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Will black, brown bodies ever matter?

Stricter gun laws, better police needed

By Cheryl Daniel, editor-in-chief
On November 1, 2019

NEW ORLEANS (October 31, 2019) -- A 28-year-old black woman was shot in her home earlier this month by a Forth Worth police officer on the heels of the conviction and sentencing of another Texas police officer for shooting a man in his own apartment that she said she thought was hers.

When will these atrocities end? Why is there more public outcry when not only are African Americans not safe to walk and drive while black, now we can’t even hunker down in safety in our very own homes.

Atatiana Jefferson, a Xavier University graduate who wanted to be a doctor, was shot to death after being interrupted while playing video games with her young nephew.

Forth Worth police issued a statement that the officer was dispatched to the home because a neighbor reported the front door was open. While searching outside the home, the officer noticed a figure in the window and, “Perceiving a threat the officer drew his duty weapon and fired one shot,” the statement said.

When will black and brown people be safe? Time and time again, I see innocent black and brown people gunned down.

If I go to church, it appears I must watch my back as the choir sings about divine intervention. If I go home and eat ice cream, I apparently have to triple-check my bulletproof locks on my front door. If I want to exercise my right to assemble in peaceful protest, I obviously have to wear a bulletproof vest.

The so-called patriotism supporters of Second Amendment blandish has gotten out of hand. Why does someone need a machine rifle in their possession? It is a weapon meant to kill, not hunt. If used to hunt, it is to hunt black bodies. And why isn’t there an outcry for more police training (and serious assessment of applicant’s mindset)?

Jefferson was the last straw. She was tending to her nephew when her life was taken from her. Police said they found a weapon in the house, but does that justify the officer's right to take her life? She had a right to have a gun, and critics point to reports of her gun as another “blame the victim” tactic.

Police officers are supposed to be trained to protect citizens in society. They are supposed to be trained to de-escalate situations. Of course, it would appear this only applies if you are white and privileged. Seriously, would an officer shoot first and then ask questions in an upscale, white neighborhood? I think not. We never see those kinds of stories. So the question is why is this acceptable?

When will the National Rifle Association, police departments and people of influence be held accountable for the innocent black bodies?

Stricter gun laws must be implemented to stop the massacre of our black and brown bodies. And more training must be required for police officers.

In 2019, 717 fatal police shootings were reported in the nation, according to the Washington Post, and 148 of them were black. That’s 21 percent. Since African-Americans comprise 12 percent of the populace, something’s wrong with this picture.

Eyes are not just on the police, but on anyone who owns a gun and has a fear of black and brown people. This fear is stemmed from thoughts of inferiority and prejudices.

Nothing is fearful about a young black boy playing with a Nerf gun in his front yard or a young brown boy buying Skittles with a hoodie on. Nothing is wrong with sitting in your own home eating ice cream with a defective door lock, or baby-sitting your nephew while playing video games.

I fear for the lives of the next generation of black and brown children. We must demand change.

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