Some have been outraged by the callous, insensitive remarks of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis (no such thing as a police union) President Bob Kroll in the wake of his comrades’ shooting of Thurman Junior Blevins in the back as he was running away from them.
Kroll, on Facebook, tried to detract from Blevins’ killing by saying people should be more concerned about Black people killed by citizens.
Why can’t we be concerned about both? This is not a new tactic, but a particularly heinous one considering that Blevins has not even been buried yet.
But Kroll – like the rest of the folks who agree with him and always seek to justify the killing of Black people by the police – may not be to blame. It could simply be a matter of poor home training.
In other words, it is possible that his mother didn’t teach him any better. One cannot do better if they do not know better. While some may argue that my premise is a bit facetious, let us examine the evidence.
Judging from Kroll’s comments regarding the lives of Black folks and his membership in a racist motorcycle gang, he can be considered a racist – though he likely does not have the intestinal fortitude to openly admit it.
And, what is the reason for hating Black people?
He is the well-paid head of the federation of anti-working class people (and thugs) who have the freedom to abuse and mistreat Black people and make their lives miserable on a daily basis and get away with it.
It’s not just Kroll.
In Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Chicago and other areas where police have needlessly killed Black folks, comment sections in local newspapers and social media posts are filled with hateful statements supporting the police and denigrating the victim.
A woman in Sacramento, claiming to be “of faith,” wrote on social media that Stephon Clarke deserved to be shot. It is worth noting that no one asked her to give her mean-spirited opinion, but she somehow thought it was important to express.
As a Christian, she should have learned in Sunday School that one should not wish on others what they do not want done to them. But, failing that, someone should have taught her that it is inappropriate to pee on people’s graves and that the dead should at least be allowed dignity in death.
Ironically, while trying to point the finger at so-called Black criminality, it is people like these that exhibit a criminal mindset. It might actually be worse than a criminal mindset, because even most criminals respect the dead and the grieving. No, this is the reflection of a human being who is not fully formed, a Neanderthal, a barbarian.
White society attempts to paint the Black family as dysfunctional, but if it is especially in this nation’s ghettos, it got that way by a series of discriminatory events and an environment not conducive to raising children correctly.
So what is the excuse of Bob and Becky? Why are they so upset and so mean-spirited? They have had almost every advantage. They grew up in two-parent suburban homes, have eaten three square meals every day, attended the best of schools, took family vacations, attended college, and landed decent paying jobs.
What is their excuse for acting like callous thugs on social media and comments sections? What causes them to be so angry and hateful towards dead Black people killed by police?
What causes them to lash out and make nonsensical rebuttals to Black cries for justice by claiming Black people don’t care about Black people dying in the inner cities? If they have already indicated that they don’t care or like Black people, why do they care if Black people are killing one another? Is it just another example of poor home training?
Kroll also tried to detract from the issue by saying police are only to blame for one out of 100 killings in the Twin Cities. But that is too many, and these are human beings he is referring to, which again is possibly a reflection on something he was taught at home.
The fact that he never considered how callous and cold this would come off to the families of those who have lost loved ones to police violence causes one to wonder if his mother taught him to respect the dead and those grieving the dead.
Most people are taught not to kick people when they are down. And Christianity has an imperative to “weep with those who weep.” But, many of the mean-spirited people will tell you they are people of faith and adhere to family values.
Judging by the actions of most “people of faith,” especially the evangelical community, it appears to be an unreconstructed, narrow-minded, bigoted and mean religion.
But, people like Kroll and the woman in Sacramento should not be hated, but pitied. They cannot help themselves, as they were not taught any better. It is likely they were taught to hate people who had not done anything to them, just for sport. They may have been taught that the only life that counts is White life. The Sacramento woman possibly thinks the golden rule only applies to her fellow White people.
Thankfully, many folks have pushed back against this type of poor home training, social conditioning and programming and have awakened to realize that they and their neighbor share a common humanity. They also recognize we live in a country and system that seek to pit us against one another for the sake of maintaining White Supremacy and U.S. imperialism (or neoliberal capitalism, pick a term).
If we are to live in a nation as human beings, many more will have to reject their conditioning, because their hatefulness does not benefit them as much as they think. No man and no people are an island. We are all “inter-related,” as the late Martin Luther King, Jr., put it.
“All [humans] are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny,” he said. “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.”
Justice, then peace.
Mel Reeves has a blog fighthepowerjournal.com and welcomes reader responses at firstname.lastname@example.org.