At Point-Blank Range
At the time of this writing, one of the top national stories is the shooting of Jacob Blake by a white police officer. Jacob Blake was unarmed and was shot seven times in the back at point-blank range in front of his children. Though all the details are still being investigated, cell phone videos clearly show that he was unarmed and not presenting a danger to police officers. (Jaclyn Peiser, 2020) Again, the details are not yet known, but from the footage, his crime appears to be walking away from police officers who did not attempt to tackle him, grab him or physically subdue him. In the video, the officer pulls on his T-shirt with one hand and puts the barrel of his pistol in Blake’s lower back and shoots him not once, not twice but seven times. At one point in the cell phone video, the one recording it screams out, “why did you shoot him so many F$#@!&% times?”! (Jaclyn Peiser, 2020) I want to be stunned. I want to be overwhelmed. But I have seen so many videos like this. Fortunately, Jacob Blake will live despite having bullets hit his spinal cord, vertebrae, stomach, intestines, kidney, and liver.
I have been writing about America’s system of policing against black people all day for the past two days, and I can’t write fast enough. I can’t write fast enough to keep up with the new names. I thought I wasn’t stunned, but I am starting to feel overwhelmed. The image that came into my mind was from a movie I watched in high school where the Nazis threw the dead bodies of executed Jews into a large trench on top of each other. Even though Jacob Blake, amazingly, is still alive, it just feels like black bodies are being piled up upon each other as they are tossed into a ditch.
No, I am not comparing the police to Nazis or equating the suffering of African Americans to suffering of Jews in the holocaust. I guess it’s just the only image that my brain had and could quickly retrieve to relate to the mounting shootings of African Americans. The image represents the way their lives are seemingly being tossed away. It feels like black people are being tossed away with total disregard for their status not only as Americans but as human beings. It’s a terrible nightmare that keeps repeating, and even though a moment ago, I thought I was desensitized to it, I am not. At times my body has pain sensations racing through it. Watching it again doesn’t make them go away; it makes it worse. Sadly, I believe too many in America are desensitized. The existence of the trench filled with black bodies doesn’t bother them as they flip the channel to watch election coverage or Coronavirus news.
In his discussion with Pastor Carl Lentz, T.D. Jakes said this about police brutality against African Americans and the changes that he would like to see:
“It's not a mystery… we want to grow old, we want to live. We want better education, we want equal access to opportunities’…The famous preacher added that he is not asking for black people to be immune from arrest, in as much as no person, regardless of race, should be treated as above the law. ‘We are just asking not to be tried on the sidewalk,’ he said. ‘That's all, just don't arrest me, try me, convict me and kill me on the sidewalk.’ (A Discussion on Racism | Carl Lentz & Bishop T.D. Jakes | Hillsong East Coast, 2020)
To drive home his point, Jakes referenced the racist mass murderer Dylann Roof who, after being arrested for shooting dead nine black people at Charleston's Emanuel AME church, was treated to a meal at Burger King by law enforcement. He added: ‘As far as I can tell, George Floyd did not get anything from Burger King, and he did not kill anybody.’” (A Discussion on Racism | Carl Lentz & Bishop T.D. Jakes | Hillsong East Coast, 2020)
Jacob Blake Shooting Video:
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