Tuesday, July 19, 2016

American Politics Are The Greatest of Evils

What was a field of 22 presidential candidates (five Democrats and 17 Republicans) has now been narrowed down to just two finalists with one of them in the midst of his party's convention today on July 19th, 2016. (I'm sure he was pleased to see the welcome committee.) However, I'm firmly convinced that the world is going to Hell in a hand basket when I consider how a psychopath like Donald Trump has knocked off 16 other GOP contenders and out-maneuvered scores of other people in his party who sought to stop his advance. He is now set to become his party's official nominee.

Let's face it: Donald Trump is a man who is just chock full of contradictions and conflicts. Two of his three wives including his current wife were born in Communist nations and his own grandparents immigrated to this country from Germany; but, Donald has spoken against Muslim and Mexican immigrants. He lies constantly; but, wants to sue media outlets that tell the ugly truths about him. He knows nothing about making policies; but, is applying for a job that involves much policy-making. He has praised various dictators; but, he wants to become the president of a democracy. He has said that he would instruct the military to use torture methods worse than waterboarding, in spite of the Geneva Convention. He wants to do "the head-chopping thing" that Hercules was told to quit after it didn't work against the Hydra; because, that's what ISIS does. He wants to kill the families of terrorists, though the military brass has said they would disobey such orders. What's more i that they might even stage a successful coup. Evidently, he likes to exact cruel and unusual punishments upon people -- even those who had nothing to do with the wrongs committed by their kin. Maybe his logic is that, if enough people do something often enough, then it's no longer unusual -- though it might still be cruel.

One of the less dramatic contradictions within the Trump camp is the fact that the wife of the official 2016 GOP nominee borrowed heavily from a speech made by First Lady Michelle Obama in 2008. Evidently, Melania Trump couldn't find a well-written speech that was done by a Republican first lady; so, she didn't mind reaching across the political aisle like so many politicians said they would do. Maybe Melania should be his chief adviser instead of his adult sons and daughters. She's a neat mixture of European Communism and of American, bipartisan plagiarism. She might even brief her husband on recent events in Turkey while assuring the idiot-in-chief that the attempted coup will not have a negative bearing on this Thanksgiving's feast. (Then again, the bird flu DID hit Turkey first. God's got a sense of humor.)

During her conversation with him, she should point out that Recep Tayyip Erdogan was democratically elected as president of Turkey and that he seems to promote the use of harsh tactics by government only when there is enough public support -- as was the case following the coup attempt. Similar things can be said about Vladimir Putin -- if to a lesser degree. That said, maybe she can convince him to be a bit more tactful by waiting until he's in office -- God forbid -- before unleashing his full fury. At least that would have been a smart move for a presidential candidate if he hadn't already let the cat out of the bag. All of this brings us to yet another seeming contradiction in that Donald Trump knows a lot about and even lauds various dictators; but, doesn't have time to read up on past U.S. presidents. But I must give credit where the credit is due. I have to give it to Donald for realizing that Bush 43 taking us into Iraq was indeed a mistake and that Saddam Hussein was keeping the lid on the pressure cooker -- a lid that has since been blown off and has yet to be replaced. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

In spite of his occasional foray into the realm of the sensible, any reasonable person would have to conclude that Donald Trump should not have gotten as far as he has. This says something terrible about Americans -- voting Americans for checking Trump's name at the ballot box and non-voting people for not voting. Then again, maybe America is willing to give up its freedoms in the name of security -- to reconstitute itself.

Now for the other finalist. In the eyes of many Americans, Hillary Clinton is not a much better choice insomuch as she was sending sensitive information from a personal e-mail account using a private server -- with just over 100 messages having contained classified information. That information might have gotten into the hands of America's enemies -- a group that's growing by the day. Secretary Clinton's failings might have contributed to the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya in 2012. Her recklessness pales in comparison to the fact that the Bush administration illegally deleted 5,000,000 e-mails and saw 13 American embassy attacks resulting in 60 deaths. While I, like Bernie Sanders, wish people would "shut up about the e-mails already", I can't give Ms. Clinton a pass on having voted to go to war in Iraq. Even a person who didn't foresee us igniting a powder keg should have known that it doesn't make sense to go to war with a country because you don't like the fact that they have nuclear weapons. War is when those weapons get used (the most anyway). In hindsight we can see that the Iraq War destroyed more lives than it improved and that, as Trump would tell you, it led to the creation of ISIS which gave us another reason for war.

