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A LAWLESS NATION
HARRIS COUNTY TEXAS
Shannon Miles is in custody for the fatal shooting of Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth. According to Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman, the Sheriff department has been unable to "extract any details regarding a motive at this point." Sheriff Hickman further added "We’ve heard black lives matter, all lives matter . . . Well, cops’ lives matter, too.”
THEORY VERSUS REALITY
The Sheriff is exactly right. All lives do matter and the lives of every law enforcement officer is as precious as the lives of any and every citizen of the United States. That is, in theory it is purported to be, but in reality, the lives of America's African American citizens is expendable. That has always been the case. Now thanks to real-time electronic communications, the world has the visual and auditory opportunity to see how quickly Black lives can be snuffed out. Not only does the world have the opportunity to watch Black lives as they are extinguished; the world has the chance to witness the systematic prejudicial flaws within the fabric of America's judicial system.
THE BLACK MAN BLUES
For a surety, America's past treatment of its African American citizens is a topic that does not need to be reexamined. It suffices to say that America has been adjudicated guilty for not providing its African American citizens equal protection under the law. Nor has America afforded its African American citizens equal access to its political, financial, educational and social institutions. At this point, White Americans will speak among themselves and lament how tired they are of being reminded of the "Black Man Blues."
But the song must be played over and over again until every sad lyric and every forgotten melody is heard and addressed. It is therefore incumbent upon the drum majors for justice to remind not only White Americans but absentminded Black Americans that America has an unpaid legal, social and moral debt (http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/documentsentry/doc_the_drum_major_instinct/). A dept that continues to grow, and subsequently, every time an African American is gunned down,discriminated against or belittled; Blacks are reminded of that debt and reminded of America's discriminatory treatment of African Americans. That reminder, ever so slight as it may be, brings back to light the days when a Black man's life wasn't worth a dime. Once again, Whites will say that the systematic inequalities that Blacks faced have been eradicated and that it is time for the nation to move forward. But the song just keeps on playing.
MEMORIES & PERCEPTIONS
Its 21st century lyrics bring back painful memories; memories that collate and impact African American's perception of America's judicial system. So when unarmed Black men such as Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Eric Courtney Harris, Christian Taylor, Walter Scott, and Jonathan Ferrell (http://killedbypolice.net/) are killed; the lyrics from the "Black Man Blues" plays over and over. The song comes back to mind because there is not a Black family in America who does not know how it feels to be discriminated against. Likewise there is not a Black family in America who does not know of an African American family who has been affected by police brutality. The fact is no one ever forgets the words of a song that has truthful memories associated with its lyrics and so, too, no ethnic group ever forgets the injustices that have been predicated upon it. Whether an act is real or not is inconsequential; what is important, is that the ethnic group perceives the act as being real.
Sheriff Hickman has the answer. In mourning the senseless killing of an outstanding police officer, the Sheriff said, "Why don't we just drop the qualifier and say that "All lives Matter." When America, as a collective whole, arrives at that point and honors the sanctity of all lives then the number of unarmed Black males killed by White police officer will decrease and correspondingly there will be no need for retaliatory murders. Oops, I let the cat out of the bag. But that's exactly what law officers in the state of Texas think. They believe that Darren Goforth's execution was a retaliatory hit; yet, for now their theory is pure speculation. The accused, Shannon Miles, has not opened his mouth. When he does talk and if by chance he confirms Texas' authorities suspicions; law official should make it their business to know why Shannon Miles felt the need to avenge the deaths of unharmed Black Americans.
In the book of Judges, the writer states that "There was no King in Israel at that time, everyone did whatever they wanted (Judges 17:6, 21-25). The book of Judges introduces an important political and moral statement. Verses 17:6 and 21:25 convey the principle that since there was no King in the land to establish just laws and to protect the people; the people created their own laws and applied them as they desired. The same reasoning can be applied to a nation whose police force is perceived as not valuing the lives of its African American citizens. In time an undeclared state of lawlessness will develop and self-declared vigilantes will disseminate their own form of justice.
HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS
But in the end, nothing can lessen the pain that Darren Goforth's family is experiencing. If found guilty, Shannon Miles will die. His mother will join ranks with the many Black mothers who have buried their sons and who will continue to bury their sons. Whether the epithet on the grave reads Darren or Shannon, a state of lawlessness exist when officials do not apply the law justly.