The Endangered

Written by BG Howard

December 21, 2022

A report of a young man being killed during the summer of 2026 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana had a strangely chilling effect. Of course, society is constantly subjected to countless shootings and murders, as that is the subject of at least one daily news report. This specific incident however, struck a chord as it was accompanied by amateur video of two officers’ actions while the eerie shooting was recorded live. Alton Sterling received four gunshot wounds to the head and back which subsequently resulted in his death while two individuals sat in a car watching the brutal actions play out.

Among the few with whom I’d had an opportunity to speak regarding the still developing matter, opinions ranged from feelings that the policemen should be arrested to ones already convinced any investigation into the matter would result in the officers being exonerated and charges, if any, dismissed. There are already cries of a twisted and corrupt system that has, historically, always been stacked against Blacks and other minorities.

A unique viewpoint of these type situations is afforded me due simply to the fact there are members of my family who’ve served and currently serve in various branches of the military as well as law enforcement. People immediately took sides on the issue, as expected, with some blaming Mr. Sterling while others assigned fault to the police. The most prevalent factor being that the victim was a young Black man and the responding officers were Caucasian added another dimension to the debate. In fact, that tends to be the catalyst for those opposing the policemen’s actions with many calling for the arrest of the officers responsible for Sterling’s death within hours of the report appearing on the internet.

It’s never my intent to randomly pull the race card but, having been born and raised in the traditional south, I’ve had the unfortunate benefit of exposure to the ills of racism on a number of fronts. This affords me an uncommon outlook on the situation regarding America’s youth and how they are choosing to deal with prejudices being levied against a new generation. It’s the same ugly face of bigotry that has existed since the day the first slave ship landed on the coast of early America but, in most cases, remained concealed behind a mask of social deception and political correctness until occasioned to rear its gruesome head; usually in the form of a violent assault or brutal murder that, invariably, goes unpunished. Unfortunately, these incidents are often facilitated at the hands of the very people charged with the task of protecting the citizens of our country.

Ironically, while composing this opinion, my attention was called to a CNN report of yet another young Black man, Philando Castile, who’d been shot to death in Minnesota hours before, also, by a Caucasian police officer. He’d been stopped due to having a broken tail light and the officer shot him while in the process of reaching for his identification, as directed. Castile had disclosed having a concealed weapon permit and informed the policeman a gun was present. All necessary precautions were presumably taken as a person licensed to carry a weapon is instructed and he never removed the gun from its holster but still ended up dead.

An on-going debate persists in the wake of incidents wherein Black men are being killed by Caucasian officers across the country. It’s not a matter of passing judgment upon all police but the few who do operate outside the confines of the law are responsible for minorities dying in disproportionate numbers as compared to other races.

Granted, the situation seems to have gotten progressively worse concerning the status regarding African American and youth of other minorities. An unfavorable perception of the Black and minority community has left most of the younger generation vilified in the eyes of the very officers who have sworn to protect them. The concept that police are the enemy has been perpetrated so long among minorities due to incidents involving unjustified killings in which officers get off Scott free or with minor charges that the citizens law enforcement is supposed to serve no longer trust them.

To minimize incidents of brutality and the unjustified killing of all races, our nation’s youth need to be educated as to the proper means of addressing the police. Like it or not, the badge has supreme authority in the streets so don’t do anything to give an officer reason to half-way justify pulling his weapon. One should always behave in a respectful manner as outwardly disagreeing with police will only serve to intensify the situation. It is simply wiser that you purpose to live to see your day in court. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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