The headlines have almost become a weekly occurrence: Black person shot and killed by the police.
Usually it is Black men. But sometimes it is women.
In the majority of times, they are unarmed. And most of the time, their deaths were for no damn justifiable reason at all.
Yet, despite the video evidence and eye witnesses accounts and just flat-out appreciation of history in this country, some folks still don’t believe race is a factor.
So let’s play a game. It’s a game I created based around my favorite scene from the film A Time to Kill (based on the John Grisham book of the same name) when Jake Tyler Brigance, a young snappy lawyer (played by Matthew McConaughey) defending Carl Lee Hailey (played by Samuel L. Jackson), who is on trial for the murder of the two White men, who raped his 10-year-old daughter, tells the all-White Mississippi jury to close its eyes and imagine that the little girl victim is White. For those who haven’t seen the film, the scene is pretty climatic as it is supposed to be the moment when the all White jury has an epitome about their own biases against Black people.
I’m not going to tell you to close your eyes and imagine anything – or else how would you read the rest of this essay/list?
But I’m going to tell you that during this slideshow of 10 White Armed Men NOT Killed By the Police, in hopes that it inspires some of y’all to take off your rose colored glasses and put away your colorblind blinders and ask yourself in the most serious tones: what would happen if these men were Black.
Derrick Daniel Thomas
White Privilege Pass: According to Nola.com, 32-year old Thomas barged into a strangers home with a handgun, robbed the house and it’s inhabitants, shot at the house before fleeing on foot, where he threatened some construction workers, shot at the contractor five times, and then led police on a chase. After cornering the White man, the police allegedly told Thomas to drop his weapon. However Thomas refused and instead pointed the gun at the cops and allegedly responded: “No, you drop your (expletive) gun!”
Despite many threats to the police safety, Thomas was eventually taken into custody alive and without a single bullet hole to the body, where he was able to face five counts of aggravated assault, three counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, one count of criminal damage to property and a $500,000 bond – of course, this happened after the officers got his real name because originally, Thomas gave them an alias at booking, which they accepted as the truth
Had He Been Black: Six feet under by the time he said, “No, yo-” Burial and all.
White Privilege Pass: The 67-year old Mormon and Nevada cattle rancher with over 50 grandchildren garnered national attention when he and his supporters got into a 8-day armed standoff with the federal government following a 20-year battle over $1.1 million dollars in unpaid grazing fees the Federal Bureau of Land Management said he owed for allowing his cattle to eat off of federal land. Despite pointing guns at federal agents, Bundy, who was known for riding around the standoff site on a horse, carrying the American flag, would become a folk hero for the conservative anti-government Right and would even gain some allies within the actual government, in particular Sen. Rand Paul and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller. However some of his supporters would jump ship when Bundy, who again was accused of letting his cattle roam for free for 20 years on government land, accused Blacks of living off of government subsidies and saying that we would have been better off picking cotton in slavery.
According to ABC News, the standoff ended when the BLM backed down and said that it would no longer attempt to seize Bundy’s cattle. Not only would Bundy not spend a minute in jail, some of his comrades would get tazed and arrested. However they all were eventually released back into the comfort and security of White privilege.
Had He Been Black: WHEN they were black, they were called MOVE and in the summer of 1985 Philadelphia local police (not even the feds) ended it’s standoff with the back-to-nature liberation group by dropping two one-pound bombs on their Osage Avenue rowhouse compound, killing 11 people including five children and destroying 60 nearby residencies. For a more detailed explanation of events, I suggest you check out the documentary “Let The Fire Burn,” which is available to stream on Netflix.
Open Carry Texas
White Privilege Pass: Its’ Facebook page says that Open Carry is “an organization dedicated to the safe and legal carry of firearms openly in the State of Texas in accordance with the United States and Texas Constitution and applicable laws.” However you all might recall seeing headlines and tons of pictures of this merrily band of assault-rifle wielding buying Oreo cookies and checking out the latest in Fisher Price toys at Target.