Where does all of this leave us??? Well, if we assume that most people -- even most U.S. presidential candidates -- are good people and we complain that the two worst candidates are left out of 22, that means that one evil person eliminated four and another eliminated 16. I guess that makes evil a more powerful force than good. Maybe it just means that our political system is designed in such a way that evil prevails within it. Either way, this country's got much bigger problems than the fact that Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will end up becoming president. We've got a broken system. Even so, if I had to choose from just these two, I'd take Hillary over Trump any day. But, after her inauguration, I'd continue to push for systemic change. In the grand scheme of things, a Republican first lady plagiarizing the words of a Democratic first lady might be the best thing that has happened this campaign season.

(Note: I just learned that an unknown named Lawrence Lessig also ran as a Democratic, making for six Democratic candidates.)

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Speech To Be made in Philadelphia During the Democratic National Convention

(At events organized by activists and advocates)

I, Eric Sheptock, will be in Philadelphia, PA during the week of the Democratic national Convention. I've been asked to speak about homelessness. Though I tend to speak off the cuff, here are some thoughts that I'll convey at organized events and elsewhere while in our nation's first capital:

The Black Panther Party which celebrates its 50th anniversary this October was begun in response to police brutality in Oakland, CA in 1966. They created armed resistance to a corrupt police force; but, like Hamas, Hezbollah and Fatah, they transitioned into affording social services to the poor – namely school breakfast to Black children. They also began to teach people about the negative effects of capitalism and racial inequality. In short, they were stopped dead in their tracks by J. Edgar Hoover whose most effective tactic was having the feds to offer school meals without the ideology. The effects of discouraging the poor from doing any critical thinking still linger a half century later. That's why some of us make it a point to participate in social theory study groups and/or to encourage those who are angered by the current state of America and its treatment of the non-wealthy to do so themselves (or at least to think critically – not just emotionally – about various atrocities being perpetrated upon the poor in 2016).

Politicians who control the big guns, candidates who want to control the big guns and those who choose to ignore the fact that unarmed people who were marching across a bridge or complying with police orders were still hurt and killed by police are now telling us to remain calm and peaceful. Let's add in the fact that slavery was ended with a war. Then those who could no longer enslave Blacks resorted to Jim Crow Law. Immediately after that, Nixon began mass incarceration in 1972 only to resign a few years later in an effort not to end up in prison alongside the Blacks who were there thanks to his policies. While I'm not suggesting that Blacks today resort to violence, I AM juxtaposing what I believe are some of the most pertinent facts when discussing the plight of the nation's poor (most of whom are actually White).

1 – One of the worst and most overt forms of systemic oppression that has been perpetrated by the wealthy and influential in this country was only ended with violence – the Civil War (an oxymoron like “jumbo shrimp”, I might add).

2 – Remaining non-violent in the face of police brutality, though it might have prevented further casualties, has neither guaranteed that an encounter with police would not lead to death nor guaranteed that the issues being raised by the poor would be fully and adequately addressed.

3 – What powerful people fear the most is a well-educated base of poor and oppressed people who have a viable social theory, suitable critical thinking skills and an ability to put forth their demands with a concerted effort.

Now, as a preacher might say, “Let us prey.....on that fear”.

Here we are today confronting the same issues that the BPP was confronting in 1966 -- more than two years before my birth, two years after the death of Medgar Evers and a year and a half before the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther king, Jr. We're gathered in the shadow of the Democratic National Convention which was held in Charleston, SC in 2012 where homeless people were pushed out of extended-stay hotels in order to accommodate the convention crowd and so that hoteliers could gouge prices. However, it stands to reason that most or all of those gathered here today – including Yours Truly – are from a third party, of which there are many. Go figure. We're not here because we figure that the Democrats will do any more for the poor than the Republicans will do. After all, both major parties are part of the capitalist system. Being the movement people that we are, we all know these two things quite intuitively:

1 – Our purpose and goal is to effect positive social change irrespective of party affiliation – ours or that of the next occupant of the White House.

2 – We own whoever wins on November 8th.

