Running While Black?

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Pissed. Angry. Distraught. Hopeless. Any of these words describe your feelings these days? Personally, I’ve had them all in the last 24 hours. And then I saw a video of a young African-American male gunned down and slaughtered by a couple of yahoo vigilante white dudes. My head exploded.

Another one murdered—this time apparently for having the nerve to jog down the street in the middle of the day. The nerve of this young man, right? How dare he run while black, in a white neighborhood? Doesn’t he know his place?

For those of you wondering what the story is, perhaps you haven’t seen the video yet. Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, is seen being chased by two white men in a pickup truck outside the city of Brunswick, Georgia. A confrontation occurs between the younger white man and Arbery, shots were fired, and Arbery is seen falling to the ground. He later died from his wounds.

There’s much about this case that stinks to high heaven. For one, the incident occurred on February 23. The police had the video since that time, and why it just got released this past Tuesday is anyone’s best guess. The two white men in question, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, have not been charged with a crime.

According to the incident report from the Glynn County Police Department, the elder McMichael said he saw Arbery run by his house and immediately alerted his son. McMichael said he thought Arbery resembled a suspect behind some recent break-ins in the neighborhood. That’s when both of them grabbed their guns and took off in pursuit.

There are also repeated conflicts of interest in this case. Two prosecutors initially assigned to the case had to recuse themselves because of professional connections to Gregory McMichael, who previously worked as an investigator for the Brunswick District Attorney’s office and was also an officer for the Glynn County Police Department.

Apparently, one of those prosecutors initially told police that the father and son’s actions were well within Georgia’s self-defense and citizen arrest statutes. He later declined any public comment on the matter, instead saying that the American people deserve to hear all relevant evidence and facts before making any judgments as to what happened.

Ok, I’m all for that. For now, the current prosecutor in charge decided that there’s enough evidence to proceed to the Grand Jury for consideration of criminal charges. Unfortunately, however, because of the pandemic, Grand Juries are prohibited from meeting until June 12. In the meantime, Arbery’s family grieves and wonders why law enforcement keeps dropping the ball on this case.

The civil rights community and other influential voices are weighing in as we speak. Former Vice-President Joe Biden has called for justice for the young victim, as has pro-basketball star, Lebron James. Protests erupted in the community on Tuesday night with the crowd chanting, “We Want Justice!”

And now for some predictions. Soon, we’ll start hearing from the right-wing, specifically Fox News, that Ahmaud Arbery was a thug. I do not know anything about the young man other than that he was a football player in high school and was working to be an electrician, according to his mother. If he did anything outside the law, you can be sure Fox News will report it a thousand times over. Maybe he was caught with some weed in high school? Suspended for fighting? Or, perhaps, he called his teacher a name.

It doesn’t matter–they’ll find something. After all, he’s a black guy. Surely he was up to no good, running someplace where he shouldn’t have been. This case, by the way, was eerily similar to the Trayvon Martin tragedy nearly eight years ago. Some things never change. Citizens arrest and self-defense statutes? Stand your ground laws? They’re all one and the same, and young black men always seem to get the short end of the stick. It almost makes you think the laws were designed with that in mind.

This is sickening. And I’m sick of it. Here’s what I’d like to see in the coming days. How about we get about two thousand African-American men and arm them all with semi-automatic weapons, preferably those more massive than a bazooka, and organize a march to the Georgia Statehouse demanding justice for Ahmaud Arbery.

We’d have all the major news outlets there, including Fox News, of course. I wonder what the reaction would be? How long before the current president would weigh in? Would we hear the usual “These are just good people who are angry and want things to change?” Give me a break.

We’ve seen white men in recent days charging statehouses and governors mansions, demanding they open up the state—carrying weapons of war, yelling and spitting at policemen merely doing their jobs. Fox News and the current president love these guys. They’re only exercising their lawful Second Amendment rights, they say.

If only the same standard held true if people of color did the same thing. We know the horror and outrage we’d see from the far right. “How dare these black folks intimidate our governor?” “How dare they?” “Send in the National Guard!!”

May Ahmaud Arbery rest in peace. I feel so bad for his family. I hope he receives the justice he deserves from this tragedy. Unfortunately, the incident happened in Georgia. Georgia. Need I say more?

