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North Miami Cop Shoots
Unarmed Man Charles Kinsey

We keep on trying to find something meaningful to add to the discourse. Video after video after video. Very violent ones, with blood and screams and terror. It’s easy to want to turn your head and look away, or to see the “Graphic Content” disclosure and scroll past it, but maybe it needs to be watched. Maybe you need to see that weirdly contorted arm with blood gushing out of it. Maybe you need to hear the screams of disbelief. It’s very comfortable where you are right now, perhaps, and seeing a video of a man dying might throw you off for the rest of the day.

Today’s video comes to us from just down the street, and it doesn’t show the bloody part, but it does show the fear part, the disbelief part. From about 50 yards away, a SWAT trained officer, using an rifle, couldn’t distinguish between a toy truck and a weapon. He was told it was a toy truck, but the current explanation is that he was trying to protect the man he shot — by attempting to shoot the autistic man with the toy truck. We won’t delve into the massive list of questions that this raises. (Why was the victim cuffed afterwards? How could three shots miss the supposed gun-wielding autistic guy from such a close range? Why not just listen to the therapist laying on the ground, who is clearly explaining the situation at hand?)

Maybe you’re wondering, what is the deal with this? All of the sudden, so many incidents, it’s an epidemic! No, no. All of the sudden, so many phones that can take video of what has been going on for decades, it’s a chronic disease.

There is a very long and growing list of people, of mostly black men, who have died because they are unfairly targeted by armed men, whether police or citizen cop. If you aren’t black, you probably haven’t had enough of an opportunity to be moved by it, to feel uncomfortable. If you are black, you might say a little prayer when you stick your key in the ignition every day, because the reality is that all it takes is one self-aggrandized officer crossing your path to steal your life away.

There is something in the air right now, and it is going to go beyond the hashtags. What does “to serve and protect” look like? What should it look like? At what point do we, as a nation, join our voices together and say, “Okay, that’s enough. This is a problem that needs to be solved, and now.”? And at what point do you, yourself, step out from behind your binoculars and be a participant rather than an observer?

We never want to post an article without suggesting practical things you can do to be a part of the change. This one is more complicated. Besides protesting, what can practically be done to fix this deeply rooted problem?

Be a part of the change.

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