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The Other Side of the Tracks blog by Word Press

Race Made It’s Own Place

A view from the other side of the tracks...since 2002

A view from the other side of the tracks…since 2002

The Other Side of the Tracks: A Socially Speaking commentary
By Perry Redd

So, the drama has ended. They got their man…they always do. It’s the “American Way.” The question is, how do they get him?

No, I didn’t bring race up again, it just happened. You hear events and then think. You just do. So I thought; I thought about when that ex-police officer, Christopher Dorner, went on his revenge spree back in February, law enforcement went after him. Eventually, they got their man. He had taken three lives, including that of the daughter of a police chief he felt had wronged him and eventually, a police officer in pursuit. Targeting the children and spouses of officers was one of many specific threats Dorner made. He had the city of Los Angeles—and the police force—shook!

Then, the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, 19-year-old Dzhokar Tsarnaev, was taken into custody in April, bringing to an end a massive manhunt that virtually shut down the Massachusetts capital amid warnings the man was possibly armed with explosives.

This young man, who escaped a shootout with police in suburban Watertown that left his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev — the other man wanted in the bombings — dead. The younger Tsarnaev was in need of undisclosed medical care when they captured him. Police shot him up as he hid from capture in a parked boat. Now, what’s wrong with this picture?

Tsarnaev had a city scared to death; Dorner had a city scared to death. Tsarnaev killed people who had nothing to do with his grievance; Dorner killed people who had nothing to do with his grievance. Tsarnaev was captured, Dorner was burned alive. Tsarnaev was a white male, Dorner was Black.

Sure, you’re saying “that’s just coincidence.” I would contend you are fully disingenuous. The young man Tsarnaev exchanged over 200 rounds of gunfire with police, but he gets to live. Dorner exchanged hails of gunfire with police—and will tell no tales. Burning him alive brings to mind the post-slavery accounts of lynching in America. This is a clear example of white exceptionalism, a brand only America could make. I heard they even negotiated with Tsarnaev. Do you think they even considered negotiating with Dorner?

Dorner’s charred human remains were found in the debris of the burned-out cabin where law-enforcement officers exchanged gunfire with Dorner. Afterwards, law enforcement acted like they didn’t know how the cabin caught fire, but they later admitted that they threw incendiary devices into the cabin. They always get their man…especially when he’s Black.

This brings to mind the days of Jim Crow and lynching of America’s Negroes through the 19th and 20th centuries. Time doesn’t stand still—and neither do old ways. America’s attack dogs—law enforcement—are still acting like post-slavery bounty hunters or vengeful klu Klux Klansmen. I just want to know how police can justify the disparity between the two incidents?

Just as a sidebar, I want to throw this in the face of NRAers: neither of these two men were criminals, nor were they deemed mentally ill. Though Tsarnaev and his brother used homemade explosives to maim and kill innocents, they both executed havoc with guns. But keep in mind our congress won’t pass gun background checks!

What I know is that extrajudicial killings are occurring with increasing frequency in urban areas across this nation. To avoid my intent getting lost in translation, Let me be clear: law enforcement is killing Blacks (who disproportionately live in US urban centers) at an alarmingly high rate—with guns—and before victims receive due process through the judicial system. Three important elements cannot be overlooked here:

1) law enforcement perpetrates these offences;
2) law enforcement uses guns to “execute” these crimes, and;
3) law enforcement would not be deemed either mentally ill nor as criminals by NRA standards.

I can’t wait for NRAers to respond to these “things that make you go hmm.” The NRA has become America’s authority on gun ownership and as in any fascist-leaning countries, and as author and political scientist George Lakoff aptly explains, “the authority gets to frame the narrative to which the majority then react and/or respond.”

I implore you not to fall for the disinformation about gun violence resting in the hands of mentally ill and criminals. That’s simply deflection. Gun violence occurs because America has a fetish for guns—fueled by the fear of white males. Ban guns and watch the numbers of violent crimes nosedive. Just look to Australia of the 1990’s. When Congressional leadership stiffens the political vertebrae to lead in the name of the people they represent, they’ll pass the gun laws needed to mitigate the senseless rampages, like that of the Dorners and the Tsarnaev brothers of this nation.

Moreover, it’ll remove from the hands of hundreds of law enforcement officers a device that empowers them to become judge, jury and executioner of thousands of Black men on America’s city streets. Murder is murder, and guns used to do it are guns used to do it…period. You don’t have to take my word for it, just look at the numbers. Again, I don’t intentionally play the race card. Instead, race seems to make its own place in the American conversation.


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