Jacob Blake. A Black man.
Shot eight times by police.
At close range.
In the back.
In full view of three horrified children.
Incredibly, he’s still alive, though paralyzed from the waist down, perhaps permanently.
And the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, are filled with the now familiar sights and sounds of anger and frustration, manifested in protests, rioting and destruction of property.
I don’t, by any means, condone the violence that has occurred since Blake’s shooting.
But I can’t condemn it, either.
Because there’s no way I could say I would react any differently if I was a Black man in America.
Jacob Blake is yet another name to add to the ever-growing roster of Blacks being shot, and usually killed, by the police. Add the strangulation of George Floyd to the list, and it’s hard not to understand why the outcry for justice is so passionate as to spill over into acts of violence.
And all our government is interested in is maintaining law and order, i.e., shutting down the protests. Why not address why they’re protesting in the first place? Why not act to prevent all this excessive force used by police? Why not acknowledge the undercurrent of racism in the history of law enforcement?
No, we’ve got to crack down on these protesters, instead. Great, that’ll solve the problem.
I can’t possibly understand the fear Black people live in every day in this country. Knowing that one wrong move, even a perceived one, can get them killed.
That’s why I can’t just judge them for their reaction whenever one more of them gets added to the list of victims.
Even when the only attention it gets is riot squads and tear gas.
Blake family, I’m sorry for what happened. I’m sorry those three boys were eyewitnesses to it, and forever will be in their memory.
I’m not sorry somebody got video of it on his cellphone. Would America have ever known what happened otherwise?
Justice, and peace, require effort from all of us. Now is the perfect time.
“With Liberty and Justice for all,” it says in our Pledge of Allegiance. It’s long past time for that to be a reality.