What to Do?

Written by BG Howard

March 29, 2023

For somee time I’ve written about incidents that have evoked concern, criticism and protests, in some cases, throughout various parts of the country. The matters have consistently involved police actions as related to African-American citizens and the unfortunate results. As such, a reader contacted me regarding last week’s column questioning why the subject matter never seems to address issues in the Black community such as Black-on-Black crime and other hideous grievances.

At this stage, I feel the need to clarify my position as being one that doesn’t support injustice of any type to any degree. Whether it be Black-on-Black crime, Caucasian against Caucasian, police brutality, domestic violence, or any other as it’s all despicable. It has been established in previous columns that I hold to sincere Christian values and make my best effort to truly “walk the walk.” Before I am a Black man or an American, I am Christian; that’s where it starts and stops. There is a genuine concern for all people and it truly disturbs me to see anyone mistreated by another person regardless of beliefs, opinions, or the color of their skin.

Oddly enough, I reasoned that topics of my columns wouldn’t persist along the same lines as pursued most recently. Not because anything has significantly changed but during the darkest of times a mere glimmer of light is reason enough for hope. Unfortunately, when I woke one morning during October of 2016 there were reports of two officers on trial in Marksville, Louisiana. Legal proceedings were finally underway for a November 3, 2015 incident during which two warrant officers had opened fire on an unarmed man in his vehicle which made my heart sink. Inquiry into the circumstances provided revelation of the fact that the officers, Derrick Stafford and Norris Greenhouse, were African-American and the driver, Christopher Few, a Caucasian male. The most disturbing aspect of the entire situation, however, was that Few’s six year-old autistic son, unknowingly in the car, suffered six gunshot wounds to the head and chest. Unfortunately, the young child was confirmed to have been killed at the time of the shooting.

According to reports, the officers stated Mr. Few had charged them with his SUV which does constitute assault with a deadly weapon and could justify them having opened fire on the vehicle. However, neither the body cam footage nor a thorough investigation into the matter could substantiate their claim and there had been previous complaints of Officer Stafford using excessive force.

Police officers serve as our nation’s first responders in numerous situations and are a vital part of this country’s basic structure. Even in cases when they may not be wanted, the viable police presence invariably proves beneficial from the perspective of simply keeping order. Even during recent protests against police in North Carolina, it became necessary for officers to maintain peace and uniformity. Whether we accept it or not, police are a necessary part of every day life and the majority exercise all aspects of their training to facilitate an effectively amicable end to any disturbance.

The question remains as to why it is that some officers feel every case has to be pushed to the extreme? Is there never an alternative action or effective response short of taking a person’s life? Of course there are good policemen and women who work very hard to uphold the oath to which they swore upon donning the badge. As is the case with most sectors of our population, the focus tends to be centered on those “bad apples” that spoil things for the remainder of the bunch.

This stems from more than just a Black concern or Caucasian issue but reeks of a humanitarian problem. Of course, the matters regarding police violence against Blacks have been more prevalent recently due to those events making headlines but much of the violence and brutalities occurring on a daily basis in this country simply go unreported which is as much an injustice if not more. So, in the over-all scheme of seemingly uncontrollable violence being perpetrated by some officers throughout the United States, what then is the solution? Does it mandate better training for the nations police or is there another way to curb the unwarranted “over reactions?”

One might feel, “Why should these things concern me? Those issues don’t relate to us in Small Town, Georgia.” To that I pose; would you pull into your driveway after seeing smoke billowing from the roof of a neighbor’s house and simply go inside without saying anything? In truth, if there is injustice that affects anyone in this country it subsequently infringes upon the lives of everyone as we are all ultimately connected to some extent. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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