Saturday, March 31, 2018

What Does it Mean to Learn on Good Friday That Sacramento Police Shot Stephon Clark 7 Times in Back?

Don Thompson and Sophia Bollag at TPM

What does it mean to read this report on Good Friday?

What does it say to those who are believers in Jesus that this report was released on the day Christians remember Jesus' execution as the lowliest of criminals, execution by capital punishment, at the hands of an unjust, ruthless empire?

What does the juxtaposition of Stephon Clark's story with Jesus' story this Good Friday say to us?

What does it say about the meaning of Easter?

We have to ask these questions if Good Friday and Easter — cross and resurrection — mean anything at all to us.

It's easy to connect the dots after an attack. A radicalized white man commits murders. Investigators dive into his past. The dots emerge in the clarity of hindsight. In the interests of preventing future attacks, though, we need a clear understanding of how white terrorism works in this country. While not organized by some kind of hierarchical conspiracy or secret cabal, these discrete acts of violence are part of a systematic campaign to terrorize and divide Americans. What's worse, it's working. . . . 
When hundreds of "lone wolves" are reading the same websites, talking to each other, consuming the same stories, picking up easily accessible weapons, and killing the same targets, they have become a pack.

Kashana Cauley, "A Culture of Violent White Guys": 

In America white guys receive lots of signals—from the news, from their communities, from elected leaders—that violence might be an acceptable answer to their troubles. People of other colors and non-Christian faiths don't.

Crystal Mason was just sentenced five years in prison for unknowingly committing voter fraud by voting in the 2016 election. The 43-year-old mother of two had just been released from a 3-year sentence for tax fraud and was on parole. At no point did her parole officer or anyone at the state or local level tell her she couldn’t vote. She didn’t know and now she’s going to prison for it. 
Yet, in three other cases of voter fraud, no one went to jail.

If we do not connect Stephon Clark with Good Friday it is because we are somehow unable or unwilling to detect the similarity between the slaying of Jesus and the slaying of Stephon Clark, Alton Sterling, Philando Castille, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Jr., Amadou Diallo, Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice, Eugene Ellison, and so many other black, brown, and poor white unarmed persons by the armed and militarized agents of political, commercial, religious, and cultural empire.  If we do not connect the assassination of Dr. King with Good Friday, we are not likely to connect the slaughter of Stephon Clark and so many others with Good Friday.  Like Jesus and Dr. King, people like Stephon Clark have been slain after being hounded, spied on, and threatened by armed and militarized agents of political, commercial, cultural, and religious empire.  

We have to ask ourselves — if Good Friday and Easter have any real meaning in the real world — precisely why it is that the moral monstrosity is now in the White House? And why did a majority of white U.S. Christians vote for him? And why do those same white Christians not really want to talk about why this man is in the White House — or about all of above? 

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