SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Two recent shootings of African Americans by police have sparked fresh ire across cities in the South, fueling tense protests and riots. The spate of officer-involved fatalities, many of them dubiously rationalized and almost always targeting members of the black community, remains a disturbing trend. Because this election season is heating up, both presidential candidates understand the need to address the issue and propose remedial actions. Donald Trump, in a rare critique of law enforcement, condemned the September 16 shooting in Tulsa. He then announced his campaign’s alliance with the Southern Caucasians Urban Minority Mission (SCUMM), which teaches black Americans to prevent violent confrontations with racist police officers and NRA members. “Through this initiative, my administration will help keep blacks from provoking cops,” he told reporters.
Trump “Troubled” by ShootingsAfter reviewing video footage of Tulsa police killing Terrence Crutcher, Trump described himself as “very troubled” by the events.
“To me it looked like somebody who was doing what they asked him to do,” Trump said. “This young officer, I don’t know what she was thinking, but I’m very, very troubled by that. I’m very, very troubled by that.”
The Republican presidential candidate went on to repeat the phrase “I’m very, very troubled by that” for 19 minutes. After, he praised law enforcement and called for compassion, spending another 11 minutes explaining how troubled police officers are in these encounters, knowing that at any moment an unarmed black person could appear, forcing them into the tragic moral dilemma of taking another human being’s life.
“Look at it from the police officer’s perspective,” Trump pleaded. “If I walk you into a room full of blacks and I told you just three would kill you, would you go in there and invite them all over for supper? Maybe one of those burrito bowls my Mexicans at Trump Tower make? Or do you err on the side of caution and open fire? That’s our Black Lives Matter problem.”
“I don’t want the black community getting the wrong message here,” he added. ‘I’ve met a couple of blacks. They seem like great people. They carry my bags at the airport and clean the sheets in my hotels. Now, great people, you always have problems. You have somebody in there that makes a mistake that’s bad, or that chokes.”
The Disturbing and Growing Trail of Dead Black BodiesBased on data compiled from the Fatal Encounters project, approximately 673 African Americans were killed in a hail of police gunfire between 2013 and 2014. But even that figure remains a conservative estimate, as nobody knows precisely how many Americans are slaughtered by frightened patrolmen each year. Criminal justice experts point out that while the federal government and national research groups track mortality figures for unprovoked shark attacks, no reliable data exist to calculate the exact number of innocent people butchered by aggressive police officers.
For those not closely following current events, it’s safe to say that 2014 went out with a bang -- in fact, several bangs from standard issue police firearms. Many are aware of the August killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Some recollect the poignant video of a trooper in Billings, Mont., drawing down on an unarmed brown victim during a routine traffic stop in April, then bawling and pounding his fists in agony over what he had done. It marked officer Grant Morrison’s second killing of an unarmed man in as many years, and he was likely crying over the possibility of disciplinary action.
Two years later, little has changed.
September 16. Tulsa, Oklahoma. An unarmed black man walks along a road at evening time. Police officers follow closely behind, quietly pursuing and observing. Two 911 calls have summoned them to this spot, each reporting an abandoned vehicle blocking traffic. One caller informed dispatch that the driver was fleeing, warning that his car might explode. Dashboard-mounted video cameras from the police cruiser show the man, 40-year-old Terrence Crutcher, approaching his vehicle. He stands beside his car with his hands in his pockets. An officer exits her cruiser and politely asks Crutcher to remove his hands. He complies, raising his arms above his head. A shot rings out. Crutcher collapses to the ground, dead.
September 20. Charlotte, North Carolina. An unassuming apartment complex called the Village at College Downs. Keith Lamont Scott, 43, waits in his parked car for his son to return from school. Police officers arrive on scene to serve an arrest warrant, but it was not intended for Scott. The person they were attempting to take into custody was not the 43-year-old father sitting in his vehicle.
