Opinion by Philip Smith – President National African American Gun Association.
USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- I am afraid I won't have to write a commentary from scratch this month.
I momentarily thought I was going to get an opportunity to have a light hearted and spirited discussion on some basics of firearm use relating to “muscle memory” or possibly revisiting the best tool for home defense debate between “shotgun vs handgun”. I even thought about writing about men vs women trying to determine what gender is the better shooter. But all those hopes have been crushed with another black man being shot and killed while doing his job in a legal and honorable way. Jemel Roberson is a security guard who was shot and killed while doing his job protecting the public.
The story is as follows:
Roberson was working at Manny’s Blue Room Bar, in Robbins, Illinois, when security personnel asked a group of men to leave following an argument. Soon after, at least one man returned to the bar and began shooting, injuring some of the people in the bar. Security returned fire and Roberson detained the man.
Roberson “had somebody on the ground with his knee in back, with his gun in his back, like, ‘Don’t move,’” witness Adam Harris
When officers from the Robbins and Midlothian police departments arrived, one officer opened fire, killing Roberson. According to witness statements given to local outlets, the officer fired even as witnesses told them to stop.
“Everybody was screaming out, ‘Security!’ He was a security guard,” Harris said.
This hurts all of us deep down in the black community and is an attack on our “Humanity” as a people. Another good brother who won't be able to see his life realized…no kids…no birthdays…and no future. It was all ended with one pull of a trigger.
To be balanced I understand the immense pressure Police Officers have to deal with. They arrive on scene after scene on a daily basis and they have only seconds to decide. I have a lot of friends who are Police Officers…I get it they have a really difficult job that I wouldn’t want to do. I have ongoing conversations with many, especially when speaking about police shootings. In most cases, we don’t agree but we do have enough respect for each other, to be honest and give reasons for our differing views. Mostly we “agree to disagree but not disconnect”. I say all this to say I am pro-law enforcement all the way, but the current legal system is built with some serious shortcomings that is directly affecting our community that must be addressed.
At this point I am tired of crying, tired of the verdicts that continually come down against us, tired of the lack of fairness in the judicial system, tired of the “marches”, tired of the riots, tired of preachers praying for peace, tired of the carefully crafted politically correct responses in print and TV by activists on either side…and yes, I am tired of being tired.
So, what do we do to stop the murdering of black men? I believe the answer is right in front of us hiding in plain sight. We need to take a step back as a community and react intelligently instead of Emotionally.
Here are my suggestions: The first is to start hiring a different type of police officer in America who is older, and college educated. Maturity combined with education produces a very different person compared to someone coming almost straight out of High School. Life experiences go a long way when interacting with the public.
The second suggestion is to pay officers a lot more than they are currently to attract the best and brightest. If you pay $30,000 to $40,000 as a starting salary you aren’t going to attract the best talent. Why not start police officers at a salary of $75,000 a year? Currently as it is set up you will get those individuals that have no other economic options and are being almost forced to take the job. That isn’t a desirable scenario for someone who will be interacting with the general public with a gun on a daily basis.
The fourth suggestion is to use our economic clout as a community. If this continues in a specific town we don't go to those banks, stores, gas stations, utilize public transportation, hair salons, or restaurants until changes happen.
The last but the most important suggestion or strategy is to “legally challenge the foundation of the current law”. That is Tennessee v. Garner. This Supreme Court decision is currently the basis for all “justified shootings”. Tennessee v. Garner was first decided in 1985 and reinforced in 1989.
Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985), is a civil case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that, under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, he or she may not use deadly force to prevent escape unless “the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.” It was found that use of deadly force to prevent escape is an unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment, in the absence of probable cause that the fleeing suspect posed a physical danger.
The courts have been the “legal tool” and method to change realities for African Americans in the 60’s and here again in the modern era we need to develop multiple Legal “Dream Teams” to start challenging this law as it is presently constructed in 2018. But one person can't do it. It will truly take a collective of folks such as 2nd Amendment activists, lawyers, politicians, and the community at large….It will truly take a “Village”.
In closing we need a new standard for police and citizen exchanges. Fearing for your life is far too vague a reason for anyone to decide to kill someone else because you are scared. I can understand if that person is “physically attacking you and you have tangible evidence with your eyes and ears that he or she is trying to hurt you. Anything short of that is not acceptable.
I welcome all tough discussions and comments regarding this article at [email protected]
About National African American Gun Association (NAAGA):
The goal of the National African American Gun Association is to have every african american introduced to firearm use for home protection, competitive shooting, and outdoor recreational activities. We are a civil rights organization focused on self preservation of our community through armed protection and community building. The National African American Gun Association provides a network for all african american firearm owners, gun clubs and outdoor enthusiasts. We welcome people of all religious, social, and racial perspectives. We especially welcome african american members of law enforcement and active/retired military.
For more information, visit: www.naaga.co.