Note: Within a few hours of publishing this post yesterday, news came that the two men responsible for Ahmaud’s murder were finally arrested. The fact it took over two months is a travesty itself. But, this is a positive step. The question now becomes, what happens next? The State of Georgia must uphold the rule of law in this case. I’m not confident they will succeed. Stay tuned. 

42 comments

  1. Excellent heartfelt, passionate post, my friend! I have raged and cried over this story since first hearing it and seeing the video yesterday. We have returned to the mid-1950s in this country and there is not one DAMN thing to be proud of here! Thanks for your passion in this matter … I must re-blog!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Jill. I read Charles Blow’s oped in The NY Times yesterday and my anger just exploded. Excellent piece by him, btw. Finally, these two idiots were arrested, a mere hours after I posted this. I have since updated the post to reflect that news. The State of Georgia is now on the clock Jill. If history is any indicator, I’m not confident they’re up to the task. I can see a Trayvon Martin verdict in the future. I hope I’m wrong!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just now read Charles Blow’s column … this still breaks my heart. Is this who we are? Like you, I already see shades of Trayvon Martin in this. A good man is dead, and two jackals with big guns live to see another day, to kill again. I hope we’re both wrong, but … it’s Georgia. It’s Racism Central. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    The most heinous crime I can imagine was committed three months ago in the State of Georgia, where a gun-lovin’ racist, Brian Kemp, is governor. This is the stuff of the mid-1950s, not the 21st century!!! Our friend Jeff is as incensed as I am, and he has written a passionate piece about the brutal slaying of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man gunned down for no reason by a couple of Georgia crackers. Thank you, Jeff. Sigh.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. “Make America Great Again!” Consciously or subconsciously, this story is what Trumpists mean when they chant that slogan.
    “Return America to the good old 50s, when nig**** [and other non-WASPS] knew their place.”
    “Take America back to the days when the only times minorities entered the ‘good side of town’ were to clean the homes or mow the lawns of the good white folks.”
    The one reason I’m grateful for Trump’s ascension: He exposed the gross racism, xenophobia, and hypocrisy of so many in the conservative movement–all things I should have seen sooner.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. So true Jerry. I had another thought about this as well. Do you have any doubt that there are a sizable number of Americans(MAGAs) who could give a rat’s you know what that the majority of people dying from Covid are people of color?

      Like

  4. Excellent post. I don’t know what to call my emotional state at this moment. I wanted to post, but I keep looking at a blank screen.

    I spent 4 plus months in Glynn County GA years ago. That is where the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) is located. While there in training, I did not venture too far away from the center. I spent some time and money with businesses in the area, but we were warned about being aware of the surroundings when we arrived.

    I feel for this kid’s family. I feel for the kids being raised in homes where racism is a way of life too. I hold no hopes in the justice system working in this case. It hasn’t before, and that area isn’t conducive for civil rights justice.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ve been to Georgia, but never lived there … and I won’t ever again go into that state, but … it is not alone. There seems to be a growing movement to turn this nation into a hateful white, Christian, straight nation. I’m out of here if they succeed. Canada, Mexico, Yemen, for that matter.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The hate has always been here. It’s just more in the open now. When you have “friends” in high places that will cover for you, then you can be more honest with your hate and not fear retribution.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes, Donald Trump gave permission for all the slugs to come crawling out from under the rocks where they had been hiding. And, whether he wins or loses in November, this isn’t going to magically disappear. Sigh.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. I know you’re right … I just hate it. I have long believed that the current Oaf in the Oval Office only got there because the racists and bigots were pushing back after 8 years of an African-American in the White House. Two things I hate most about this nation: Bigotry and Guns.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The Obama election was a warning that white supremacy is ending in America. It’s been institutionalized and ingrained in society for so long that many people don’t realize how widespread it still is. Obama’s election was a sign that black Americans could be and do anything in America when given a fair chance, and the racists don’t like us having a fair shot at anything.

        I like guns myself as I grew up around them. I believe that America has a gun fetish problem though, so I can totally understand why you would hate guns. We make them far too easy to obtain with very little training in safety or ownership required. That will probably change as America continues to brown.

        Liked by 3 people

      5. I certainly didn’t realize it until Obama’s election, when people were being hyper-critical and for no reason, so I concluded it could only be because of the colour of his skin. I thought we had put most of that to bed in the 1960s, but I now see how very wrong I was. Sigh.

