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.