It seems now that any African American dies in the vicinity of a police officer a series of media vultures are circling ready to pick over the body and begin bleating propaganda.
Who made you the spokesperson of our family?
We just want to bury our nephew with dignity and respect.”
-Hertencia Petersen, Akai Gurley’s aunt.
Details about this death are very brief at this stage, too brief to pass judgement in any direction. But none the less, Rev Al Sharpton wanted to grandstand over the death for media and political capital.
So lets state a few things to begin with to attain some perspective. The 2nd amendment of the US constitution promises the right to bear arms, many US citizens choose to exercise this right. The wording of the amendment makes it very clear the purpose of this amendment was to preserve freedom of the people from tyranny.
Of course no right is free or without cost or sacrifice.
As the result of a population who routinely carry hand guns as a matter of course there will be accidents. In the USA there are 2000 accidental gun deaths per year. An example of a pure accident is this: A woman walks into a bar with a revolver in her hand bag, she drops the hand bag on the bar and the revolver goes off, the bullet shoots through the bag and hits the bartender in the forehead killing him instantly. Completely unintentional, completely unpredictable, utterly freak accident.
While gun ownership is very high in the USA, the use of guns in murders is proportionally quite low because most people who use guns know the odds of winning handgun fight are about 50%. Risking your life on a the flip of a coin is insane; even in Russian roulette you have an 85% chance of winning. While the person you are pointing a handgun at may not be armed, many bystanders probably are armed and will be exonerated in a court for defensive homicide.
But this dead leads us to another controversial concept, should the police even have guns at all, maybe we would be better served by an armed population and unarmed police. Police were initially unarmed when police forces were first established.
While a pure accident is a possibility, there are several other factors, an inexperienced cop seeing two figures approach, a poorly light area, a black neighborhood, mistaken identity, at this stage who knows if there was malice or racism as factors. What we do know is a young man is dead, his life ended, and another young man has a huge cloud hanging over the rest of his life. So it is a double tragedy, one that you would probably never hear of because it does not allow itself to be ‘shoehorned’ into fit a specific political agenda.
There is only one thing worse than losing an innocent loved one, and this is politicians feeding on your loss and grief for their own benefit.