Last month America experienced the deadliest mass shooting in U.S history. A gunman known as Omar Mateen (29) pledged allegiance to the Islamic State abruptly opens fire at a prestigious crowded gay club, Pulse Night Club in Orlando leaving 53 injured and 49 left for dead. A night out for fun and drinks became a dreadful historic event that left all types of people shattered, but most of all ignited more fear amongst the population and the realization that no one is safe.
They say that time heals all wounds. While we were slowly starting to heal, we were faced with yet another problem that is becoming more common than it should. All we can say is “really, this is happening again? “.
On Wednesday, we all signed onto our Facebook accounts to see what all of our friends were up to and came across a chilling 48 second cell phone video that was recorded by an eye witness who has to live with the terrible memory of seeing 37 year old Alton Sterling take his last breath on Earth. In the horrific video we see the two Baton Rouge police officers (Blaine Salamoni and Howie Lake) screaming at Sterling to get on the ground, they then pulled him to the ground pinning him on his back and holding him to the ground. Then one of the police officers yelled, “He’s got a gun “. Within seconds, at least one officer opened fire, even though Sterling looks completely immobile. A preliminary autopsy found Sterling’s cause of death was from “multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back,” East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner William “Beau” Clark said.
People gathered Wednesday night at the site of the shooting to hold a vigil for Sterling. Many protests arose but were mostly peaceful according to local media. Music was played, and people were heard. Not even 24 hours later Philando Castile a 32 year old black man from Minnesota is fatally shot during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights. In the world of the Internet Castile’s fiancée, Diamond Reynolds, recorded the aftermath of the incident on live Facebook video. To then on Thursday night a protest in Dallas, Texas a shooting occurred where police officers were the main target.
The online sphere is circulating with utter and complete outrage and they have all the right to be. In the generation of social media many opinions have been drawn out and shared. They are calling it a murder, an assassination, even as far to compare it to a lynching. Let’s not forget to mention the primary issue being gun laws. The Department of Justice has announced that the decision to open a civil rights investigation into the Alton Sterling case.
While all opinions are not always feasible and correct, interestingly enough Fox News invited Mark Fuhrman. The infamous man who was exposed as a blatant racist during the O.J Simpson trial back in the mid 90’s and sparked national attention. Fuhrman argued that Sterling deserved his death.
Mark Fuhrman was one of the first detectives on the scene and part of the investigation of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Also being one of the officers who found most of the physical evidence, specifically the bloody glove that was found behind the guest house. Fuhrman had made a tape talking to screenwriter Laura McKinney where he is describing the background of “how cops think”. Fuhrman said on the stand that he did not use any negative racial terms to describe black people. The defense then played a tape of the recorded interview of Fuhrman and Laura McKinney where you hear Fuhrman say, “Nigger” about 40 times, as well as a whole play on racist stereotypes.
A woman told the court that he had called interracial marriage “disgusting” and said that he told her, “If I had my way I’d gather — all the niggers would be gathered together and burned.” Even though the testimony was ruled inadmissible, she went on about how he kicked and beat black suspects to relieve stress. What sticks out the most about Fuhrman is that when McKinney revealed that he used the particular term “pissed” to describe how he felt towards his partner who followed the police rules and guidelines, saying “This job rules. This is a feeling. Fuck the rules: we’ll make them up later”. Also advocating for officers shooting to kill and “shooting people in the back”.
With the everlasting evidence of overt racism and his conviction for perjury is one of the main reasons why O.J Simpson was acquitted. The cop who found the bloody glove was viewed a racist cop who didn’t seem to be above framing a black man for the crime.
While he was convicted for perjury in 1996 and sentenced only three years of probation with a fine to pay, his belief system still seems to be in shape.
“So they go there, and when you watch the escalation of force, first they verbalized, and he failed to comply with the verbal commands,” Fuhrman said. “They actually de-escalated the force that they could have used by tackling and then trying to grapple with the suspect.”
“Now, this man has to take responsibility that he did have a gun, and he conducted himself in some manner to draw attention to a citizen who called the police. And after that, the one officer, if this is the way it went down, one officer shot, one officer didn’t. When you hear, ‘He’s got a gun,’ if the other officer now uses deadly force, it’s because he believes that that gun is in the hand or is attempting to be put in the hand of the suspect.”
From the angels that were captured by the witness, Sterling does not appear to have a gun anywhere near his hands. Alton started carrying the firearm after a friend of his was mugged.
I personally am not surprised by Mark Fuhrman’s statement. Fuhrman is a frequent guest on Fox News after incidents that are racially connected to police violence and while his opinions and statements are most of the time blatantly unjustifiable. He is just digging himself a bigger hole when blaming Sterling for his own death. People like Fuhrman do not deserve to be on a major cable news network; this is his platform to try to make sense of something that is utterly wrong and his only adding more dash of poison to the system even more.
The most significant thing that stands out to me about this case is that Louisiana is an open carry state which refers to the practice of “openly carrying a firearm in public”, without it being seen by others. Gun laws and the right to bear arms has become a critical issue that we have been faced with and are finally starting to realize the destructive matters that are circulating in every shape and form. So in a state where it is known that civilians carry firearms, what raises the big question is, were these officers well equipped to handle a situation like this? Probably not.
In today’s day and age we are being faced with the most radical social issues more frequent than any generation has endured in quite some time. While that may not be seemingly true it’s evident that everyone is a reporter behind a screen, posting and reposting everything they encounter with these issues and adding a little more flare to the fire. Which is why these social/political issues are exploited and we are finally seeing past the veil. The idea that no one is safe regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, religion and race is something we all as people need to consider a social factor. The real question is am I safe anywhere?
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