An Angry World: Shooting Death of Philando Castile Marks a National Epidemic

His energy ran low and he collapsed outside of the community church. Completely out of breath, Brooklyn looked up at the distinguished steeple and screamed at the top of his lungs, “Why don’t you help us! Why don’t you come back and help us!” – excerpt from An Angry World

 

 

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Shooting Death of Philando Castile Marks A National Epidemic
Falcon Heights Minnesota

by Kendall F. Person

Everything about this one was wrong, even this sentence. So many shootings of Black men in America by officers of the law who are sworn to protect and serve, occurring so often, that we now have frames of references. So openly violent, that if not for the entirety of the gripping and ultimately tragic video – the voice of the little girl, the darkness which amplified the sound, the epic breakdown of an incredibly strong woman, who held it together and broadcast her plight to the whole wide world – news of another shooting would have been garden variety and not even noticed outside of the famed Twin Cities in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

And please, not in Minnesota, perhaps the most welcoming state and above the fray of all 50 of the United States of America. Not to a former honor student. Not to a working man. Not in front of a 4 year old little girl. Not for a bad headlight. Not for doing exactly what the officer of the law asked him to do. And not with a precision of hate so absolute, that he continued to point his gun directly at a human being as he lay dying, then dead.

It has long since been beyond the imagination. Ferguson and Baltimore exposed the systematic ‘fire away’ mentality that has been allowed to spread across our nation. It was never a coincidence, no matter how us hold outs tried to believe it was. It is not remorseful or accidental nor was the shooter in actual fear of their lives. He shot him dead after a routine traffic stop and never stood down even after Philando Castile was dead. The officer was at war. And the 4 year old little girl’s lifetime of ghosts be damned.

The culture of hatred spewed from our elected officials has saturated the country. It has poisoned the well. We are one nation, that is tearing itself apart. And we are watching it and we wave our flags and say we love our nation and yet we care so little about it, that we no longer even try to stop it. Who do we think we are? Do we actually believe that God Almighty is pleased? Do we actually think, the rest of the world inhales it as normal and sane for a super power to implode and then sell it days later like “Oh well.” Do we actually believe that we are creating a better land for future generations? They see us. They hear us. And they will become us only worse.

This was wrong and yet this is real. And this national epidemic has to have our full attention. On all levels. In every community.In education, in policy, in training, in family. Together. For united we stand or divided we are doomed to living in angry world of our own creation.

 
Our Day of peace

36 comments

  1. The world looks and judges, but the sad facts remain; the sins of past times involving slavery and African Americans, as well as the near annihilation of native Americans, are coming home to roost on the shoulders of the descendants of the immigrant white Americans who flooded in from Britain and Europe. I fear there is worse to come as what formerly passed as passive acceptance of subjection to the perceived superiority of white people is torn asunder and revealed for what it is – stupid and useless bigotry.

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  2. I know they haven’t fully investigated this event and have not come to any conclusions. But I firmly believe if that had been me, a white woman, who advised the officer I had a conceal carry permit, I’d be alive and well today. I’m not saying he was shot just because he was black, but I do believe that assumptions are sometimes made about black people that aren’t equally applied to white people.

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    • I hope not. Because this has been the new normal for quite some time, we just never reeled it all in . We have to be able to imagine a peaceful end. But peace planning takes time and logic and holding on to your audience. Violence is immediate. But we persevere nonetheless. Because if those of us who truly believe in peace give up, its over. Countries fall all the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Terrible. I know in the UK some can own a gun, but generally we don’t owns guns and I
    think this becomes our safety. It is terrible and keeps happening in the usa.

    I don’t understand the second amendment – so googled it here

    The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms and was adopted on December 15, 1791, as part of the first ten amendments contained in the Bill of Rights.[1][2][3][4] The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the right belongs to individuals,[5][6] while also ruling that the right is not unlimited and does not prohibit all regulation of either firearms or similar devices.[7] State and local governments are limited to the same extent as the federal government from infringing this right per the incorporation of the Bill of Rights.