        Twice in my 68 years, I have had a gun pointed at me, once by a member of law enforcement and once by an angry ex-husband. As a child, I played with toy guns and had no hatred or fear of them. Now I have both.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I share your concern Brosephus, and thank you for the compliment. These laws, these ‘stand your ground’ laws and other similar statutes are nothing but an open door for this kind of crap. I’ll be shocked if they can find a jury willing and able to convict these guys. I hope I’m proven wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll let you in on a secret as to how to get these laws overturned faster than you can blink your eyes.

        Picture this, I am a middle aged black man. If I stop and harass some young white kid, I’d get arrested for assault. If I stop him, harass him, and then shoot and kill him when he fights back, I can claim Stand Your Ground if they allow these two idiots to get away with it. I can use this case as part of my affirmative defense.

        Now, imagine that happening all over with black men standing their ground and killing white men. There will undoubtedly be serious changes in the laws and precedents set by court rulings.

        Expect to see more armed black men in America in the future. Those of us who haven’t had a felony pinned on them will be packing for self defense of ourselves and our families. The current government has a chance to stop bloodshed, but it requires them to punish the very racism they stoked to get elected.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Excellent point. It’s the same as when the Black Panthers showed up in Sacramento when Reagan was governor there, packing heat and protesting. He couldn’t change the open carry gun laws fast enough. Such a double standard. Truth be told, these idiots are cowards to their core, much like their dear leader Trump.

        Like

      3. Yep, and that is the one true way to make cowards turn tail and run. I try to be patient and let the justice system work. When the justice system is rigged against working properly, then other methods are required to remedy the problem.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the reblog, and yes, I’m afraid this will only be repeated again in the near future. America..two steps forward…three steps back. Not hopeful…..

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It was in 1958 when I first went to Fort Gordan, Georgia. I was shocked. Some things have changed like sitting in a diner with Blacks, Some things are the same. Like the HATRED th siat lies beneath the surface.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, things are better since those days. But in some ways, they’re just the same. Amazing how that mindset still simmers throughout this country, especially in the Deep South.

      Like

  6. I am never going to watch that video. It is beyond belief that this can still happen in 2020.
    But I am going to use this to renew my belief that the nuclear family as we know it has to be changed. When parents are allowed to teach their children racism, hatred, and other bigotries, the system is NOT WORKING!
    I realize that most societies have chosen nuclear families over any kind of “village of children” concept, but the “nf” is the largest contributor to violence in existence. Please, humans, give it up. Work together to create loving, peaceful children.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lots of work to do rawgod. I keep thinking that once a lot of these racists begin dying off, things will gradually get better. Very naive of me. They simply pass it off to their offspring..and subsequent offspring as well. It’s like a disease with no cure.

      Like

  7. Jeff, well said. These expanded stand your ground laws which go well beyond the intent of protection, allow vigilante justice, or the perception of justice. This story sounds right out of an old west plot. It is right out of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
    Sadly, it is 2020 and it continues. A couple of years ago, a father from India was visiting his daughter in Birmingham, AL (I think) and he is shot while walking her neighborhood because he did not speak English well enough to answer the police’s questions. Trayvon Martin is killed by a self-appointed neighborhood watch person who was told by the 911 dispatcher not to follow him and let them handle it.

    And, it goes on. What Sean Hannity did not say when he was condemning the armed protestors for going into the legislative building is the following. Domestic terrorism dwarfs that of foreign terrorists groups on our shores. There are about 1,000 hate groups in the US that are unrelated to Islam – they are almost all white supremacist groups.

    So, having a citizenry armed has consequences. Vigilantism, hate killings, terrorist acts are with us for a reason. To them, he looked guilty because he was black, and now he is dead. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Keith. It is a sad commentary of life in America when we’re allowed to have these kind of laws in our cities and towns. I’m not sure but has the Supreme Court ever ruled on Stand your Ground laws? I’m thinking they already have said they are Constitutional. I could be wrong though. If it ever does make it to the high court, I have no doubt that they would uphold it. That’s why this election is so important, if for no other reason than it assures we would surely get more reasonable center/left judges to counteract the far-right tilt we have now. That should be enough to make sure Trump is a one-termer.

      Like

      1. Thanks for sharing Keith. Yes, very similar. But I do love how he tries to urge white people to a higher calling. It’s great advice, and frankly I’ve fallen short over the years at confronting racism the way I should have. At least now I have a platform from which to do that. But it goes even further when you confront it on a personal one on one basis. Nothing matches that.

        Like

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