Open season in America; the hunt is on

Sad state of affairs.  (photo credit:  Southern Poverty Law Center)

Sad state of affairs. (photo credit: Southern Poverty Law Center)

Someone posted a statement on Facebook that is as heartbreaking as it is true. The person stated that every dog killed in the dog-fighting ring associated with Mike Vick got more justice than Michael Brown and Eric Garner. This is sadly telling of the state of race relations in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Vick can’t make a touchdown pass without someone saying that he shouldn’t be playing in the NFL after what happened to those dogs.  Well the difference is Vick was wrong, he was convicted, and he paid his debt to society by doing cold hard jail time.  The killers of Brown and Garner were not indicted by their respective grand juries, not even of negligence, even though they snuffed out human lives. And even worse, their killers were those sworn to protect and serve.

And then we have the ongoing investigation in Ohio of the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was brandishing a toy gun. The police normally would have sat in the car, yelled through the bull horn for the child to drop the weapon, and then shoot him if he refused to comply. The video shows that the police sped to the scene, jumped out the car, and unloaded a hail of bullets without saying a word to the boy.

The police officer responsible in this case left the Independence Police Department under threat of disciplinary action. His personnel record said he showed a “dangerous loss of composure during live range training” and an “inability to manage personal stress.” The evaluator wrote in his file, “I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies.”

Yet he waltzed right into a police job with the Cleveland Police Department, which said that they weren’t aware of his record, because they had not read his personnel file. This is indicative of the systemic racism that also is prevalent in hiring practices. A black person would have undergone an extensive background check to even get a job as the police station janitor.  And they would have been turned down for the position if it came to light that they had so much as skipped a class way back in eighth grade.

What in the Sam Hill is going on? I haven’t seen this type of behavior since people stopped wearing hooded white robes and pointed hats. There is a line from the movie “Inglorious Bastards” where Brad Pitt’s characters says, “we’re going to be doing one thing and one thing only: killing Nazis”. Unfortunately, it seems as if the killing has started up again, only this time they aren’t killing Nazis.

Police killings with no convictions.  (photo credit:  Facebook)

Police killings with no convictions. (photo credit: Facebook)

Let me say that I absolutely believe that the majority of police are honorable and perform their duties to the best of their abilities. But unless we are vigilant in instructing these misguided grand juries that even law enforcers are not above the law, the distrust between citizens and officers will continue to widen. If any good has come from these tragedies, it is that this type of behavior has come to light. It’s time for a national dialogue, and much prayer, to see what must be done to rectify these situations before any more families needlessly lose a loved one.

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