Blog post, Politics

Law isn’t the same as Good

Black lives matter.

This doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter. It means that they are being harmed in ways that other lives are not, that they are being killed, murdered, incarcerated in ways that others are not.

I see and hear other white folks saying “let the law handle it” and “the legal system will take care of it.” The problem with “let the law take care of it” regarding police brutality toward people of color is that the law isn’t taking care of it. The police are supposed to represent the law, enforce the law, and protect people, but they are not doing that, especially with the black community. They haven’t been for decades, centuries, since white people landed on these shores.

What are we supposed to do when the law isn’t protecting us? What are we supposed to do when the law ignores fellow law enforcement officials who take advantage of their positions of power, and who abuse those without that same power? When the law doesn’t protect you, will you sit passively and tolerate it? When the law apprehends a white mass murderer, but shoots to kill an unarmed black teenager, do you think that the legal system is handling it? When cops let fellow cops get away with murder, is the legal system handling it?

Where is the justice for Trayvon Martin, and Mike Brown, and Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice? Did the legal system protect them, or avenge them, or change law enforcement practices? I see white folks saying “I support protest, but not the looting,” what that means is “black lives and safety are worth less than physical property that can be replaced.”

Is destruction of property okay when it’s revenge for an affair? Like the woman in that Carrie Underwood song “Before He Cheats” who destroys her ex’s truck. Was that justified? Was that acceptable? If that happened to your friend or loved one, would you cheer them on and maybe even in join in, because he cheated and hurt her feelings, so he totally deserved it?

Is theft and looting okay when you’re upset about taxes from a British king, and you want to steal his cannons or dump his tea into the Boston Harbor? Were the Boston Massacre and Boston Tea Party acceptable riots?

Was Jesus wrong when he went into the temple and flipped tables and forced people out? In John 2:13-16: “13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”

Did the legal system handle it when it was against the law to shelter and aid Jewish people and other oppressed minorities in Nazi Germany? Did the legal system handle it when women were property? When black people were property? When same-sex couples could not marry? None of these changed without protest, riots, or war. Not to mention the land and lives that were stolen from indigenous people after Christopher Columbus landed here; the legal system still has not “taken care of” our native people, and in fact allows the government to continue taking from them. So when you say that you “support the cause but not the riots,” you are failing to recall that nothing changes in the world, especially in the United States, without riots, and sometimes without war. When you say that “they should protest peacefully,” you are ignoring the fact that they have already done that. Colin Kaepernick has been taking a knee for years. MLK protested peacefully and he was still assassinated. Rosa Parks sat in a seat, and white people still threw a fit.

What would you do? What would you do if you asked, pleaded, and shouted, but you were still ignored, and even harmed for it? Because the black community and other people of color have been doing that for decades and centuries. In this country, you have to hit oppressors where it hurts; their money and property. Capitalism at its finest.

In the United States, law enforcement would rather shoot black people over petty crimes, or no crime at all, but apprehend and bring in living white men who opened fire in schools and churches. That is our legal system, and that is how the law “is handling it.” To this day, George Zimmerman, the man who murdered Trayvon Martin, has gone to gun shows and made public appearances, tried to sell the weapon he killed Trayvon with on eBay, and as of December 2019 was trying to sue the Martin family. Darren Wilson, the man who murdered Mike Brown, raised thousands of dollars on Go Fund Me because racists were proud of him for killing a black teenager. This is how white police officers are treated after they murder unarmed black teenagers.

If you’re so keen on the law, then consider this: if a few businesses and cars are damaged in the process of demanding police reform and racial justice, then what are you so upset about? Let your insurance cover it. File a claim. Businesses can get new merchandise. We can’t bring back George Floyd. We can’t bring back Breonna Taylor.

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