Ismaaiyl Brinsley Is No Nat Turner

December 22, 2014  |  

Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who has been identified as the shooter of two NY police officers, might have been triggered by the energy around nationwide protests as well as against police violence and lack of judicial responsibility. But he is no Nat Turner.

For one, Turner as well as all the other leaders of Black freedom uprisings were organized. That means folks had to sit down together at a table – or in the cut somewhere – and plan some things out. That’s not what happened here. To the contrary, Brinsley was likely just a man hurting in need of intervention and help. And before taking his alleged vendetta out on police – for what he rationalized in his mind was for the benefit of the justice movements – his first victim was his girlfriend. Thankfully, she is expected to live.

The Facebook page, Black Women What Not To Buy had a photo gallery (courtesy of Facebook user Breukelen Blue) of some of Brinsley’s other controversial social media ruminations, which most of the media has skipped over (much like the attempted murder of his girlfriend). Note: While most of the screen grabs have been flagged and deleted by Facebook I was able to write down some of the updates. In particular this lovely sentiment, which he posted on September 3rd :

I Don’t Fuck With None Of You Punk Ass Bitches, Most of You Bi**hes Is Fraudulent As Fuck And A Waste of Time. You Want A Nigga To Keep It Real With You…..? Okay, Well I Really Just Want To Feel If Your Head Game And Pu**y Feels Better Than The Last Bi**h I Ran Through. And Maybe If IT Is You Can Stick Around For Awhile. Other Than That, I’m Not Interested. I’m Not Tryna Chill Or Go On A Date With Your Wack Ass. It’s Only 1 Of Me And Thousands Of You. :)”

That doesn’t sound like something Gabriel Prosser would have said to the hundreds or so Black women, who too were ready to join in the insurrection against slavery in 19th century Virginia. In addition to his feelings on women as disposable objects, he also talked a bunch about hustlin’, beating up homeless people and some other craziness. And in this status update on August 3rd, he provides the most insight into his mental state:

As I Lay Here Trying to Go To Sleep, All I Can Do Is Think…..I Have Sooooo Much ON My Mind. I Am IN A Limbo With Success, Jail, Death And The Most Unwelcomed Guest Around the Corner….Karma. It’s Like Every Time I Get Comfortable Or Let My Guard Down I Get Smacked In My Face With The Reality of REALITY. Everybody Is Not Your Friend Or Have Your Best Interest At Heart. And Then To Top It Off I’m Losing Good Friends To Jail, Death And Most Of All “Mental Stability.” It’s Like Now That I’m Making Money I Traded It All For Happiness And Fraudulent Individuals I’ve Allowed In My Circle…..”

Clearly, this man had issues and could have benefitted from some therapy. And I’m being serious here, folks. He wasn’t banging for justice. He banged out because he was personally hurting, angry and more importantly, didn’t want to live anymore. Those, who want peace do so because they want to ensure a better world for themselves and the future generation. Folks who want peace might be willing to put their lives on the line for it, but no way would they kill themselves after putting themselves on the line. That’s internal self-hate. And honestly, if it hadn’t been those cops, he probably would have found some other reason to kill a bunch of folks, more than likely, women.

Therefore to position the nationwide anti-police violence protest as the center of this man’s provocation, while white washing over the other senseless attempted murder of his girlfriend, just seems haphazard and inflammatory. Yet that’s the narrative we see being played out in the media. And worse, among some law enforcement agencies and their supporters.

More specifically Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York, who not only blamed the nationwide protest against police violence and the lack of judicial accountability for the shootings, but New York mayor Bill De Blasio as well. According to the New York Times, Lynch tells reporters:

““There is blood on many hands, from those that incited violence under the guise of protest to try to tear down what police officers did every day.”

That blood on the hands starts on the steps of city hall in the office of the mayor.”

A similar sentiment would be echoed by former New York Governor George Pataki, who tweeted out:

Sickened by these barbaric acts, which sadly are a predictable outcome of divisive anti-cop rhetoric of #ericholder & #mayordeblasio. #NYPD”

Not to be outdone former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani decided to be more direct with his blame game, by citing President Obama and Black people in general as the source of this man’s personal violence. In particular, he tells FOX News Sunday:

This mayor is pursuing the wrong policies. He should change those policies. He should speak to his police officers; he should embrace them. And he should make it clear that when he is talking about police violence against Blacks, he’s talking about a very small number of incidences. But when he is talking about crime between and among citizens, in his city, it is mostly Black against Black. That’s when he is really talking about the problem. That’s when he is really saving lives. The other part is propaganda. We had four months of propaganda, starting with the president, that everyone should hate the police. I don’t care how you want to describe it, that’s what those protests are all about.”

Clearly, Ismaaiyl Brinsley is not the only one out here misdirecting anger. For the record, no one has to be told to hate the police (if that is how folks feel, which I believe the majority of folks out protesting for justice likely don’t). Bad cops, as well as the broken judicial system, which continuously fails to prosecute bad cops, do a good job of propagating those feelings. Hence the protests…

I will say how astonishingly bizarre it all feels that after every single bad grand jury (or even jury trial) decision, which exonerates bad cops for killing or maiming folks, the Black community was told to temper ourselves for the sake of peace and calm. However there are very little checks and balances in place for every police-friendly politician and ally, who makes inflammatory statements on television, in the newspaper and even anonymously on the Internet.

What also doesn’t happen when cops are killed is the blaming of the officers themselves. No one questions their character and theorizes about whether he or she deserved it or not. There is no speculation about the officer(s) family or activities outside of work. Nor is there any public discussion about citizen complaints or any alleged wrong doing on the job. When it comes to the death of a member of law enforcement, just about everyone, including many of detractors of law enforcement’s current policy and structures, go out of their way to express sympathy and draw distinctions. It’s like the victim gets to be a victim.

And honestly that’s how it should be. Anyone, who is savagely and senselessly a victim of a crime, needs to be viewed and treated as such. However our cultural indifference to crimes committed by police, while also white washing over the ways in which Brinsley’s crimes were not protest-motivated, reinforce what is at the heart of the nationwide movement for justice. And that is ending the long-held cultural norm, which places greater importance on -and reverence for-certain lives while discarding others.

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