Hello! Many thanks for stopping by, supporting or following my blog @Reposed Thought. As ever, here’s a brief look back at what I’ve been up to in the blogosphere this past month. Peace, Gome.
All Posts (12 Jan 2016 – 12 Feb 2016)
- Young.Black.Unarmed (9 Feb) – Police violence against black people in America has been in the news a lot recently. The statistics are ridiculous! This is what inspired me to write this piece. check it out..
- J.Miles – Love Letters (ft Leah Smith) (3 Feb) – This song beautifully shares a simple yet necessary message that the world needs to hear; a love like no other..
- Last Nights Weird Dream (#2) (3 Feb) – Another one of those nights. This the second weird dream I’ve managed to record straight after waking up.
- John 16:33 (19 Jan) – Words to live by: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jesus).
A few months ago, I heard the sad story of 17 year old Laquan Macdonald – a young black man shot dead by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. Laquan was shot 16 times in 14 seconds, and all this despite being unarmed. This case once again brought forward the issue of police brutality against black people in America.
By definition, the police are:
“the civil force of a state, responsible for the prevention and detection of crime and the maintenance of public order” (Oxford Dictionary)
However, many parts of this story do not fit well with this definition. Footage of this incident was captured by the dashboard camera of the police car, and it showed that Laquan was moving away from the officers at the time the shots were dispatched. The first shot spun him round and knocked him to the ground, at which point he was no longer a threat to the police or the public. However, officer Van Dyke proceeded to shoot him another 15 times while on the ground.
If an officer felt particularly threatened by an individuals actions, enough to open fire, wouldn’t they stop firing once the suspect was down? Alternatively, wouldn’t the use of a tazer or stun gun be more appropriate (depending on circumstances) to prevent the unnecessary loss of life?
The footage of the shooting was only released a year into the investigation, leading to widespread anger, criticism and speculation of a police cover-up. Not only was the footage released late, but it also contradicted the original police report which suggested that Van Dyke acted in self defence:
“In defence of his life, Van Dyke back-peddled and fired his handgun at McDonald to stop the attack.” The boy, “fell to the ground but continued to move and continued to grasp the knife, refusing to let go of it” (Guardian Newspaper, UK)
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about this case, is the fact that its not an isolated one – far from it in fact. Recent statistics have shown that US police killed at least 336 black people in 2015 alone, more than any other race. In 102 of those cases, the victims were unarmed, which begs the question: Why? Why does this keep happening? Why has nothing changing? Why so many victims? Why..Why..Why..?
Without wanting to make this a black vs white issue, it is important to note that there have been victims of police brutality from other races too (some cases without as much coverage as others). However, the problem is that the statistics are staggeringly stacked up against black victims:
One final stat to help put this into perspective:
37% of unarmed people killed by police were black in 2015, despite black people being only 13% of the U.S. population (Mapping Police Violence)
When will this end?
Trayvon Martin . Mike Brown . Jordan Davis . Eric Garner . Oscar Grant . Rodney King . Sean Bell . Ezell Ford . Jordan Davis . Emmett Till . Jonathan Ferrell . Johnie L Cochran . George William Dunn . Deaunta Farrow . Reginald A Dunn . Aiyana Jones . Rondre Lamar Hornbeak . Emerson Clayton Jr . Tommy Yancy . Yvette Smith . Jerame C Reid . Tamir E Rice . Tanisha Anderson . Zikarious Flint . Antoine Dominique Hunter . Charles Goodridge . Jason Harrison . Gregory Lewis Towns Jr . Howard Wallace Bowe Jr . Kaldrick Donald . Cameron Tillman . Jordan Baker . Hallis Kinsey . Lavon King . Robert Storay . Victor White III . Akai Gurley . Darrien Nathaniel Hunt . Jeremy Lake . Laquan Mcdonald .
HOW MANY MORE NAMES?
Guardian Newspaper, UK – http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/05/laquan-mcdonald-knife-police-report-chicago
Mapping Police Brutality – http://mappingpoliceviolence.org/unarmed/
A simple yet necessary message that the world needs to hear.
