I am a Dallasite (I know that I now live in West Virginia). I wasn’t born in Dallas, but moved to Dallas at the age of 6. I grew up in Dallas. I did medical school in Dallas. The sadness and guilt around the Kennedy assassination was then and continues to be palpable. Dallas is a great city with all of the benefits and problems of a large American metropoli. This is going to hurt for a long time. This #DallasShooting happened blocks from where Kennedy was shot. Kennedy, adding with many of the victims of this shooting, were taken to Parkland Hospital.
The fact that someone decided that targeting police was an idea which needed to be acted on is sad, twisted and unhinged. The killing of innocents is always wrong. It is un-American and it is not consistent with our Judeo-Christian heritage.
It has been reported that one of the shooters claimed that he wanted to kill white people; especially white police officers. He stated that he had acted alone. These proclamations prove that he was indeed an unhinged racist.
It is relatively ingenious the way the Dallas police neutralized the shooter. After negotiations broke down, there was an exchange of gunfire. It became apparent to the police that the suspect was barricaded in fairly well. So they used a robot to deliver a bomb, killing the suspect. I have no problem with this. None.
There was some looting of a 7/11. There is no excuse for this whatsoever. I understand frustration. I understand the feeling of disenfranchisement. I can not understand taking advantage of a moment of lawlessness to break into a store and steal beer and wine. that is crazy, unnecessary, and unhelpful. The whole purpose of the protest was to show America that Black Americans are Americans, too… It was to show that Black Americans can, and do, follow the rules like everyone else in America. Therefore, we deserve the same rights as other Americans. This act of stupid selfishness just isn’t helpful.
For some reason we Americans seem to have trouble articulating two ideas at once. The media would have us believe that you have to be either for the police or for #BlackLivesMatter. This is wrong. I appreciate and support the police. At the same time I understand that there is something wrong when Black men die at a high rate when they (we) encounter the police. Something has to change.
Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old boy who was playing in a Cleveland, Ohio park with a toy gun. Someone called 911 and reported that a “juvenile” was pointing a gun at passersby and that the gun was probably a toy. Two city police officers named Loehmann and Garmback arrived on the scene in separate cars. Critical information had NOT been related to them: they were not told that Tamir was a child, nor that Tamir appeared to be playing with a toy gun. It appears, however, that within two minutes of arriving on the scene Officer Loehmann had taken out his real gun, aimed, opened fire, and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
It is unclear to me how anyone, including a trained police officer, can assess a scene in under two minutes. It is unclear how a grown man can not recognize the difference between a child with a toy gun and a threatening adult. It is equally unclear to me how anyone with a conscience can ever again sleep at night after shooting a child to death. Yet two “independent experts” in police shootings stated that this police shooting was justified and/or reasonable.
In South Carolina, a female high-school student refused to leave the classroom, and security was called. The so-called “school resource officer,” Ben Fields, confronted the girl, grabbed her, and then turned over her desk with her in it, throwing her on the floor in the process. He then dragged her out of the classroom while choking her. Of course, everything was caught on a cell-phone video. Another student, who complained about her classmate’s treatment by calling out “Stop! What are you doing to her?” (or something along those lines), was then arrested for interfering. The security guard has since been fired – but was this the best way to handle a teenager?
America is simply too violent. It seems the only way we try to resolve a dispute is with a gun. Shoot first and asked questions later. It’s as if we live in the Wild, Wild West with Wyatt Earp and John Wesley Hardin, who once shot a man for snoring. Where is Wild Bill Hickok? We have to have a better way of resolving our differences.
Continue reading Violence in America
Ahmed Mohamed started the week by making a clock. Before the end of Monday he was arrested and talking with the cops. Fourteen years old, Mohamed was suspended for reasons that aren’t clear to me. I understand the initial stereotyping. It happens. Mohamed, a Muslim, can’t simply be a bright kid who likes to make things. That’s too American for someone who doesn’t “look” American. Once he gets arrested and the police clear him of any wrong-doing, why doesn’t the school apologize and let Ahmed Mohamed back into class? I don’t know.
Ahmed’s story resonates with many who weren’t mainstream “cool” growing up — those who preferred to spend time taking things apart and rebuilding them, watch old movies with the A/V club, or play video games. His story also embodies the social urgency called to correct the racial, ethnic, religious, and cultural discrimination behind police profiling and the deep-seated perceptions that too often lead to the brutalization of marginalized communities.
But those biases aren’t limited to police encounters, trickling into everyday life and workplaces — an issue the tech industry is working to improve. That’s why, beyond the many lessons Ahmed can teach society about the gross dangers of prejudice, his story also provides a powerful anecdote in acceptance and the importance of diversity in tech.
When all is said and done, can this teenager move on with this life? Can he be better? Well, the answer is maybe. He has to battle through the crap which can be overwhelming sometimes. Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin shows how difficult it can be as she writes, “Whereas Ahmed Muhammad, an evidently obstinate-answering student bringing in a homemade ‘clock’ that obviously could be seen by conscientious teachers as a dangerous wired-up bomb-looking contraption (teachers who are told ‘if you see something, say something!’) gets invited to the White House.” I love it when Sarah is showing her racial bias.