Feel free to look up these accounts yourself to hold me accountable. In 1999, 23 year old Amadou Diallo, a black immigrant was shot at 41 times to his death on his doorstep, because his wallet was mistaken for a gun. In 2006, 23 year old Sean Bell, a black man was shot at 50 times to his death in his car on his wedding day; the defendants claimed self defense, but no gun was found in the car. In 2008, 22 year old Oscar Grant, was killed execution like, one shot to his back while he was face down on the ground. September 24, 2009, Derrion Albert, a sixteen year old black boy was caught in a brawl and was brutally beat to death with kicks and wooden planks. There are a lot of commonalities in each situation. The first three killings were committed by officers, the officers in Diallo and Bell’s case were acquitted, and the second two are videos on YouTube. Before you look at the videos please prepare yourself to watch these brute acts and to feel responsible for these situations as a human being, because you should.
I do and it is extremely difficult not to let my emotions overpower me and sensibly write an article. I too have lost a friend and a cousin to violence. Growing up in what everyone calls “the hood”; I have a special relation to these situations. My appearance and presentation of myself makes it very hard to tell, but with slight variation I have been in each of the situations that are presented in this article. I have been in countless negative interactions with the police, countless fights, and a few brawls. I never thought about them being life and death situations, especially in fights; being harassed by police and getting into fights were normal. Was it normal for you? Whether it was or was not normal you should feel responsible as a human being for the police abuse and violent streets flooding the major cities of your United States of America.
The reason you should feel responsible is that your tax dollars employ police and fund violence prevention initiatives or the lack there of. It is easy to chalk it up and say the parents need to do a better job at home. Which I do feel is very valid, but a parent and their household are completely out of the realm of a single person’s control. Also in a perfect world parents are supposed to be at work from nine to five, which means eight to ten of those hours (depending upon the commute of the parent from their workplace to home) is spent away from their children. Leaving the child in school for six hours, and either in an after school program or unsupervised for two to four hours. These precious moments can be used for the progression or the destruction of a child and we have a responsibility to every child at the very least within this country. Because education and after school programs are dually funded by tax dollars and private donations. I can only speak for myself, but I think it also applies to the vast majority when I say most of the negativity that occurred in my life happened out of the supervision of an adult.
What can we do? Instead of ignoring, being oblivious, and/or ignorant to the Amadou Diallo’s, Sean Bell’s, Oscar Grant’s, and Derrion Albert’s: we can pay closer attention to where we are putting our money and what it is going towards, we can fund programs, sit on boards, and enforce better practices for the police; so we do not have the guilt as a human being for these frequent occurrences.