I’ve had it up to here with “All Lives Matter.”
The shootings recently have me completely jaded. Not because they don’t matter—they do.
But because they’re everywhere. All the time. Most recently, the domestic terror incident at the Planned Parenthood in Colorado. The shooter was taken alive. Three dead.
And the first thing that I could think of at the resolution of the situation was: the suspect cannot have been anything but a white man.
Because, in situations like this, that is the only way the suspect ever gets out of these alive.
Let me back things up a a bit.
You see, I am Black. And I live close enough to the noise that happened in Ferguson so that protests, shootings, noise, and yes—forced silence—are a common thing. Specifically I live in an area where shootings are such a common thing that where in most areas a ‘shots fired’ situation would be reported on, you don’t hear anything about it unless it hit someone seriously enough to prompt a trip to a hospital—and that is if they decided to go to the hospital. It’s more common to hear the gunshots and nothing else: sirens mean things were serious enough to get treatment or law involved, silence means either everything missed or “get the hot water and towels we can handle this ourselves.”
…and it’s a daily thing. It has been a daily thing in the abstract for as long as I can remember, and in the concrete for about eight years. The first time that I had to deal with the situation I was asleep on a couch. I freaked out that night.
The second night it happened I rolled over.
You get used to it that quickly. It wasn’t until months later that I started looking to see if any names I knew were attached to the reports of shootings. So far there has only been one. And I only faintly remembered him.
It wasn’t until a few years later that shootings got real again, and I’d moved out, that I learned I had better remember how to duck and weave when a distant boom sounded. Errant bullets are a thing in this neighborhood. There are bulletholes still in my apartment building’s door and have been for three years—there is no budget to get them fixed. One year threre was an incident in which an officer was shot in the face, and snipers were involved on the roof to control it. The building was placed on lockdown, as was a half mile area around it.
…it was such business as usual, I just placed a phone call to family and crashed on the couch and watched the chaos unfold on the news and wondered if there would be a hole in my door when I got home. The officer did live, despite having been shot in the face. Doing well, actually. The only reason they got the guy who shot him alive was it was impossible to shoot in this building without ricochet collateral.
What’s happening now, however, is different.
Protests—protests about young Black men and women who were minding their own business getting gunned down, or thrown into transport improperly and left to be thrown around and die, or for gods’ sake, “found dead of marijuana intoxication” despite no evidence of it having been anywhere around after a traffic stop. Running protesters down.
We find out about this over social media—Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, a text from your friend’s brother’s classmate who was there at the corner of 5th and so and such warning you to stay away from there because shit’s popping off and he doesn’t want you hurt or dead. The news cycle is silent about it despite the number of injured and dead. The officers involved are placed on administrative leave and never see disciplinary action, the protesters are widely said to have had it coming.
Anywhere else? We know seven things immediately about who, what, when, where, possibly why, some theories, there’s a neighbor with inside information about the usually-identified-as-mentally-unstable culprit…
…and in the case of a white culprit, regardless of death toll, is taken alive.
One can be caught DWB (Driving while Black) and be shot dead in some areas.
What I’ve seen of it, “All Lives Matter” is in practice a massive lie. It’s a Kumbaya crock that people hide behind to not see the problems that are going on.
Maybe I’ve seen too much. Maybe I’ve seen too many things.
But until we as a nation can identify what things are for what they are, I will remain as jaded as you see me…
Because as long as as many heads remain in the sand as they are now, no one is going to hear the calling for change. What we need is to pull people out by force.
The time for talk is fucking over.