Black people being murdered by police. In Tennesee, Lakeem Keon Scott may also have been motivated by anger at recent police shootings. He killed Jennifer Rooney, a letter carrier and wounded three others, including a police officer. At the same time, many police officers say say they feel under siege from people who are angry at police-involved shootings around the country.
As Eldaly asks, “Where are our solutions?” Not in Congress, as long as Republicans are utterly beholden to the NRA. A bit more from his essay:
I know we must encompass something more than sense of power to create change. We must restore a sense of compassion and freedom that illuminates the rhetoric of America’s founders. Though these notions of compassion and freedom were not applicable to the nation’s current populous, America can be, and has already in many ways been re-founded and re-defined in the 21st century.
It is by the hands of those, like my parents, who sought and chose to be American that America has been redefined. Their sacrifice establishes the vision that, for most of its life, has been America’s fairy tale. It is in their lives, and the lives of their children, that I see the evidence that we can grow, that we will be great.
It is in that same vein that Black Lives mattering is not a negation of the rights of other individuals, but a needed imperative to correct the record for a nation whose Congress once legislated the counting of people as property and now sanctions their death at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve.
Because, in truth, the men and women who live narratives of hate — regardless of race — are no more American, than those who look to divide us and foster hate or fear within us. These individuals are terrorists and nothing short of that.
For each of those who work against equity, of life, of liberty, to those who kill the innocent — for each one of us you kill — you only strengthen our resolve.
You only strengthen the discipline with which we hold ourselves accountable, increasing the heights we dare to dream.
We are the sons and daughters of men and women who against insurmountable odds survived, who in every moment inhabit the American ideals in ways that our forefathers could not have imagined.
We can not allow violence or fear, to shrink us back or lead us to hate or division, because in ways that only love can sustain — we are dreamers, we are doers, and we are, in our resilience and resolve, bravery, selflessness, and love.
During her campaign for president, Hillary Clinton has said repeatedly that we need more love and kindness in this country. This morning I got an email from the Clinton campaign–you probably got it too. I’m going to post the whole thing here:
Like so many people across America, I have been following the news of the past few days with horror and grief.
On Tuesday, Alton Sterling, father of five, was killed in Baton Rouge — approached by the police for selling CDs outside a convenience store. On Wednesday, Philando Castile, 32 years old, was killed outside Minneapolis — pulled over by the police for a broken tail light.
And last night in Dallas, during a peaceful protest related to those killings, a sniper targeted police officers — five have died: Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, and Lorne Ahrens. Their names, too, will be written on our hearts.
What can one say about events like these? It’s hard to know where to start. For now, let’s focus on what we already know, deep in our hearts: There is something wrong in our country.
There is too much violence, too much hate, too much senseless killing, too many people dead who shouldn’t be. No one has all the answers. We have to find them together. Indeed, that is the only way we can find them.
Let’s begin with something simple but vital: listening to each other.
White Americans need to do a better job of listening when African Americans talk about seen and unseen barriers faced daily. We need to try, as best we can, to walk in one another’s shoes. To imagine what it would be like if people followed us around stores, or locked their car doors when we walked past, or if every time our children went to play in the park, or just to the store to buy iced tea and Skittles, we said a prayer: “Please God, don’t let anything happen to my baby.”
Let’s also put ourselves in the shoes of police officers, kissing their kids and spouses goodbye every day and heading off to do a dangerous job we need them to do. Remember what those officers in Dallas were doing when they died: They were protecting a peaceful march. When gunfire broke out and everyone ran to safety, the police officers ran the other way — into the gunfire. That’s the kind of courage our police and first responders show all across America.
We need to ask ourselves every single day: What can I do to stop violence and promote justice? How can I show that your life matters — that we have a stake in another’s safety and well-being?
Elie Wiesel once said that “the opposite of love is not hate — it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death — it’s indifference.”
None of us can afford to be indifferent toward each other — not now, not ever. We have a lot of work to do, and we don’t have a moment to lose. People are crying out for criminal justice reform. People are also crying out for relief from gun violence. The families of the lost are trying to tell us. We need to listen. We need to act.
I know that, just by saying all these things together, I may upset some people.
I’m talking about criminal justice reform the day after a horrific attack on police officers. I’m talking about courageous, honorable police officers just a few days after officer-involved killings in Louisiana and Minnesota. I’m bringing up guns in a country where merely talking about comprehensive background checks, limits on assault weapons and the size of ammunition clips gets you demonized.
But all these things can be true at once.
We do need police and criminal justice reforms, to save lives and make sure all Americans are treated as equal in rights and dignity.
We do need to support police departments and stand up for the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect us.
We do need to reduce gun violence.
We may disagree about how, but surely we can all agree with those basic premises. Surely this week showed us how true they are.
I’ve been thinking today about a passage from Scripture that means a great deal to me — maybe you know it, too:
“Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”
There is good work for us to do, to find a path ahead for all God’s children. There are lost lives to redeem and bright futures to claim. We must not lose heart.
May the memory of those we’ve lost light our way toward the future our children deserve.
Now here are some links for you to explore:
New York Times: Suspect in Dallas Attack had Interest in Black Power Groups.
ABC News: Gun Used in Dallas Massacre Similar to Other Mass Shootings.