    It is a pretty old amendment.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is tragic that yet another life has been lost, especially at the hands of firearms. There are so many factors at play here (potentially racism, gun laws, police brutality, and the media’s ability to desensitize violence). Thank you for sharing your voice on this important topic.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Nice post, Kendall. I hear the weariness in your voice as well as in the voices of others. I guess the question has to be where do we go from here? How do a people move away from the hate that another segment of society feels so easily for them? To the point, how can black people begin to feel safe in America when there is so much fear and loathing, of them and towards them, emanating from those sworn to uphold the law and protect them? Am I a cynic if I say it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better? Or, am I a realist? God help me for what I think I am.

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  6. The presumption Protect and serve means of “innocent until proven guilty” must apply across the board, and the purpose of police officers is to de-escalate not escalate, bring calm and logic to situations, and they have no right to self appoint as judge, jury and executioner in a democratic society. That’s for judges and juries to determine with legal representation.
    Society, now that we can witness these incidents, as they unfold, can not sit back in good consciousness and continue to be in a state of disbelief, ignore or think this is an anomaly. Certainly, it is not, and one wonders why there is fear and loathing of the police by so many people of color, especially young men. No more excuses, sweeping it under the rug, we must address this or “the revolution will surely be televised”. It is up to us to make this right or we all lose again and again.

    Liked by 2 people

      • This post came in perfect timeliness, as I was about to add my two-cents in response to yet another senseless, highly avoidable miscarriage of ‘justice’, and sadly spoken, it is repeatedly ‘just-us’. We need education, conversation, and unification-society is too global, local, and yet so closely distant. But, we are all the same…human. So where is the humanity? I am very sad and angry and still hopeful at the same time. We must do better!

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  7. Cultural awareness is so very important, and the lack of proficiency lends itself to these unfortunate tragedies. Stereotypes, unfamiliarity, and fear all contributed to this and many other incidents where the result is too often “death by implicit bias “.
    I believe the solution lies in conquering the fear of the unknown, dispelling myths, gaining cultural awareness, and self awareness as well. All of this can be addressed, if not earlier, during pre-service training and continuous training in-service.

    Embed this into the academy, address and challenge state and local law enforcement officials, police departments and all first responders to gain an appreciation for difference, train them to exercise mindfulness, and immerse them all in difference BEFORE they engage the public strapped with deadly weapons and indiscriminately exercise their power and influence. This is the only way to save lives of innocent and potentially guilty citizens of all races. We must change the narrative.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. “The video startled police reform advocates across the nation, who expressed a mixture of frustration and fatigue,” says Washington Post reporting. As one who – uncompensated – assisted a 2011-2012 Federal investigation … which successfully found unconstitutional patterns and practices of illegal use of force by Portland, Oregon police … four years into supposed reform – I can attest to the fatigue.

    I can only suggest The Neighborhood make it ‘An Angry Community.’ The Department of Justice held our City Council as culprits … not the police bureau. It is your local, elected civilian authority which fails to reign in illegal conduct. Locals fail to demand effective policy, to employ command staff which insists on constitutionally sound officer conduct, and – importantly – fails to design accountability structures to effectively discipline those who engage in illegal use of force.

    Granted, local authority is backed by Oregon state legislation, whereby cops can find exoneration by simply stating they were “in fear for their life,” regardless of circumstances. County structures (our District Attorney, who knows cops will play their ‘stay out of jail’ fear card, and declines to bring charges) are also in play.

    In this post (link below), we present a myriad of state and local agencies who look the other way, when it comes to checks and balances on police power. While Ferguson and Baltimore brought national exposure to systemic injustice, I humbly suggest your neighbors are propping up cops’ self-exoneration mechanisms. Organize in place: approach them; demand their boards and committees take responsibility for specific sets of the complex tasks required. Each holds a piece of the puzzle.

    http://consulthardesty.com/status-report/oversight

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    • Roger – Our Day of Peace is scheduled for August 6. However, it last a full 7 Days and as you can imagine, I have spent the last few hours rethinking the agenda. Be in touch soon. Thank you for adding your wisdom, knowledge and humanity to today’s unfortunate unshow. But there is no intention of just letting this one go.

      Liked by 1 person

    • When I hear the recordings of police officers in these situations, and see the videos of them in action, what I hear is often people on both sides struggling with fear. This includes the victims, all too often mentally or psychologically impaired, but also the police who see every interaction with the public as freighted with the potential for violence.

      “Protect and serve” has become so broad – police are expected to be combat tacticians, psychologists, sociologists and lawyers. The standard is impossibly high. We need to recognize that leaving problems unaddressed until they require the attention of the police is waiting far too long. It makes their work far too hard, and puts them in constant fear that any situation will expose deficiencies that may cost them their jobs.

