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.
The headline really does not say much in itself, but there is much meaning that one can infer from it.
Firstly if you hear the term ‘Peshmerga’ this is the Kurdish word for ‘soldier’ effectively meaning Kurdish army.
This is the Kurdistan flag:
For the hard line cynic there is the fact that western nations will struggle to accommodate the number of refugees that might flood out of Kurdistan and other areas fighting ISIS (aka IS, ISIL).
So it would make more sense economically for that fledgling oil state to not be conquered, especially my the murderous fanatics of ISIS.
The knowledgeable cynic might also note the USA stayed out of WW2 (for years) by sending military and other supplies to Brittan and its empire to fight Nazi Germany.
A nationalist cynic would likely prefer to lose gun in the middle east than our own troops.
A humanitarian cynic might note that the Geneva convention is being ignored by ISIS and civilians right to live without persecution in Kurdistan (and neighboring areas) is under serious threat.
An cynic aware of current ISIS tactic might note that ISIS are a highly mobile ground force using flat deck utes ( trucks) and SUV’s to transport troops and light artillery and AA, so as such they can strike with remarkable speed, and a civilian’s only real defense is to start shooting to slow the advance.
Geo-politically aware cynics might note that the region of Kurdistan (on the borders of Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran) controls significant proportions of Iraqi oil, and what we are seeing is a balkanization of Iraq and to some extent the wider middle east with blurry allegiances (and borders) based on religion, ethnicity and tribal affiliations.
Historically aware cynics would note that Iraq was a state manufactured by Brittan to join together the Kurds ( of mixed faiths) in the north (who had the oil) the Shia ( minority sect of Islam popular in Iran) in the center and the Sunni’s (majority sect of Isalm) in the south where the British could control the flow of oil through the port of Basra.
Cynics who are knowledgeable in the oil trade will know the entire region is full of oil, and the different fresh water sources, oil wells, pipelines, ports and shipping lanes are extremely contentious in term of who controls them.
The energy security of many nations depends on the flow of oil both where its flowing to and where its flowing from. There is reason they call it ‘black gold’.
*this map is from 2013 as Kurdistan began as a state and prior to the formation of ISIS. Borders may have changed and are indicative only as a rough guide to the region. Kurdistan’s first major victory over ISIS just days ago left Kurdistan in control of Mosul an important dam and fresh water source.
It is ironic that the Australian government not only manufactures assault rifles and is willing to give them to foreigners, but not to their own people, who are largely unarmed in their own country.
As a final note the guns are not really a gift, there will be demands for oil from Kurdistan in the future.
Perhaps the fluidity of power struggles is the nature of the desert, the sand itself shifting endlessly in dunes and ergs.