Los Angeles Times: Dallas police used a robot to kill a gunman, a new tactic that raises ethical questions.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Piedmont Park hanging referred to FBI.
New York Daily News: Trump barred from speaking to NYPD officers; Bratton says Dallas tragedy not a photo op.
The New Republic: The Return of Clinton Derangement Syndrome.
The Washington Post: The math of mass shootings.
The Chicago Tribune: Ex-Illinois Rep. Walsh says Twitter took down Dallas tweet ‘Watch out Obama.’
Buzzfeed: Trump Bought $120,000 Luxury Trip With Trump Foundation Money At 2008 Charity Auction.
The Atlantic: The Republican Party’s White Strategy.
Bloomberg: Sanders’ Influence Fades Ahead of Clinton Endorsement.
What else is happening? What stories are you following today?
Have a great weekend, Sky Dancers!
Did you have a link for that first essay?
I just posted it below.
It probably got deleted by my computer. Will go fix it.
Thx! Reading this from my phone and hard to grab stuff like that by one finger pecking! Interesting quote so wanted to read entire thing.
Thanks BB. The letter from Hillary was in part the speech she gave yesterday to the AME Convention in Philadelphia. The photo of attendees surrounding Hillary with their hands touching her in prayer almost made me cry. I will try to find the photo and post it here.
Since the killings in Orlando I’ve been doing some major soul searching. I posted my thoughts on the last thread not realizing you had posted your Saturday work. All I have to say is thank you for being here and doing such good work. Peace and Love to you all and have a good Saturday.
I think this is the link, its on her instagram. It is a beautiful picture, the composition is strong.
That’s the link. I tried to post it, but I didn’t do it right. Thank you babama!
Louisiana has been erupting with protests. Last night in Baton Rouge we saw police with riot gear and 30 arrests. Congress better start acting.
I’m having 50’s and 60’s flashbacks.
Tonight it’s even worse … https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/07/09/arrests-in-baton-rouge-where-black-panthers-confront-state-troopers/?tid=sm_fb&utm_term=.33128eddf640
I didn’t see the link to the Shorky Eldaly II essay so here it is if you want to read the whole thing…
I’m not a religious person but I found this image very moving
I posted it under your initial mention, didn’t see you had already done. Its a very moving picture.
Oh, I’m glad you posted it, what I posted was so confusing. Thank you for getting it right! 🙂
Very moving. Thank you for posting it.
We all need to share strength and support. Stronger together, through the pain.
Thanks for the excellent commentary and graphics on this horrific week and the soul searching our nation requires. Thanks also for sharing Hillary Clinton’s statement. It strikes the right tone for this difficult moment. It is long past time for all of us to unite, and to face the issue of gun violence. If we do nothing yet again, I don’t see how we can survive as the United States of America.
Thank you. I don’t know if I’m going to survive. I’m just despairing. Did you get your post written yesterday? I’d like to read it.
Honestly, I’m beginning to agree with the comparisons to 1967-68. I don’t think it can be denied that most of our country’s problems go back to racism.
Most of our countries problems go back to some sort of “ism”. Racism is the ugliest of all in the American experience. Some days I just hang my head at the shame of it all.
Add in easy access to military weapons, and things are just waiting to be set off.
Hey BB, my mom mentioned the same thing…about this all has memories of the sixties.
This past week has been the toughest so far. But the whole year has been rough, and it is a lot like 1967-68. Which is just about right, since our history is so cyclical, in general. We will survive. Yes, I posted the article “Reflections from Baltimore on a National Day of Mourning; the link is https://baltimoreblackwoman.com/2016/07/08/reflections-from-baltimore-on-a-national-day-of-mourning/
Love song written by Townes Van Zandt:
I have been knitting infinity scarves to give away to people who need them this winter. Since March, I have finished thirty scarves. Hope to make at least fifty by the start of cold weather season. It is something positive I can do.
Love to all the Sky Dancers. Try not to despair.
A kind and love act Beata. Love to you too!
Thank you, Mouse. Your post on the last thread was beautifully written. If people missed it, I hope they will go back and read it.
Thank you sweet lady!
Beata that is such a loving and moving thing to do…if you take a minute, look ate one of the cartoons where the infinity sign is used to symbolize something powerful. I thought it was one of the best cartoons to come out of this week.
It does our souls good to know that we have a good friend with you Beata. We love the way you care about others, by making them feel warm, and giving them comfort when it is windy and cold. I love looking through your eyes, and I love listening with your ears. Your selection of music, always so wonderful too.
I love you, Fannie. You are an inspiration to us all.
What a compassionate and thoughtful act! Thank you for your work.
Love to you!
Wow. That gives me hope.
That made me cry.
Trump supporter who waved gun at Black Lives Matter rally came armed for a massacre
Six More Women Allege That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Them
It’s about time the deeds of these powerful predators were laid bare. Donald Trump also has a rape lawsuit against him from an encounter in the 90’s. Brave Ladies, STAND UP!
Thanx BB, lots of good reads this morning. I was really interested in the Dallas Robot Killing Machine. If we don’t get a handle on this with laws in place, I see widespread abuse beyond our control.
Heh. That’s good news!
Loved everyone’s conversation here~ it is going to make my whole day better. Thanks!