It seems to me that every other day, we hear about a shooting. Orlando, Baltimore, New York, Chicago, Ferguson, California, no matter where the location, one thing is for sure: we need change. We as a whole have to come together and stand for peace instead of being torn apart and fighting each other. Sure, we can all say that we need change, but it really all comes down to actions. A goal without a plan is just a dream, and I think we need to start planning a little better. We must act for a cause in order to affect. Just like everyone else, I am entitled to my opinion, and feel like getting a little bit of this off of my chest.
To start, most of the shootings that have been getting heavily publicized usually involve a white cop who guns down an unarmed African American, the police find a way to “justify” the murder, and the charges get dropped. In 2016, the police have killed 123 African Americans, 30% of them were non-violent and unarmed. In 2015, 97% of the cases involving the shootings of African Americans by police didn’t result in any police officer(s) involved being charged with a crime. In America, African Americans are 3x more likely to be killed by a police officer than white people. Why am I giving all of this information? I feel that this is a problem, and it needs to be stopped.
I’ve heard plenty of discussions and debates, read plenty of articles and even seen some of you reading this article post some form of opinion on social media one way or another about the matter. I chose to view this matter from both sides and establish my own opinion, instead of being narrow minded and viewing it in one way or the other. I feel that, for the most part, the way our judicial system went about the murders of these men by police was clearly unacceptable. How do 97% of these cops get off so easy? Of course, there were some instances in some cases where the shooting may have been “justified”, but I can never think that shooting someone who is unarmed and non-violent can ever be justified.
I also hear people, mostly white people; say that the feel the “Black Lives Matter” movement should be more like “All Lives Matter”. I would disagree to some extent. Picture it like this: you’re told that everyone gets a plate of food to eat. Everyone gets a plate of food except you, so you start to complain that you don’t have anything to eat. The thing is those who already have a plate don’t see it like you do, and just assume that you’re complaining for no reason. How can they claim that everyone gets to eat yet they leave you out? That’s like our society: how can we say that “All Lives Matter” and neglect a race as a whole on that matter? The “Black Lives Matter” movement, in my opinion, is a group designated to be the voice of a race that is statistically being ignored and mistreated by our law enforcement and our judicial system.
All that being said, I’d now like to discuss the matter of deaths by cops involving all races in 2016. Just this year, there have been 509 shooting deaths involving police in America, more than half of the total number of deaths in 2015. 95% of the shootings involve men, 55% of those killed had a gun (or were assumed to), 46% being white, and 24% of those shot were believed to have some form of mental illness. Now, some can look at this data and say that the 24% of African American’s murdered isn’t as much as the 46% of whites, but you should also consider that African American’s only make up 13% of the United States population, so that number is a lot higher than you would think. Also, a majority of those shot were presumed to have a gun on them, but in at least 22 of those cases, the officer responsible for the shooting mistook a toy gun for a real gun.
After compiling all of these facts and really trying to understand the big picture, I came to a few conclusions of my own. To start, I want to say that these instances and numbers may seem scary, because shit they are, but they definitely do not reflect the opinions and morals of every cop, nor do they reflect the opinions and morals of every race or person. Not all cops are bad, but the actions of a few lead us to believe that they are guilty as a whole. Are we 100% certain that all the information provided in these cases were valid? Of course not. There are three sides to every story: one side, the other side, and the truth. All we as Americans are asking for is the third side.
Another thing about these types of instances that really puts a thorn in my side is the way that our media spins these stories. Across all platforms, headlines are made targeting one group or another, telling the stories the way they see fit as opposed to telling us what actually happened. These stories are told in ways to scare the general public and, the way I see it, try to create a racial divide in this country. Instead of fighting one another or trying to say who’s right and wrong, we should come together and fight for each other. We’re stronger as a whole than we would be if we all decided to part. All I hope for at the end of the day is peace. I want the quality of life to improve instead of waking up every day and expecting another day filled with negativity and violence. Take from this article what you’d like, but if you’re going to leave with something it’s this: we need change, and we won’t get it until we act. It’s only a matter of time before these moments of silence start to make noise, and it won’t be for the better.