You might come to this space as a homeless advocate. You might advocate for access to nutritious food. You might be fighting to preserve public housing. You might work to end one or more of our wars so that, As MLK, Jr. suggested, the money our government spends decimating other countries can be put to better use caring for the needy here at home. No matter what brings you here, we are all united in common cause against the atrocities of capitalism and to promote the creation of a system that ensures that all able-bodied people can afford the necessities of life with the pay they earn while the elderly and disabled are cared for.

I'm a homeless advocate who lives in Washington, DC where there were at least 8,350 homeless people as of January 2016. That's up 1,052 or 14.4% from 7,298 homeless people in January 2015. I might add that there was also a significant jump from 2013 when we counted 6,859 homeless people to 2014 when there were at least 7,748 homeless people in the capital of the most powerful nation on Earth.

I was bothered in June 2014 when, at the quarterly meeting of DC's Inter-agency Council on Homelessness (ICH), there was no discussion by committee members of the substantial one-year increase in homeless people – the numbers having been published in May. I became suspicious that local officials were trying to sweep their failures under the rug. The non-profit that normally does the report-out told me that they weren't asked to do their usual presentation. Go figure. To be fair, the ICH was going through a transition at the time. With all that's happened since June 2014, that matter is water under the bridge and we have bigger fish to fry – if we can ever catch them and kill them.

In 2016 a reason was given for the increase. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser who took office in 2015 changed the draconian policies of her predecessor by granting families greater access to shelter. This, in turn, led to homeless families who needed shelter before 2015 coming out of the woodwork. While I don't doubt that possibility, whether the newly homeless are entering shelter immediately after being evicted from their most recent rental or by way of Mom's couch is of less consequence than the fact that they now need shelter in the short term and affordable housing in the long term. That said, it hurts the poor any time that any government focuses on blaming the previous administration, saving face and making excuses rather than charting a path forward and figuring out how to solve a social ill. To put it another way, the government shouldn't focus too much on asking when those who present at shelter became homeless – in 2014 or 2015. They should be trying to assess the total current need – of those in shelter, those on the streets and those who are couch surfing. Government should then consider how to ensure that ALL such people are housed and that everyone has access to affordable housing – no matter what year they became homeless.

That brings me to the good news and to some ideas as to what we as a movement can do to effect the positive change that we so strongly desire and so urgently need. The first bit of good news is that DC Government, the local advocates, the non-profits and the council have begun to move in a direction that might actually end homelessness in DC by the end of 2020 – assuming that a number of things work out as predicted for the next four years. The locals there were able to develop a somewhat comprehensive plan only because of federal laws and programs such as Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), the Workforce Innovations and Opportunities Act (WIOA), Veterans' Administration Supportive Housing (VASH) and the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act. With the HEARTH Act of 2009 mandating that municipalities find ways to reduce homelessness and WIOA (which was signed by Obama on July 22nd, 2014) mandating that municipalities serve those who have barriers to employment by connecting them to living-wage jobs, this means that the Obama administration has given us something to build our demands on. The movement can find ways to leverage existing laws before demanding that our officials create better laws. Let's not reinvent the wheel.

At the same time, let's not operate under any illusion that the powers that be will readily bend to the will of the electorate. As Frederick Douglass told us, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will”. Let's use the “gunboat diplomacy” of Teddy Roosevelt who said, “Speak softly; but, carry a big stick”. The movement needs to have a threat to hold over the heads of those in power. I can think of a number of such threats. Some of them actually fall within the constraints of the law. We can start by developing a shared vision for society; but, government won't feel all that threatened by a room full of people reading and discussing Plato's Republic. We can organize; but, we may find ourselves going up against the likes of J. Edgar Hoover or Congressman Joseph McCarthy. We can show ourselves to have some staying power; but, should always be cognizant of the fact that the fire hoses and dogs of the 1960's have been replaced with militarized police forces. In any instance, I strongly believe that, no matter who wins on November 8th, those who supported the loser will partake in a rebellion which could turn into a full-on revolution. We who are already socially and politically conscience need to make sure that, when that energy is created, that it is geared toward realizing our goals and that it doesn't fizzle out until those goals have been reached. As an old man recently told me, “You've got to be ready to stand up for what you believe in; and, once you've won, you have to be prepared to hold on to what you've got”.

Are you ready???

