Murdering Black Men

I feel compelled to write about murdering black men. Even is really no point in this conversation, as you have made up your mind, and I have made up mine. The list of black men being murdered over the past decade does not seem to be random at all. Especially when they are killed by policemen.

I saw a dead young boy laying on the street many years ago. According to the news he was fourteen. When the boy’s mother showed up, she fell on her son, sobbing, crying he was a good boy, he was her son and he was not a gang member. My heart went out for the mother. What was truly sad was the boys hat, t-shirt, and do rag hanging out of his back pocket told another story.

He was his mother’s son, and he was a good boy. He was good with his brother and sister. He treated his parents, aunts and uncles with respect. He was also a gang member. He chose to wear his colors at an intersection where two gang boundaries meet.

He was a good boy, he was of the opinion as all young boys that the rules of life did not apply to him, and being killed is something that happens to other people.

A few months before Rodney King was beaten, I had a co-worker with whom I worked closely together a little over two years. One day he said to me that we not only worked together, but we are close friends. I agreed. He then told me, “You know, when we are alone, you don’t have to call me by name, you can call me, Nigger. Don’t call me that when my friends are around though because they won’t understand, and they will want to fight with you.”

I felt like I ran into a brick wall. I was being allowed into some secret society privilege I was unaware existed. That word had not left my mouth since I was about eight, and a black boy a few years older than me told me what a bad word it was, when he heard me use it. I told him I was sorry, and I would not use it again. I kep my word all through the years.

I grew up in a rural area in Minnesota. If racism existed, I was not aware of it. I never heard the words people use to label other people to make them something less. We had three or four black boys in our school over the years. Total population of our school kindergarten to graduation was a less than one-thousand kids. Pretty small by todays standards.

I tried to be friends with these new arrivals, as they were new to our little town and did not have any friends. I was a one boy welcome wagon, I suppose. Two of the boys were friendly and one was not. I never thought much of it. That’s how we are.

My mother and her sister worked as maids at a hotel for a few years during my grade school life. She and my aunt would talk with other adults about odd things they found in the rooms that should not have been there.

It was a pretty divided conversation. In white mens rooms they would sometimes find beer or booze in the toilet tanks. They clinked as they cleaned and flushed the toilets. In the rooms of black men when making the beds, they occasionally found a knife or pistol placed between the mattresses. The discovered knives and guns were frequent and scared them. When people checked out, they usually left the beer or liquor out for the maids.

They never found a left behind knife or pistol. I was naive as I mentioned, and did not understand that there was/is a difference in the thinking of black men and white men. Which brings me back to murdering black men.

In some circles brain viruses are thought to be present in the population. Brain viruses seem to be ideas that are accepted as the norm, and certain people start believing them, accepting them as fact. I am sure you and I have been subject to brain viruses from time to time. Brain viruses are hard to shake off, as it means stepping out from the herd.

Here in Albuquerque we have a murder by police rate so high the federal government has stepped in to investigate. In some cases the police have been found in the wrong, especially when it comes to dealing with someone who is mentally deficient. They have gone overboard in their response.

We also have cases where policemen have been murdered with their guns still in their holsters. If they were reaching to pull their guns to defend themselves they never made it. It’s tough being a police officer, I would not want to do their job and wonder if ever time they respond, this will be the time they will be forced to make a life or death decision. You know they won’t decide to let themselves be killed.

I do not walk down the middle of the street, blatantly ignoring local law, and disrespecting people driving. At least I do not do things like this intentionally.

Behavior like this serves no purpose. It would put me in in harms way. I have no need to talk back to the police, challenge their authority, or make them question their safety.

During the execution of their duty, for the most part Police officers have been more than civil, and respectful to me. For the two times when I felt I was being singled out, and treated with less than equal respect, I have let it go until the next day.

I did not feel the middle of a police encounter was the time to make an issue of the situation. As already the encounter was too serious for the occasion. The next day however, I have contacted, the mayor, chief of police, and the commander in charge of the area where the incident occurred, expressing my feelings and concerns about how I was treated.

I never felt the need to challenge an officer’s authority when he/she stopped me, saw a need to be belligerent, or otherwise complicate the situation. Taking those actions would only make things worse for me, and certainly more physically dangerous.

Maybe the way I act when challenged by police is a brain virus too. Maybe it is common sense, and my will to survive, directing the way I act. All I know is the man confronting me has a gun, and if he were to feel he needs to shoot me because I present a real or imagined threat to his/her safety and well being, I will not be around to tell my side of the story if I am shot.

There are bad police who are looking to shoot someone, no one denies this. There are also right and wrong ways to conduct yourself when confronted by police. Escalating the situation with poor choices is not protecting your person from bodily harm.

It may be simplistic, but if you want to be a tough guy, join the Marines, and ask to be sent to the middle east. There are a number of tough guys waiting for you and they are more than happy to dance with you.

When I have been stopped by the police anywhere across the country, I listen to their direction and try to follow it as closely as I am able. Only once have I had a police pistol pointed at my direction. The police were looking for a car involved in a shooting and robbery that looked just like mine. Once it was understood a mistake had been made, the police officer did not apologize. Thankfully he calmed down when he realized I wasn’t the person(s) he was looking for. No harm, no foul. Glad I am not him.