Had They Been Black: If the recent tragic case of John Crawford is any indicator, he wouldn’t have needed a real gun; just an air rifle. And he probably wouldn’t have even made it to the register.
White Privilege Pass: The name doesn’t ring familiar but the 18-year old kid from Aurora, Colorado tells a Denver Fox 31 News that he believes police are unfairly targeting simply because he is walking around town with a shotgun. Lohner is so incensed by his violation of his constitutional right, he has started to record his encounters with police including one video, which lasts for over seven minutes and involves him not getting shot. The station also reports about this kid’s grave injustice:
“Police who were called to the scene say they weren’t able to determine if he was doing it legally. Lohner refused to show them an ID to prove he’s 18.“I simply carry this for the protection of myself and those around me,” Lohner says. His shotgun is a Stoeger P-350 12 gauge.“I’ve been stopped close to a dozen times for this and this is actually the first time I’ve been forced to provide ID,” he says. The teen says he’s on a campaign to call attention to open carry laws. “I feel like a lot of people now they see a weapon like that and they think, you know, James Holmes or Sandy Hook,”
Had They Been Black: If ever you needed definite proof of two Americas, here is it. And truthfully, the kid has a point. However, I just can’t with this kid’s righteous indignation about rights and shit in the wake of all the horrible and exact outcomes of what would have definitely transpired had this been a Black kid parading around town with a gun. Black kids are just not afforded that many lives.
White Privilege Pass: Here is another law abiding citizen expressing his 2nd amendment right to act like a moron while simultaneously scaring the crap out of people. According to published reports, the 63-year old patriot likes to stand on the corners in Kalamazoo, Michigan holding his rifle and pondering on what it would be like to actually have real manly sized balls, so he wouldn’t have to overcompensate any longer. Anyway, Houseman would find himself in a standoff with police earlier this year after residents complained about the nut on the corner with the rifle. According to the Talking Point Memo:
“Houseman refused to comply with requests that he put the rifle down and talk to the officers. During the negotiations, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Lt. Stacey Geik, who took over as commanding officer on the scene, told a dispatcher that Houseman was “exercising his open carry rights, however, he has certainly overextended them at this point.”
After a 40-minute standoff, in which Houseman had a heart-to-heart with police about the revolution and gun rights, the police negotiator was able to cox the gun out of Houseman’s hand and end the siege on a peaceful note. The following day after the standoff, the police officially declined misdemeanor charges against Houseman and even returned his gun to him.
Had He Been Black: And Female, she might have been 93-year old Pearlie Golden, who was shot and killed by police for allegedly waving her revolver at them. According to the New York Daily News, Officer Stephen Stem asked the 93-year-old to “put down the weapon and then ultimately fired his own sidearm, wounding Miss Golden” who later died at a local hospital…” The officer in question was suspended without pay and eventually fired. However, Golden is still dead.
White Privilege Pass: But Charing, isn’t this one half of the Boston Marathon Bombing Terrorist suspects (still not convicted in the court of law), who shot at police and were too shot at by police? Isn’t it true that he shot by the police upon apprehension? Where exactly is his White privilege in any of this?
He’s alive ain’t he? And looking all boy band sexy on the cover of The Rolling Stones, I might add.
Had He Been Black: Whereas Christopher Dorner, the ex-LAPD cop turned angry Black man with a manifesto, a gun and a a vendetta against the po-po, was burnt to the jerky in a log cabin out in the San Bernardino Mountains.
I mean, they were not even trying to put out that fire.
White Privilege Pass: Remember last year when a bunch of gun-loving nuts were planning to have an Open Carry on Washington march and rally but opted against it because the local D.C. Police said if they tried it, he would throw all their behinds in jail? Well Kokesh, a gun rights advocate and lead organizer of the failed march, decided to continue on exercising his freedom and on July 4th, posted a video of himself on YouTube, loading a double pump action shotgun in Freedom Plaza, which is between the White House and The Capital – and doing so without get shot down. Four days later, Kokesh would be picked up on the US Parks SWAT Team and plead guilty to carrying a rifle or shotgun, possession of an unregistered firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition in the District. His sentencing on those charges is in September and he could be looking up to 15 years in prison.
