Hurtful words and deadly force

Every few months, it seems as if some celebrity athlete or entertainer gets caught saying something racist, and it seems as if some police officer or armed white person kills an unarmed young black man.

However you judge these things, making an offensive remark or having racial prejudice in your heart may be bad things, but they are not in the same category as taking a human life.

Yet so far as I can tell, the consequences of using deadly force are less than the consequences of saying hateful words.

How do you see it?

3 Responses to “Hurtful words and deadly force”

  1. Holden Says:

    I agree. Consider this- how often is it that a person of any color dies at the hands of police in the country? The events that have taken place in Ferguson take place in Los Angeles, Oakland, New York City and Chicago every day!

    So why the outrage in Ferguson? I assume there’s some sort of underlying political force at play. No one cares that much about cops killing people- at least not politicians and the media.


    • Atticus C. Says:

      I think there is a larger societal phenomena coming to a head here that we are all missing:

      1. The militarization of the police, and
      2. The cultural problem within the black community

      We have a lot of tension built-up here. One the one hand we have a police force that the entire country is hostile toward (and perhaps rightfully so, in many cases). The people are tired of the military-like officers treating them like crap. This creates hostility.

      On the other hand we have a black community that has embraced a thug-like mentality. So many black people have embraced this stereotype that its not longer just a stereotype – it is truly how a large percentage of blacks behave. Go to any neighborhood in South Atlanta, Memphis, Montgomery, New Orleans and the evidence is clear. (Though there are many societal factors that have contributed to this phenomena.)

      These two factors have combined to form a hostile environment for young black men. One that automatically puts and already militarized police force on high alert and behavior by the black community that enforces the police’s high alert.

      So here we are. A black man who probably acted badly, perhaps violently, and a police officer who reacted badly, one would argue militaristic-like, and took a life.

      Finally, we have the profiteering media and the mob-instigators that have incited riots and persuaded public opinion who capitalize on it all. So the cycle continues.


    • philebersole Says:

      No officer of the law has the right to use deadly force except when he or others are in imminent danger.

      Whatever Michael Brown did do, or didn’t do (and we are never going to get his side of the story), he did not deserve to be summarily executed for it.

      Atticus, the broader societal issues that you mention are perfectly valid issues, but in my opinion are irrelevant to the main point.

      The main point is that a scruffy-looking young black man who lives in a bad part of town has a life that is of just as much value in the cosmic scheme of things, and is as deserving as just as much protection by the Constitution and the laws, as your life or mine.


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