Americans will be grappling with a number of sensitive and critical issues throughout 2014 and beyond.  Some new, some old and some never-ending – concerns about race, religion, violence, politics, guns, climate change, war and civic responsibility are just some of the issues that may polarize all or segments of the nation.  We The People will bring awareness to different viewpoints in the hopes of educating its readership.  Please be encouraged to join in and share your perspective.

An Open Letter to Americans

In the last several days the headlines in the National News has caused me to be deeply concerned about whether America  has really progressed from the 1960’s. In this age of social media, one would think that people would be more conscious about how they behave in the public eye.  Furthermore, I would have thought that those who are charged with protecting us as a community would in fact do what they have been hired to do. However, the opposite seem to be the case as we look back on what has transpired in the last year or so:

  • Travon Martin – in Florida (stand your ground law) wherein an un-armed teenager was killed by an armed resident who was instructed by a 911 Officer not to pursue the teenager – and yet the armed man was acquitted of all charges.
  • A 12-year-old boy (T. Rice) with a toy gun was shot dead by the police in Cleveland, Ohio. It was also reported that the gun was a toy!
  • Michael Brown (18 yrs. old) another un-armed teenager was shot to death by police– Ferguson, Missouri.
  • Eric Garner, also an un-armed man (43 years old) was choked to death by police for allegedly selling tax-free cigarettes – New York
  • John Crawford – shot and killed by police, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Ezell Ford who was a mentally challenged man was killed by police in Los Angeles, Ca.
  • Sean Bell was killed by police as he left his bachelor party – the police shot 50 times into the car that he was riding in and no weapon was ever found in this case as police had indicated that’s way they opened fire – New York
  • Patrick Dorismond an off duty Security Guard was fatally killed by police by an undercover Cop  – New York
  • Amadou Diallo was shot 41 times by police because they thought he had a gun – no gun was ever found – New York
  • Dante Parker died while in police custody in Victorville, CA.
  • And last but certainly not lease – was the beating of brother Rodney King, I still can’t see how his beating was ruled legal!

In all of the above incidents by police there are two things that caused this individual to have an extremely visceral reaction – (1) all of those who were killed where black males and (2) all of the police were white males and they were all acquitted!  Now most intelligent people would have to ask the question, why?   Should the police around the country serve and protect us. Most of the police cars that I have seen have that statement on the side of their police cars. It doesn’t seem like it in the above situations that any protecting or serving took place.  Now I haven’t read every account of other males (whites) who have encountered police in similar situation as listed above and by the same token I have not seen news coverage of white males being gunned down by white policemen and I am sure that would be news worthy, right?  Then why, I would ask, does this outcome seem to be so very pervasive in black communities? Maybe I am not watching the right news networks (e.g. CNN, local and national news stations, etc.).

I have the following questions of those that represent the legal process in this great nation of ours:

  • Why is the Grand Jury processed used versus a regular trail? It didn’t seem to be utilized in the now infamous O.J. Simpson case.
  • Why isn’t there a clear definition of “excessive force” especially when it pertains to black life and in particular regarding black men.
  • Why are black communities predominately policed by white officer? I can say that I have never seen or heard of a predominately white community being policed by majority black police or any other minority group. And the funny thing is that they are all trained by the same police academies.
  • Why is it not mandatory for police departments around the country to report police involved shooting? It’s my understanding that this is only done on a voluntary basis. It would seem to me that this type of data would be vitally important to capture and would support more awareness at all levels of accountability (e.g. federal, state, cities, etc.)
  • Why doesn’t the Federal level of the Justice system make the above mentioned reporting mandatory?

Finally, W.E B. Dubois said in the eighteenth century that the problem of the 21st century would be that of the color (racial) line in America.  We all know that America has a hideous history when it comes to the treatment of black people in particular and in general people of color. Now before some of you say that was in the past – please make note that there are still systemic remnants of racism in this great country of ours. I know this first hand as my son was killed in 1994 by a white Aryan nation member. Furthermore, Michelle Alexander in her very comprehensive best seller – clearly documents the new Jim Crow system in America that must be actively addressed by all those concerned – especially within the law enforcement arena.  The bottom line is this – until America comes face to face with her history, she will continue to repeat it! And I for one know that this isn’t a legacy that we can afford to leave to the generations that will follow.


Ronald S.

A concerned African / Black American


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One Comment on “WE THE PEOPLE”

  1. H. Lewis Smith Says:

    Poignant, compelling description of uncomforting signs of the times, and if it’s any comfort at all Ronald, just know that your son is in a better and peaceful place.


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