However, he is still alive. And out on bail. Touring the country and sh*t.
Had He’d Been Black: I would have to go with him being dead the moment he thought organizing that march was a good idea. Yup, just like in the film, The Minority Report. Black folks get gunned down all the time based upon what law enforcement and other vigilantes think they are about to do. Seriously, White guys do not know how how many benefits of doubts – and of life – they are given compared to the rest of society.
Joseph Clifford Reel
White Privilege Pass: Speaking of about nation’s capital, 33-year old Joseph Clifford Reel was sentenced to three years in prison earlier this year for crashing a driverless Jeep into a White House security gate at 40 mph, hoping the White House fence and attempting to spray paint a giant snake on the side of the White House building, to symbol “Don’t Tread On Me” mantra of the Tea Party.
Did I also fail to mention that Reel will be doing only three years in prison – alive?
Had He’d Been Black: His name would have been Miriam Carey, the 34-year old Black woman from Connecticut, who tried to ram her car through a barricade at the White House and was shot and killed by Secret Service while her baby was in the back seat – and as she was fled on foot away from the incident, this according to USA Today.
But you know, Don’t Tread on Me.
Officers John Wrigley, Eric White, Timothy Finley and Nicolas Olsen
White Privilege Pass: On February 21st 2005, Officers Wrigley, White, Finley and Olsen pumped over 28 rounds of live ammunition into retired police detective Howard Morgan as he laid on the ground during a “routine” traffic stop. According to the police, Morgan, who was driving home from work as a railroad patrolman, was going the wrong way up a one way block. After being pulled over, the officers alleged that Morgan sprang from his vehicle, wrestled with them as they attempted to subdue and handcuff him, and pulled a gun from his waistband and licked off 17 shots.
However Morgan’s version of the traffic stop differs in that he alleges that he identified himself as an officer however they didn’t believe him. And as the Grio reports: “Morgan says he was dragged out of his van and forced to the ground as he tried to produce his identification, and that one of the officers noticed his service revolver, a Glock 9mm pistol, and yelled “gun!” After the gun was taken from his waistband by one of the officers, Morgan says the shooting began.”
Morgan would be hit 21 times in the back and 7 times in the front. Three out of the four officers were also hit with gunfire during the incident: a bullet to the upper right arm for Olsen; White in the right calf; and Wrigley in the left arm, but ultimately survived and got to go home with no real suspicions and questions about their conduct that night. They each would also receive awards from the Award of Valor during the department’s Police Recognition Ceremony.
Had They Been Black: They would be Howard Morgan, who miraculously survived being shot at 28 times by the police, was then charged with four counts each of attempted murder and aggravated battery of a police officer as well as two counts of discharging a firearm. The trial would end in mistrial, he would be tried again in 2012. And although the only witness to that night’s event pretty much collaborated his testimony that he was pulled out his vehicle and shot by cops, the jury found Morgan guilty on of attempted murder. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
White Privilege Pass: Oh yeah, like there aren’t color privileges in the Hispanic community and world?
And while he may not be able to reap all the benefits of his daddy’s side of the family (thanks Mom!), it certainly was enough to get him out of trouble for the murder of Trayvon Martin. Even after his acquittal, Zimmerman has found himself involved in two domestic violence incidences – one of which involved a report of a gun on the premise. And yet nobody freaked out and shot him for the suspicions of being a threat to anyone’s safety.
Had He’d Been Black: Most definitely, OJ Simpson. He too beat a murder rap he probably should have gone to jail for. However in 2008, Simpson was sentenced to nine years in prison for allegedly strong arm robbing two alleged drug dealers, who Simpson alleges stole his stuff. He was simply trying to get his stuff back is what he told the judge. But the system didn’t let that happened twice.
So what have we learned from this exercise in White privilege? Hopefully that there are very real double standards in not the laws but how we apply and enforce laws in this country.
If you didn’t learn that, well it is probably because you are racist against Black people.