It is 1971, and the words of music great Marvin Gaye’s “What’s going on ?” remain more relevant today than ever before. On the morning of July 6th, 2016 we woke up to shocking and chilling video of Alton Sterling getting shot on the ground while being held defenseless by two white cops. The video is a clear as day, the man was resisting and instead of more physical restrain, a taser, calling for back up, or handcuffs officer Blain Salamoni, and Howie Lake proceeded to shoot the defense-less man in the chest repeatedly. If you’ve seen the video, it is a very ugly thing to watch. UGLY. And it just gets worse. We will skip the details of this particular incident because the video speaks for itself. In the last year, there have been 11 stories that have caught the mass’s eye’s on video for the following reasons:
Wallet. Sleeping. Skittles. Cell phone. Loud music. Cigarettes. Cigarillos. Shopping at Walmart. Toy gun. Failure to signal. CD’s.
Whats going on?
On the morning of July 7th (the very next day incase you’re not following) we wake up to the news of yet another video of an african-american man getting shot 4 times at a TRAFFIC STOP with his girlfriend and a 4-year old child in the back seat! Details aside, if this were a white man and his white family would he have been shot four times? Would he have been shot at all? Why is all this happening? Why is the evidence overwhelmingly against ONE side? The bigger question is why are all these murders happening at the hands of the people who are suppose to protect and serve? Isn’t the purpose of law enforcement to protect ALL AMERICANS? If this is a “liberal media” thing as a lot of people like to call it, why are we seeing the same images time and time again of a minority being treating like an animal after a single act of defiance to “authority”results in being gunned down. Im no police officer but consider myself a rational human being, shouldn’t shooting someone be the very last resort? If so, why hasn’t a single case of the Freddie Grays, Eric Garders, and Alvin Sterlings of the world otherwise? Why hasn’t anything change?
What is incredibly strange and dumbfounding is that the two sides of this seem to be on completely different ends. If you ask a regular person 9 times out of 10 their reaction would be the same. DISGUST. But if you ask some (notice I’m not saying all) members of law enforcement, no matter how obvious and overwhelming the injustice is, they perceive themselves to be on a different team. A team separated from the people they have sworn to protect. An “us against them” perception if you will. Why is this attitude at all coming from the people that are sworn in to protect us? To protect ALL AMERICANS. Is that what the perception of “authority” is? To separate yourself from a group because of some type of privilege? Wait that sounds like….never mind. What’s going on?
I am all for defending the people who put their lives on the line for us but something is clearly incorrect. When will people take action on some type of reform?! How is investing money in say psych tests, higher educational standards, polygraphs, and proper training for the BEST INTEREST OF AMERICAN SAFETY a bad thing? Do we not want the right people with the right intention patrolling the streets of our America? Are we not the greatest country in the world? Then why must these things happen? This is IMPROVEMENT that the people are seeking for Christ sakes, not demolition. Instead of creating an environment that unites people and makes people feel safe, the complete opposite is happening. And lets not get started about gun reform because one side is in favor for regulations to make it safer for Americans while the other is preaching that we should all arm each other as if this was Armageddon or a Mad Max apocalypse.
It has become us against them. The example given to us by our “authority and leaders”. If there isn’t any change from our leaders how can people stay in silence?! We must do what every it takes to acknowledge the men and women that truly sacrifice and serve the American people no matter what race with no bias, with honesty and respect as a member of the same community. There should be more leadership stepping up to make positive, and progressive change especially in a time like this when all of these crazy murders are happening. That being said, we need more from our Law Enforcement. And it needs to come from the men and women who do their job with honestly and with integrity. People must actively speak up to get change. Change doesn’t happen from the top-down it has historically always happened from the bottom-up.
Sometimes, it almost seems like the artist of the world who have the god given ability to escape the realities of society for a second through the lens of creativity, are the ones the speak out with more rational than our leaders and our “authority”. I leave you with lyrics that are as prevalent in 2016 as they were in 1971..
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, eheh
We don’t need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, oh oh oh
Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what’s going on
What’s going on
Yeah, what’s going on
Ah, what’s going on
In the mean time
Right on, baby
Right on brother
Right on babe
Mother, mother, everybody thinks we’re wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply ’cause our hair is long
Oh, you know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
Oh oh oh
-RIP Marvin Gaye 1973
RIP Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Freddie Grey, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling