Saturday, September 5, 2015

Black Lives Matter

If you followed the conservative news and blogs you would think Black Lives Matter was a rebirth of the Black Panthers, with these faux news outlets blaming every police death on the movement.  Fox News goes out of its way to find black voices speaking out against BLM, and you find viral videos of kids similarly speaking out against it as well.  Fox News even tried to make a link between Black Lives Matter and the shooting death of Texas police officer Darren Goforth, but then what can you expect from a news network that is still promoting their conspiracy theories regarding Benghazi.

Black Lives Matter formed in the summer of 2013, after the death of Trayvon Martin, which conservatives used in the 2014 midterms to point to the thuggery in the streets. The real thug was George Zimmerman who was carrying a firearm on a neighborhood watch when he got into a confrontation with a black teenager that ultimately led to the boy's death.  BLM arose out of the need to identify these victims and show the country that Martin and others like him are human beings, not thugs you can gun down because they happen to cross your path one night. Yet, we hear the GOP candidates and virtually every conservative news outlet make Black Lives Matter into a militant organization.

Dr. Ben Carson tried to take the high road by saying that All Lives Matters.   However, he misses the point.  BLM isn't saying that black lives are more important than white lives, these activists are calling attention to the highly questionable shootings and detainment of Black Americans around the country that led to their deaths.  The latest being Sandra Bland, who died in jail in Waller County, Texas, over a minor traffic violation.

What's so appalling about the condemnation of BLM, is that Donald Trump and other conservatives are calling national attention to the death of a young white woman who was gunned down by an illegal immigrant, who used a stolen federal gun.  This case has been used to tar and feather everyone from the Obama administration on down to the Mexican government.  It didn't matter that Hillary Clinton similarly condemned the shooting, citing the poor decision by San Francisco federal authorities to release Sanchez from detention.  In Trump's mind, and that of his constituency, it validates his claim that the Mexican government is intentionally releasing its worst elements into our society and the Obama administration is doing nothing to stop it.

Woe be it for Black Lives Matter to question local police departments who shoot and detain persons with no criminal records.  Sandra Bland was a woman about the same age as Kathryn Steinle, the white woman murdered in San Francisco.  Bland had become an activist in BLM, calling attention to incidents of police violence in Texas and Illinois, when she was pulled over for a minor traffic violation this past July in Waller County.  The arresting officer claimed she had assaulted him, which gave him grounds to detain her, but the officer's dashcam later revealed that he didn't follow proper traffic stop procedures.  Three days later she was found hanging in her jail cell.

While Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, who shot Steinle, has been made into this election cycle's Willie Horton, the cop who arrested Sandra Bland is rarely mentioned.  The conservative press has rallied around other cops like him, namely Darren Wilson, who gunned down another teenager, Michael Brown, last August.  We now have Police Lives Matter, in the wake of the unprovoked shooting death of Deputy Darren Goforth, which President Obama condemned, just like the shooting deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.  Yet, police forces around the country have condemned Obama's "rhetoric" for the violence against cops.

What about Trump's inflammatory rhetoric, which is used expressly to incite unrest and anger among the Tea Party base of the Republican Party?  For the most part, Fox news anchors and pundits have defended his unsubstantiated claims.  You have to read Murdoch's Wall Steet Journal to find criticism of making a bogeyman out of illegal immigrants, who are far less likely to commit violent crimes than are native-born Americans.  It stands to reason, since illegal immigrants typically try to keep a low profile, but all it took was one death to justify Trump's accusations.

We also hear about the 25 cops who have been shot so far this year, but fatal shootings by police reached 400 as of June of this year.  Former police chief Jim Bueermann and president of the Police Foundation in Washington, DC, is appalled by the lack of information available on these civilian shootings, not to mention the number of reported deaths.  By comparison, more persons were killed by police in January, 2015, in the United States than were killed in the past 24 years in England and Wales.  It seems many US police departments have adopted the policy of shoot first and ask questions later.  Add to that the inordinate number of black persons killed per capita, and you begin to understand why Black Lives Matter was formed.

Unfortunately, the so-called liberal media hasn't done much to defend BLM, often presenting the same analogies and drawing the same conclusions as the so-called conservative media.  Black Lives Matter has tried to address this "image problem" but often finds itself butting heads with news anchor and pundits, resulting in shouting matches.  As a result, BLM has become marginalized in the mainstream media.

It is hard to counter the soothing bromides of Dr. Ben Carson or the barbed wit of Bill Maher, who questioned why BLM was going after Bernie Sanders of all people.  Talib Kweli offered a spirited defense that fell mostly on deaf ears.   Black Lives Matter finds itself having to suppress its anger and indignation if it wants to be heard, otherwise it is seen as a militant fringe organization.  Meanwhile, the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland fade into the background, replaced by Kathryn Steinle and Darren Goforth, which is precisely the reason Black Lives Matter was formed.

1 comment:

  1. Ain't much of a liberal media anywhere so you can expect BLM to be continually portrayed as a terrorist group.