In a recent interview with NPR, U.S. President Barack Obama said he believes the issue of race relations is surfacing “in a way that probably is healthy,” and believes there will be “progress” on those issues in 2015.
“I actually think that [the U.S. is] probably in its day-to-day interactions less racially divided. The issue of police and communities of color being mistrustful of each other is hardly new; that dates back a long time. It’s just something that hasn’t been talked about.”
Obama recently spoke out after two police officers who each killed an unarmed black man were not indicted – showing empathy with protesters while urging non-violence.
But there has been violence – and it continues to escalate. In St. Louis an attack occurred during the height of the Ferguson, MO protests in which a white man was dragged from his car and bludgeoned to death by 3 black teens carrying hammers. Local residents in the Bosnian community felt it was connected to the protests.
Less than a week later, in the same community, a similar incident involving 3 young African-American men left a white woman beaten.
Resident Michael Tallie told CBS.St.Louis he thinks much of it is racially motivated:
“I would have to say so. I think it’s just blacks taking their aggression out on anybody that’s white,” he says. “It’s bad, it’s messed up, I hate it.”
“It’s every month that Bosnians are getting killed,” another resident said. “We came here for freedom from the Serbs – to get our freedom. But now, we’re getting killed by African-Americans. That’s not fair.”
Just before Christmas two New York police officers sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn were shot at point-blank range and killed by a man who then committed suicide. The shooter is believed to have shot his former girlfriend near Baltimore before traveling to Brooklyn. He made statements on social media suggesting that he planned to kill police officers and was angered about the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases. What was especially disturbing besides the assassination style ambush attack was the sentiment of some social media users after the shooting:
Racial tensions have been high all across America, with violence in Florida and L.A. on Sunday in the form of shots being fired directly at cops. In L.A., police are searching for a gunman who opened fire on a LAPD patrol car as it drove in South Central L.A. on Sunday night. The officers, who were uninjured, returned fire, but no one was hit. In Pasco County, Florida, three shots were fired at two sheriff’s deputies as they were sitting inside their squad cars at 3:30 a.m. Sunday in Dade City.
And those aren’t lone incidents. In a year-end report issued Tuesday the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund stated that violence toward police skyrocketed in 2014:
The number of law enforcement officers shot to death in the line of duty is up by more than 50% this year, and the leading method of those shootings was ambush-style attack.
There were 50 officers killed by firearm in 2014, up from 32 the previous year. Of those 50 officers, 15 were killed in ambush attacks, the Memorial Fund said.
This isn’t a healthy situation, and beyond that it’s just sad. We are all humans first, Americans second – and whatever else we claim to be, ie. black or white, an officer or a carpenter, or even a president – comes later on down that list. You can’t kill a cop or a black teenager without killing a fellow American and a fellow human being – the two traits which trump skin color or employment status.
Young men: respect authority and if you can’t do that then at least respect a gun. If a police officer senses you’re threatening his life he has the right to shoot you to defend himself. Don’t give him that opportunity by becoming combative and belligerent.
With that I wrap up 2014 and begin a new year – but I’ll leave you with a little auld lang syne memo: I suspect 2015 is going to be a monumental year, politically, with events of epic proportions unfolding. Be prepared – many of them won’t be in the best interest of America.
Happy New Year – @_EdBrown