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

BRUTAL HONESTY: Blacks Are Victims of J. Edgar Hoover and Capitalism

 Republished from 7/12/16:

Let's be BRUTALLY HONEST; lay aside any emotions and take a good, hard, rational look at what led up to the Dallas massacre. I've been thinking about it a lot and this is my second blog post on the matter in the five days since Private First Class (E3) Micah Xavier Johnson shot 12 Dallas law enforcement officers, killing five. In the minds of some -- but not all -- people he went from being a military hero to being a criminal zero when he transitioned from shooting at foreigners in Afghanistan to shooting at cops in America. Now some people are wondering why Private Johnson chose to shoot cops in a city that has not been in the national media for its police brutality and killing of unarmed Black men. I assure you that there are many in Afghanistan who still don't know why we decimated THEIR country when we didn't find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, when Osama Bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan and when most people in that country neither know nor care what the World Trade Center IS or that it was attacked. So, why is it that we glorify violence when it's perpetrated upon other countries by the U.S. military but we ostracize our soldiers when they return to stateside and kill the pillars of capitalism -- an oppressive and exploitative system that permeates the world??? (BTW, militarism is one aspect of Fascism.)

We ask "Why?" when Americans are killed; but, we blindly accept it when our military is given orders to destroy another nation in the name of American security. We call it "patriotism". Many soldiers have come back to America and spoken of the atrocities they were made to perpetrate upon innocent people (or to witness) and about how they found out that the war was not for the reasons stated by our American politicians. Private Micah Johnson's mother told media that her son had indeed made the latter claim.

Now the media is inclined to try and prove that Private Johnson was mentally ill in order to discredit his claim in an attempt to hide the ugly truth about our government's motives for going to war. While I can't speak to the issue of his mental state, it stands to reason that any mental illness that he might have suffered from began to manifest while he was deployed and possibly even as a direct result of that deployment. After all, there is documented proof that military service drives many people crazy -- making the U.S. Government something in the way of a "Frankenstein Factory" that is mass-producing monsters -- some of whom get "treatment" by way of a cop's service revolver or heavy artillery afforded to police by the military. (Hey, we can't let a perfectly good tank go to waste!!! The silver lining here is that they aren't using these tanks on FOREIGN civilians.)

If Private Johnson was indeed the military-manufactured "monster" that the media is portraying him to be, I'd have to say that he was a monster with a mind and a good point. He spoke to police negotiators for several hours. The public doesn't know the majority of what he said, though we have the DPD's biased, slanted summation. We DO know that Private Johnson was angry about the unjustified deaths by police of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and others -- MANY OTHERS. We DO know that, even if he didn't actually read THIS BLOG POST of mine, he used the sensibilities mentioned therein. After all, he spent several months preparing for July 7th. We DO know that racial tensions that have been building up for centuries and were never adequately dealt with after Jim Crow have come back to haunt us. We DO know that, even in death, Private Johnson is forcing the conversation that should have been taking place decades ago -- forcing the much-needed, difficult and long overdue conversation about racial inequality and the negative effects of Capitalism (particularly on Black Americans).

I've spoken to a number of people since the shooting and have been ever so slightly surprised at some of what I've heard. As indicated in my previous post, some people (including at least one preacher) have said, "I don't condone it; but, I understand it". People have expressed how angry they are that the media is doing so much coverage of the police officers that were killed while seeming to have forgotten about the unarmed Black men whose deaths by crooked cops were, in fact, the reasons for the Dallas Shooting. I've even heard a Caucasian man say that he had absolutely no sympathy for the police officers who died; insomuch as, they're part of a corrupt system (sometimes, I might add, falling victim to THEIR OWN carelessness and stupidity.). And, finally, I've heard folk say that a person who becomes a police officer should know that the possibility of dying in the line of duty goes with the territory -- as Ofcr. Ashley Guindon learned when she was killed by Army Staff Sergeant Ron Hamilton on her first day on the job. I'm not surprised that people are thinking this way; but rather, that they're throwing off the constraints put on our freedoms by the Patriot Act (and other incremental policy changes that somewhat underhandedly remove our freedoms) by  voicing their BRUTALLY HONEST opinions.

While I agree with all of the people whom I quoted above, I'd like to notice what those whom I don't agree with have said too. Let's bear in mind that the "Right" can be wrong and most often is, as indicated by the 2016 presidential campaign. Our most learned right-wing politicians and pundits are the ones saying that Obama instigated the Dallas massacre, that members of the Black Lives Matter Movement are like the KKK and that BLM is putting targets on the backs of police. If this is the best that the right has to offer, I'd hate to see their worst, as the Dallas massacre probably would pale by comparison.

