May 28, 2020

Demand That Police Stop Murdering Our Neighbors

police officer

I can understand why some people would be outraged at the thought of a White woman calling the police when it isn't necessary to do so. I cannot understand why they would participate in mob justice or how they can feel good about getting her fired, but I have no difficulty understanding why they would be upset. Unfortunately, this obscures the serious problem that should be outraging all of us and which requires our action: police keep murdering people of color and facing few, if any, criminal penalties for doing so.

"But she shouldn't have called the police! She knew what she was doing!" Why shouldn't she have called the police? Because there was a decent chance that they'd murder somebody when they responded? Right, and that is the problem. Anybody, regardless of race, gender, or whatever other aspects of identity with which far too many people are currently obsessed, should be able to call the police and be reasonably confident that they won't murder anybody. All of us should be reasonably confident in that. If we can't, then we have a serious problem to resolve.

I know that (some) people are capable of being outraged at more than one thing at one time. And yet, the second of these problems is so much harder to solve and requires so much more of us than the first. But isn't it also a hell of a lot more important? If we could stop police from murdering people of color, wouldn't the issue of someone calling the police unnecessarily simply be a nuisance? And how about we go one step further and demand that our police stop murdering period. The race of the people most likely to be murdered does matter, but not as much as the murder itself. We have become far too tolerant of police brutality.

I suspect that most of us have a finite amount of outrage we can sustain at any given time and an even more limited amount we can utilize effectively. We are too easy to distract and much less effective when we are distracted. This is a case where we would do well to keep focused on the real problem: the police who are there to "protect and serve" murdering unarmed citizens and facing few consequences for doing so.

To learn more about how you can help, check out Campaign Zero.