Thursday, April 30, 2015

Baltimore, America, Here We Go AgainI

       America did it again. Another riot, another several days of chaos and violence again because of a stupid act(s) committed by police officers who believed themselves to be above the law. The black victim was not shot this time but pretty much thrashed, brutalized mysteriously. He was beaten up by several  police officers. I assume he likely received the majority of his injuries through what Baltimore police officers call a "rough ride" where they lock the prisoner up inside a police van (paddy wagon) and give him a wild bumpy ride through  a neighborhood or while driving to a police station. Well this ride must have been extremely bumpy because this time the prisoner ended up not just bruised but deceased.
       On the day Freddie Gray died, I was sitting down on my chair, just recently home from work and I began hearing drops of news here and there of some kind of altercation occurring in Baltimore. I finally decide to turn on the television, turn to CNN then POW there it is. Immediate thoughts of "here we go again" plays in my head. "America has not learned", even while being led by a reelected black president. My parent in laws looked onto the television a little mystified, they visiting from West Africa, they expect better from this country but they are educated and been to the US before. They know a lot about the perils and misfortunes befallen upon many of the African Americans living in the United States. They know about the lack of education and he high numbers of crimes occurring in the major cities. They know about the large amount of drugs being sold and used, and the large number of high school dropouts, unemployed, children raised without fathers. That is one of the reasons why they travel from Nigeria to America every other year to help their daughter (my wife) and myself raise our children so that we as a team can rise atop this mess black families, individuals can find themselves in if not careful.
       Reports say that some policeman saw Freddie Gray in a bad neighborhood he then ran from them. After that I don't know what occurred between Freddie Gray and the police to have them desire to rough him up enough to give him a severe spinal cord injury. Very possibly the police simply chased after him because he ran from them and looked suspicious. From reading reports on the web he as witnessed as being dragged into a van, handcuffed by his arresting officers. A woman who knows the man said she found him screaming, she asked him if he was okay but he never said yes or no. He just said that he could not breathe and he was screaming. The police officers, there was seven of them, said that they found a knife clipped to the insides of his front right hand pocket. The knife is said to be spring assisted. Some people say that it is not illegal to carry a knife. Maryland law makes it illegal to carry switchblades of any kind, or any type of dangerous weapon (http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/22/us/baltimore-freddie-gray-what-we-know/). Now here is the obvious question asked time and time again: Was carrying a knife deserving of being beaten to death? Is flinching or even running when seeing several cops warrant dying?
       My wife saw the Baltimore riot and immediately felt disappointment in the African Americans quarreling and burning down buildings. I felt disappointed but I also understand somewhat what the rioters are going through. I witnessed similar turbulence in LA in 1992 after the Rodney King Beatings. I also saw a similar pattern in the recent Ferguson riots. On one side people say that burning down buildings and destroying businesses built to serve your own friends and families accomplishes zilch for the black community, which is true. On the other side people focus on the mistreatment of Black Americans by police officers, especially white officers who constantly harass black people and treat them like similar to how black slaves were treated in America back in the 17 and 1800's. Myself having experienced cop harassment back in my twenties can in a way relate to how blacks in Ferguson and LA feel. The only difference was that my experienced involved black cops. As I was driving with my friend down a bad neighborhood a city policemen driving nearby noticed us and so decided to pull us over. Instead of simply issuing me a warning and/or a ticket and sending myself and my friend on our way the cops continued asking me questions insisting that I was on some kind of drug or criminal mission. I kept telling them that I was on my way to church but they assumed that I was lying. They began making fun of my accent. I was born in Nigeria, raised in America so my accent does not sound African American even though I look like it should. My accent does not sound 100 percent white either though during those times many African Americans I met would say that I sounded white. I became upset at the cops and raised my voice, next thing I know I found my arm swung around my back, pressed hard. The cop holding my arms was a huge guy. I was handcuffed in minutes. I felt uptight and indignified. Why was I being handcuffed? What did I do wrong? After about 45 minutes a captain came, which, interestingly, was a woman and let me go. After several weeks I appeared in court told the judge all the horrible things the cops did and said to me. He looked back at me with a blank gaze and simply sent me home without a ticket (I showed the judge proof that I fixed my broken light). As soon as I left I filed a report with the police department against the cops who handcuffed me. A couple weeks later a received a letter from the department telling me that they found nothing wrong with what the cops did.
       Every time a Black American riot against the police occurs I am reminded of my own experience. I often wonder if I should have gotten an attorney. Maybe I could have sued those cops. Anyways I know somewhat how those people in Ferguson and Baltimore feel, People hate to be bullied. People hate to be picked own especially by those who are supposed to protect them. But there is a crime issue within many black communities and that does draw a lot of the police attention. There is a growing lack of moral growing within black families. There is a rising breakup of black families into single moms and dads with children. Many kids are being born into families without mom and dad. Many moms and dads are not married. Now Black Americans are being introduced into gay marriages and many have fallen for it. The American media has done it again. Now they are associating Black American historical trials for freedom from slavery with the homosexual fight for power and many Black Americans are falling for it.
       It is like Ray Lewis said people of Baltimore need to rise above this mess. People around them know what they are going through. Many of them have been through similar altercations. You know Ray Lewis there are many people in America who have never set their own foot in Baltimore who have experienced similar police altercations. Burning down police cars and throwing rocks at policeman will not solve the problems.  Black Americans, White Americans should come down to church open their Bibles and read how God delivered the Nation of Israel from their own enemies. Israel is a nation who had many rivalries within. Jacob and Esau was a great rivalry. The two were brothers. One hunted the other over a bitter conflict. After awhile though they were both able to reconcile. African Americans and White Americans need to reconcile. Not some phony celebrity type one where we see white musicians play with black musicians or where we watch comedians like Bill Cosby or Chris Rock tell jokes to members of the White House, but one where we as a nation get down to our knees and pray to God and afterwards have each other walk in front of our brother or sister from another race and ask this person for forgiveness for whatever crime or cruelty committed by a member(s) of our race unto them or maybe a close friend or relative.. We need to say to each other that we are sorry and mean it. The love of Jesus needs to be kept as a witness of this apology. I know a lot of atheists in this county would be offended by mentioning Jesus but this country is in a mess. This mess is not going to be saved by education or money. Only one Savior can save this country. And His help does not require paying back a ten thousand plus loan.

Reference
Fantz, A., Botelho, G.  (April 29, 2015). What we know, don't know about Freddie Gray's death. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/22/us/baltimore-freddie-gray-what-we-know