Friday, September 5, 2014

Compare/Contrast: A Black Man Carrying a Steak Knife Confronts Police; A White Man Carrying a Gun Confronts Police

I recently wrote that the critically important question the Ferguson, Missouri, story is asking us is this:
Who has the right to do what to whom?

As Rachel Maddow said when the protests at Ferguson got underway, imagine how the people cheering the police in Ferguson would have behaved during the Cliven Bundy standoff if the self-appointed militiamen aiming their guns at federal officers in Wyoming had been black men and not white men.

And now Heather Digby Parton asks the following question: 

What do you suppose would happen to an agitated, belligerent African-American man wandering around on the street in his pajamas yelling at people, waving a gun around and telling police to shoot him? 

As Digby points out, we know very well what St. Louis police did when Kajime Powell was standing on a street corner last month waving a steak knife, shouting, and asking to be shot: within 15 seconds after they arrived on the scene, two policemen shot Powell dead.

Powell was a black man.

As Digby says, compare/contrast how twelve police in Kalamazoo, Michigan, recently treated a drunken "open-carry" advocate walking around town waving a gun and raving, demanding to be shot. 

white man . . . .

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