I won't belabor the topic any longer of how hyperbolic and irrational American capitalists are; as, one needs only to watch Donald Trump or Fox News in order to get a feel for that. However, I'd like to remind people of a capitalist tactic that was used against Blacks 50 years ago and is still reaping results. The Black Panthers formed in response to police brutality in Oakland, California in 1966. Again, there was police brutality in Oakland in 1966. Then, much like Hezbollah, Fatah and other groups that have been labeled "radical" by the U.S. Government, the Black Panthers transitioned from defending an oppressed people to offering social services and programs of social uplift -- namely the "Free Breakfast for School Children" program. The Black Panthers realized that Black children weren't doing well in their studies because they weren't eating well. However, in addition to feeding the children, the Panthers were also teaching about the science of society and the negative impact of U.S. capitalism on Black Americans. J. Edgar Hoover didn't like that Black children were being taught to think critically about our society and how it holds poor people and Blacks in low regard. So, he did various things to stop the Black Panthers. J. Edgar Hoover didn't want the children to eat up the truth and the views of the BPP along with their breakfast. So, the head of a law enforcement agency began pushing for the creation of a federal school meal program. I often put forth J. Edgar Hoover's promotion of school meals sans the ideology as the worst thing to ever be done to Black Americans. Sadly, some of us continue to accept sustenance without the critical thinking -- even refusing to join a rally or protest that is meant to make known the plight of Black Americans, foster understanding and move us toward society-wide solutions. It's because people might lose their HUD housing voucher or food stamps which are being diminished anyway. They're like frogs in a pot of water that's being brought to a boil very slowly. Sad. (Exploitation evidently yields a high ROI.)

So while Dallas indeed has NOT been the scene of any high-profile killings by police in recent history, the city IS still a part of the capitalist scheme of things, not to speak of the fact that it is in proximity to Private Johnson's home. It's also safe to assume that Micah Johnson understood that all U.S. police -- even the ones who haven't murdered Black men -- are part of the corrupt system of capitalism.

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Blacks, Blues, Blasts and Blame: Shootings of Unarmed Suspects Creates Armed Resistance

 "I don't condone it; but, I understand it." 

-- Various people responding to the 7/7/16 Dallas Massacre

No sooner had I written about how "It's a madder, madder, madder, madder world" when we had a week of murders by White police of Black men who either did not have guns drawn or were even complying with orders from ofcrs. JERONIMO YANEZ and JOSEPH KAUSER. Then, fed up by White police shooting and killing unarmed Black men, MICAH JOHNSON (and possibly others) used the sniper skills afforded him by the U.S. military to kill A DOMESTIC ENEMY. Apparently, unlike American active-duty soldiers, he and any accomplices he might have had were good marksmen who didn't kill any civilians. Taken together with what we know about the DC Sniper and how he was possibly upset that he was flunked in sniper school (having only been designated an "expert shooter") or may have had a host of reasons for being upset, I suppose the military will develop a more stringent psychiatric evaluation for its sniper school candidates -- in much the same way that it developed more stringent combat readiness tests for both sexes around the same time that it opened all combat positions to women.

Military policies and practices aside, the mass shooting of 12 Dallas police officers resulting in the deaths of five on July 7th, 2016 may very well be the official start of the revolution that Gil Scott Heron told us would not be televised. It's definitely "The Big Payback". Then again, maybe the revolution began in March 2015 when dozens of Black Panthers marched through Austin, Texas with their guns drawn calling for the killing of pigs. No matter what incident or point in time you choose to put forth as the start of the revolution, the fact remains that racial tensions are extremely high and a tempest is brewing -- a tempest that government should have seen coming -- even if President Obama won't say it in no uncertain terms or clearly acknowledge that it's "Blacks" (as opposed to "a certain segment of our fellow citizenry") who are not being treated as equals.

In the two years since Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri (though he might not have been completely innocent of any wrongdoing), there have been numerous executions by White police of clearly unarmed Black men. A telling video exists showing Walter Scott being shot in the back as he ran and then showing the guilty officer planting a weapon on his corpse. But these unjustified shootings by police didn't start in 2014 -- not by any means. Let's think back to 1999 when NYC cops shot at Amadou Diallo 41 times from close range -- only hitting him 19 times -- as Mr. Diallo retrieved his wallet in an act of compliance toward the police. As Bruce "the Boss" Springsteen might say, "Same song, different verse".  What's more is that, after mortally wounding a "suspect", police often deny medical attention to their victims. This raises serious questions as to whether or not many cops even see their Black victims as humans.

