Where do we go, from here?

Earlier I received multiple posts from my friend, Paul, in Tokyo. We were, not really discussing, but giving sort of a stream-of-consciousness communication concerning all that has taken place in the U.S. during the past 48 hours.

These are the police shooting of Alton Sterling, three hours east of me, in Baton Rouge; the Minnesota shooting by police of Philando Castile and the sniper shootings of police officers in Downtown Dallas that left five officers dead and more than a half-dozen wounded.

Chicago police drag  student protesters away during the 1968 melee during the Democratic  Party convention.
Chicago police drag student protesters away during the 1968 melee during the Democratic Party convention.  Govt. and Fair Use of photo.

Sterling and Castile were both black and were killed by white officers. The five officers killed in Dallas were white. The suspect in the mass shooting, who was killed by a robot-delivered bomb blast, was black. Police said the shooter wanted to kill whites.

I haven’t seen all that took place in the encounters in which the two separate victims were killed by police. I wasn’t able to make out much of the Baton Rouge killing. Hopefully, the place where Sterling was outside of and was killed will have surveillance cameras.

The fallout from these killings led to a number of peaceful protests around the country, including one in Dallas that was ending and was interrupted by the sniper.

Only a bit ago I talked by a video message with Paul, some 6,700 miles across the globe. We spoke of how this bloodshed seems to be intersecting at many different lines. These lines are black and white, police, guns, terrorism. Perhaps even religion may be thrown into these intersections: Christians, Muslims or rather in some minds, Christian versus Muslims and Muslim versus Christian. Such a wide net is,  of course stupidity.

The question, the billion-dollar one, is that where do we go from here? The same questions were asked nearly 45 years ago as the Vietnam War was on the downward slide. Listen to the link, sung and written by Peter Cetera, bass player for the venerable band Chicago on its second LP.

The National Rifle Association, the organization that wants even terrorists to purchase weapons in the U.S. did its usual bullshit.

Some organizations such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Nation of Islam are asking for a boycott of a Baton Rouge mall and local Wal-Marts to pressure business leaders to charge the two officers who were involved in the Alton Sterling killing:

“Until we get justice, we’re going to call on all of the people … any person who loves justice to stand with us in this selective buying campaign and hurt them where it hurts the most, get their attention where it gets their attention the most,” The Rev. Reginald Pitcher, leader of the SCLC, said.

 “And I declare that if we do that, the Chamber of Commerce will say this, ‘If we got to sacrifice those two to keep the peace, then so be it.’”

Of course, Donald Trump will make his hard line with little knowledge of people who either are police officers or the black people of America.

By the way, I have owned and shot guns since an early age. Two of my late brothers were cops. One retired after more than 35 years as a police officer. My nephew is a police officer. One niece is a police dispatcher. That same niece and her sister are both officers in their local volunteer fire department. I was a firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician and had many friends, some of whom I still communicate, who are or were law enforcement officers. Several of my police friends are black. I have had white friends who were outlaws.

I say that because I am not trying to take any particular side. I don’t know what it is like being black and being stopped by police for no reason other than their skin color. I know some of the stories my black friends told me about being stopped by white police officers in East Texas. One black friend talked about this former local cop, known as a hard ass and more, who would stop my friend’s car and he would take a micrometer and see how much tread was on my friend’s tires. Interestingly enough, a guy I knew who owned a gun store told me this cop had been discovered by hunters, as this policeman was seen wearing full Nazi SS regalia. At one point, this cop even had a life-sized replica of a Nazi tank.

Yes, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain, to be metaphorical. Are we going back to the 60s? Might as well break out the reefer if we have to put up with such crap. I have no idea where do we go from here. I hope someone does know. If so, will you let us know?


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