      The public needs to appreciate that – given how complex these jobs are and the pressures of the work – every interaction has to be made as simple as possible. We broadcast the aberrations (which heightens fear), but I think that the media should also publish pieces that demonstrate how to interact with the police.

      For example, if you’ve got a gun in the car, should you offer to exit the vehicle and allow the officer to retrieve your ID? I don’t think that the police officer entered that interaction intending to shoot the victim, and maybe if we establish protocols ahead of time both parties could have successfully navigated the situation without unfortunate and possibly unintended violence.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I hear you Brian but question whether the statement, “I don’t think the police officer…intended to shoot the victim.” I don’t know how easily or readily we can make such a statement these days. At this point it’s more wishful thinking than actual protocol, don’t you think. I agree though that we the people must have a new set of tools in our kit, displaying our intentions and how we plan to interact with police. It’s the only way we’re going to survive moving forward.

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          • Ben:

            What I am suggesting is that our society is in danger of becoming one huge Stanford Prison project. If you haven’t read it, it’s truly terrifying. Basically, an elite (in the project, for constructive reasons; less so in modern society) defined a set of rules – specifically, that jailors had to maintain absolute control over a population presumed to be hostile – that stimulated psychopathic behavior in the college students selected to be jailors. Psychological analysis suggested that this was also a significant factor at Abu Graib during the Iraq occupation.

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            • To Brian,
              As much as I appreciate your position of more training, etc, I believe you’re suggesting a moving target for Black citizens that can never be met. Mr. Castile, the innocent citizen, went above and beyond to offer the fact that he was carrying with a permit. That fell on the ears of a deaf prejudiced cop. I will not go along with you to give this cop the presumption of intent not to kill. No other factors in the car warranted even the minutest threat! Gov. Mark(MN) is right to call this exactly what it is. The victim died because he was black. So also Sterling in LA.

              Liked by 2 people

              • My remarks were intended to be rather more general. If everybody understood the guidelines for interacting with the police, then there is a common understanding that all citizens can use for evaluating biased behavior when they see it.

                And I don’t doubt that the officers involved in this situations demonstrated such bias. As President Obama said, however, when communities are denied economic opportunity, asking the police to “man the barricades” is going to create conditions under which they are moved to bias. The Stanford Prison project and many other studies document this.

                Regarding manufactured prejudice, the most destructive case that I am aware of is the Rwandan massacres. The Hutu-Tutsi ethic divide was manufactured by the French. They told the police to go around and give one identity card to families that owned three or more cows, and another to families that didn’t. Forty years later you had genocide among people that were related by blood.

                So what I am pleading for is that we recognize the psychological pressures that lead to prejudice, and focus on resolving them.

                Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, used this strategy: after winning a string of wrongful death judgments with huge cash settlements, The SPLC began including mandatory interracial mediation sessions in the judgments. The poor Klan members, after meeting their black neighbors, often realized that they had far more in common with those they had been abusing than they did with the rich businessmen that they were paying Klan dues to.

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      • Brian – Thank you for adding your voice. Even in disagreement civil conversations do more to progress the issues than silence. But I will isolate this particular case. Why would he be in fear on a routine traffic stop that would lead his first reaction to pump 4 bullets into a law abiding man? This one is different, Bryan. Minimizing, even in a very respect manner, will never allow us to get to the root of the problem. He had never been in trouble. No record came up for him. he was by all accounts an ordinary man. Why was a sworn officer scared off the bat? The answer is, he wasn’t.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Brian, is it possible that you’re overthinking it? just asking. No offense I hope. To what Kendall and others have said and even more it comes down to two emotions at it’ s core; fear or hate. There is an element in many police departments all over that seems to really feel a certain way about African Americans and having to deal with them. On the other hand, I think a police officer who’s overly afraid to interact or afraid of some misguided caricature of an idea he’s been told will happen when he interacts with us, a loaded gun in the hands of that guy is just a dangerous as in the hands of the guy that hates my guts and the guts of all those like me. I think there are a lot of those types in police departments too. In short, and there’re many in departments all over America that shouldn’t be allowed to carry a gun and badge. They have to be identifed and relieved. that’s the only way to cure what ails us right now. How to do it is the issue, I think.

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