All things considered, we're now beginning to see a tit-for-tat take place. Blacks see that we are being treated unfairly and killed indiscriminately by trigger-happy cops. In response, the Black Panthers have encouraged violence against cops and Micah Johnson pulled it off. Now police are on high alert and Capitol Hill was put on lock-down just hours after the Dallas massacre, though for a different and relatively insignificant reason. It's worth noting that U.S. Capitol Police have gotten and acted on word of false security threats from DC's fictional and satirical newspaper, The Onion, on multiple occasions -- much to the humor of the intelligent life forms in the city. That said, what they perceive to be a threat is not necessarily anything that would scare a rational human. Even so, police nationwide DO have logical reasons to be afraid - to be very afraid. There's no telling where the next sniper bullet will come from. That, in turn, gives Black Americans more of a reason to fear the police insomuch as those who used to kill us for the color of our skin now have a more legitimate reason for killing us -- our retaliatory violence. That leaves one to wonder when and how the madness will end. Some would say we all should take a long deep breath, calm down and talk diplomatically. I'll take things a bit further.

WE MUST HAVE THE HARD CONVERSATIONS. We must talk about the implicit bias that drives the life-altering decisions made by police, judges, employers and others in our society. The racists have become less straightforward in how they speak of Blacks. They're politically correct these days, which makes it harder to detect their racist behavior. However, the outcomes of their racist decisions are the same -- and often the outcome is an unjustified death. We need to realize that Micah Johnson was considered a hero by many Americans when he served in the military and was willing to kill non-Americans; but, quickly lost that standing with some people when he killed five officers. That said, it's not just those with badges who are determining which lives are valuable. I'll dare say that the majority of Americans value some lives more than others. It's the American way.

If we fail to have the hard conversations, we can't expect to have peace. After the 1968 riots, people calmed down. Forty-eight years later the Black race is not much better off. When Baltimore erupted into riots in 2015 following the police murder of Freddie Gray, public officials began to talk about offering economic opportunity to poor and long-neglected communities. Where did that conversation go??? As Frederick Douglass said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will." If poor and oppressed people don't stand up for themselves and hold their ground at any cost, then the powers that be will figure that they don't have to keep their word. We must organize for power, be in it for the long haul and find ways to hurt those in power. That hurt can be as simple as hitting them in the pocket as was done with the Boycotts and sit-ins of the Civil Rights Movement. But there must be some form of pain and discomfort that is imparted to the vanguards of the capitalist system who treat poor, Black people as though we were sub-human. What's more is that, if Blacks, Whites and others who have resources and privilege don't come together in an organized way that enables us to get the types of reparations that are most sensible for this day and age, then we'll just see more of these massacres of police and the tit-for-tat described above.

But let's be clear: Blacks are getting the message that White Capitalists are going to screw us one way or the other. First there was slavery. Then there was Jim Crow Law. Then there was mass incarceration and racial profiling which led to jail time. Now we aren't even making it to booking. We're being executed on the streets of America. Then, given the jurisprudence of court cases wherein the vast majority of police officers who shoot unarmed suspects are not taken to trial and fewer are convicted, it all just seems so unfair. Right??? However, this perception of unfairness can be turned into a teachable moment in that it doesn't make sense for us to apply to a system for redress of grievances when that system has never regarded our lives very highly in the first place. As we seek resolution of any matter from the oppressor, we give that oppressor another opportunity to mistreat us. So, Blacks along with our non-Black sympathizers and supporters need to put our heads together so as to devise a set of demands that causes the powers that be to feel forced to comply and we need to give them the strong impression that we won't let up -- that we'll do whatever we see fit to do in order to improve the state of the American Negro for once and for all. Let's also address the socioeconomic issues that tend to boil over into these explosive situations. Just having people calm down is not enough. It's a good first step. Let's not stop there.

Let us ensure that BLACKS are not killed unjustifiably by the boys in BLUE and vice versa. If we stop BLASTing each other, then there won't be any BLAME to go around. 

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