I only discovered this song this evening and absolutely love it. I’ve loved listening to Leah Smith‘s music for a while, with her other hits ‘By land or by sea’ and ‘Beautifully made’ among my favourites. Her amazing voice effortlessly delivers the simple yet necessary message that Jesus loves you!
As for J.Miles, this was my first time hearing him, but what better way to be introduced to him. I found his lyrics deep and thought provoking, but easy enough to follow without having to look up the lyrics. The combination of singer and rapper has been used beautifully in this one.
Have a listen…
There we were, all excited, about to canoe down the great river, beneath the blazing African sun. Leaving our group at the manor in the woods, we joked and strolled through natures back yard. A small clearing in the trees and we had reached our destination. There she was; splendid, majestic, yet calm. You wouldn’t dare underestimate her, for just a moments laps and she’d consume you like a bag of sweets. We carefully trod the sharp, slippery rocks as we made our way to the waters edge.
The sudden loud screech to our left of an angry-sounding bird soon distracted us. It was tall, with thin, gangly legs and a beak to match. It stared us down as if to vent it’s frustration for us disturbing it’s sunbathing routine. At first we saw just one, all cute though angry. Then we saw two, then three, then four and soon a whole army that raised their narrow necks from the drinking pool to stare us down. We had unintentionally stumbled into their community hub. My fear of animals compounded me to round my pathway towards the right through the mud/rock banks to avoid these ruffled looking creatures.
Still the adventure had to continue and it was now time for a quick dip. The peaceful yet piercing volume of a thousand river birds filled the background. These were natures songs of praise. My fellow explorer decided to canoe ahead while I swam a good 10m behind. As we approached the widest part of the river, my arms began to tire, so I decided to head back to shore. But first to take in the view. I lay on my back to rest. My eyes began to wonder round as I daydreamed in this stress-free zone. As I stared at a rock in the distance, it’s unusually long form and rough texture caught my gaze. A quick double take and I was sure I wasn’t seeing things right. I strained to gain focus without my ever present glasses and anxiously tried to make out what it was.
Suddenly, I caught the opening of a green and yellow eye, with its slim black pupil. It looked right at me. Yep, my fears were confirmed.
IT WAS A CROC!!!!
My body shivered in an instant. My once wondering mind was now fully focussed on this much feared and ruthless beast. The hairs on my forearms threw themselves into the water and hurriedly swam back to shore. My chest grew cold and sent shivers down my chest and spine. My heart jumped out and goosebumps from my shoulders to my feet all trembled and shuddered in absolute terror. Two of my biggest fears combined to make this the worst feeling ever – my fear of untamed wild animals, along with being stuck in deep, dark unknown waters. The closest river bank was where this beastly creature lay. Not wanting to alarm it, I swam in panicked silence towards the canoe. Facing the opposite direction, my colleague rowed away unaware of my predicament. Any sudden movement or noise could alarm this vicious beast. Not a confident swimmer, my abilities drastically increased due to my desperation. The birds that once sang sweet songs no longer existed to me. I was making steady ground towards the canoe desperately hoping my friend would look round to see my signal of distress. Suddenly, there was a splash in the water behind me and I looked round for the croc.
He had gone. Disappeared. I knew he’s in the water.
My fears were confirmed as I saw another slither down the muddy banks into the unclear grey waters. I couldn’t take it anymore. I screamed for my friend who panicked as he looked round, almost knocking himself into the water. The distance between us was more than me and these crocs, but I knew they were much quicker, more agile, and ruthless. They held no sympathy for stranded creatures or humans.
This was it. I just knew it. It had to be the end.
A strange peace and calm came over me as I awaited the inevitable; to meet my journeys end. As these thoughts filled my mind, I started seeing the insides of my eye lids. I rolled my eyeballs around but it was still pitch black. I couldn’t see. They flickered for a moment and slowly released till they were fully open. I was now in a dark room.
I thought: “Where am I? How did it end?”
I glanced round in confusion and saw a clock displaying 5am in glowing blue. I could go back to sleep. My nightmare was over; it was only a dream. I lay there in anxious yet joyful relief and reflected on what could, would and surely should’ve been. But as I took a deep breath and lay there in silence, I was most grateful to still have my limbs.