“Officers observed a subject inside a vehicle in the apartment complex,” began the police narrative in their press release. “The subject exited the vehicle armed with a firearm. Officers observed the subject get back into the vehicle at which time they began to approach the subject.”
Deemed an imminent threat, officers shot Scott.
The community narrative, supported by some witnesses, was that Scott was armed with a book -- perhaps a deadlier weapon in a community that conservatives prefer to control by ignorance. John Barnett, a local civil rights activist, made an interesting point: “The truth of the matter is, [Scott] didn’t point that gun. Did he intend to really sit in a vehicle, waiting on his son to get home from school and then plot to shoot a cop if they pulled up on him?”
Police officials, community leaders and advocates for the cessation of violence toward African Americans will continue to argue their positions. The real-world consequences are that two more men have perished at the hands of peace officers. And this Wednesday -- following a turbulent night of unrest, property destruction and belligerent clashes between protesters and police -- the citizens of North Carolina’s largest city remain rattled as a town on edge braces for more upheaval.
Trump’s Plan to Help Blacks Avoid Provoking PoliceIn addition to mounting numbers of police shootings, incidents of suicide among black youths have doubled, according to CDC research. The study’s lead author attributed the problem to several factors: increased exposure to violence and traumatic stress, early onset of puberty and depression. “Basically,” he explained, “the closer black youngsters get to reaching their teenage years, the more likely they are to die at the hands -- and gun barrels -- of white police officers. So, that could account for the increased exposure to violence, depression and so forth.”
Trump says his administration will tackle the problem head on, while a Clinton presidency would exacerbate the situation by singling out shortcomings and corruption within the nation’s police agencies.
The Trump proposal would help African Americans overcome negative perceptions, stereotypes and misunderstandings through a system of “peaceful reintegration to America’s majority culture,” as opposed to demonstrations, protests, acts of defiance or other seemingly hostile expressions. By partnering with the Southern Caucasians’ Urban Minority Mission (SCUMM), Trump feels he can solve the brewing crisis by teaching black citizens to “find their proper places in society,” which will end violent confrontations with racist police officers.
“Jesus is the example we want our kids to follow,” explained Bob Pallor, who will head the initiative with SCUMM on behalf of Trump. “Here was a man who espoused tolerance and acceptance of those who were different than him -- who knew the wisdom of turning the other cheek and remaining meek, not battling institutions or inciting rebellions.”
To demonstrate the Trump campaign’s commitment, Pallor provided examples of useful advice that SCUMM is currently distributing throughout black communities:
• Avoid convenience stores situated in neighborhoods, street corners, gas stations or near your county’s borders. Make all purchases at well-lit supermarkets or retailers, such as Target or Walmart.
• Obey all traffic and pedestrian transit laws, particularly in areas with a heavy police presence.
• Be sure to identify any object that could be perceived as a weapon to police officers when detained for questioning: this especially includes candy, soft drinks, salty snacks, magazines, eye glasses and tobacco products.
• Do not intentionally arouse suspicion by brandishing intimidating, ethnic or defiant items. This may include colorful Rastafarian apparel, Black Lives Matter t-shirt or books.
• ALWAYS carry a readily available white flag to indicate surrender when police are near. Waving your arms, stepping away, laying on the ground with your hands over your head, or trying to articulate your compliance with words or actions can easily be construed as aggression by police.
• Avoid wearing clothes that could imply gang affiliation, such as t-shirts, caps, jeans or athletic shoes.
• Try not to cry out, wince, groan or call for help during a police-initiated beating. These are all vocalizations that can be interpreted as resistance.
• Explain in clear, concise, enunciated sentences -- with no traces of accents or dialectical inflexions -- that you are a tax-paying member of the community and would prefer not to get shot. Be prepared to provide supporting identification.
“These are just the first small steps toward a larger goal of peace,” Pallor said on behalf of Trump. “Together, we will make America great again. Even the black parts of it.”
(c) 2016. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. All articles are works of satire. See disclaimers.