If you do find yourself with a policeman’s weapon aimed at you, drop your pride and emotions, and listen very carefully. You can take up whatever wrongs done to you later, or tomorrow when you are out of your situation.

When you run with a rough crowd, expect rough play. If you want to be a gangster do not expect people, except maybe your family to like you. If you feel the police are out to get you, you may be right. Be smart. Do not give anyone a reason to make a mistake that costs you your life.

Sports and Porn, Best Actor Awards?

As someone who is watches sports on a casual level, I am always surprised at the players. Whether I watch the FIFA games, NBA finals, or MLB, there is always a show being put on. I never envied the referees and umpires. Not that the referees and umpires are being over tasked, but there roles have expanded. I am surprised at the amount of acting going on at this level of sport.
Watching FIFA, I see the acting is on par with the NBA. Players falling over in a dramatic style, agony on their faces, grabbing body parts, or laying still waiting for the whistle. They make it look doubtful they will ever be able to stand up again, let alone play. If the whistle doesn’t come, they are up in a flash running down the field.

Watching an NBA game, I see two-hundred plus pound men in the key falling over when barely bumped, acting like a train hit them. The player being touched is falling over, not the player doing the bumping. Other times players find ways to get in the way and then bumped, hoping to cause a foul on the opposition.

Players in the MLB and college level baseball, have their non verbal body language, mainly pitchers and batters, are body language experts. Often they are telling each other off using their body language. Making both subtle and overt sexual and other references towards each other involving package checks, and occasionally, other more explicit body language.

I watched a college baseball game last week where the batter was grabbing and throwing his crotch towards the pitcher. The picture was busy going through his own repertoire of movement, creatively flipping the bird at the batter.

It has all become part of the game. Each player or team trying to get an edge on the other.  Hoping the referees and umpires will be unable to separate fact from fantasy. Some of these games have more drama in them than  soap operas.

Perhaps as a casual watcher of sports, I notice these behaviors as I do not watch enough sports to make more refined observations concerning the play. For me, watching the acting is entertainment enough.

Maybe it is time to start a sports actors guild? There could be a best actor and runner up in each sport or division. There could be an award for the best sequence of falls over the season, based on believability. The best faked trip, or foul. How about the most obscene gestures thrown in a season. Award winners would get a cash award on top of a trophy.

Where does this leave the Referees and Umpires? Maybe they could have slots on the award show for most correct calls, best at ignoring antics, and maybe even directing pitchers and batters to clean up their acts.

Sports and porn are the reason the Internet made it. At one time, sports and porn took up over fifty percent of all bandwidth. Casually watching sports these days, I wonder if porn is the cleaner of the two. Especially if you throw in excessive and continuous spitting in baseball.

The falling in sports, and porn are both fake, so maybe acting during the game awards and best acting porn awards could be the same show?

Excuse Me, I’m Sorry

Excuse me, and I’m sorry have to be two of the most overworked phrases I hear when out and about around town. For example, I was walking towards a door yesterday and a Mother and her Teen Daughter where also approaching the door.

Of course the Mom, being a responsible Mom had taught her daughter manners. We arrived at the door an door almost together and the Teen Girl started to open the door and enter ahead of me. She remember her manners and stepped back saying, “I’m sorry”.

As I went to open the door the Teen stepped in front of it again as if to walk through. When the door opened she remembered her manners again and said, “Excuse me”. She then stepped back and we both allowed her Mother to go through the door first.

As we both meandered the aisles, I ran into the mom and daughter three more times. Three more times I heard the phrases, “I’m sorry, Excuse me”. After the third time, I thought that was a lot of sorry excuses jammed into ten or so minutes.

I know the young woman was trying to be polite, but it seems to me the words, Excuse me, and I’m Sorry are  a little more import an than words to be uttered in awkward social situations. Over use of these phrases to me is like the little boy who cried wolf. If your sorry and asking to be excused too many times in one day, when do those phrases carry any weight or meaning?

There seemed to be an excessive amount of I’m sorry, and excuse me’s this week as I found myself thinking about it as I brushed my teeth last night. Whatever happened to, Pardon me, after you, please go first, or some other kindly comment as it applies to the situation. Pardon me, is a lot more empowering and meaningful than excuse me.

Today I watched ‘Real Sports’, which is the only sports show I ever watch. They did a story about fan violence. A comment was made that 7,000 fans were removed form their seats and expelled from the stadium last year. Millions of fans attended the games however. All 350 NFL games, which works out to about 20 fans per game.

Twenty fans per game sounds like a real small number which it when the seating capacity of a stadium is tens of thousands of fans. What caught my ear was this was the number of fans asked to leave the stadium for bad behavior.

The segment on fan behavior added balance to my thinking about the over sorry, excused young woman. At her age, there is so much going on in her life as she is going through the transformation of child to adult. She has a lot of outside pressure on her, her Mom is probably not even aware of, let alone a complete stranger at a doorway, or being passed in the aisle.

After watching the clip on fan behavior and realizing how rude and inappropriate we have become as a society, I am happy the young woman is overly concerned with good manners even is she overuses the wrong phrases. One action producing an opposite reaction? Maybe.