In case you have been under a rock this morning: A black man was shot and killed by the Charlotte, NC police (CMPD) yesterday afternoon and there have been many conflicting reports about whether the man was armed.
I live right outside of Charlotte, and I went to UNC-Charlotte. Last night, there were riots at the Wal-Mart where I bought groceries last week with my kids. Keith Lamont Scott, who died yesterday, lived in an apartment complex that I know well. I used to live just near it when I was in college. My husband drove past the scene on his way home from work. So, I guess this whole thing hits close to home.
I figured it would happen sooner or later. It seems to be happening everywhere. I knew the second that I read the article, about 3 hours after the shooting, that this wasn’t going to end well for Charlotte. When I read that the shooting victim had died my heart sank into my shoes.
It didn’t just make me sick and scared because it was so sad that he had died. Of course, that is terrible. It is terrible when anyone dies. But, I knew there’d be fires and broken windows and picket signs. And, I wanted Charlotte to somehow escape that type of event. But, it happened. Protesters blocked the interstates and threw rocks at passing cars on the freeway. They videotaped themselves vandalizing police cars and setting fires. And, just like that, we were back to OJ, back to Rodney King, back to the Civil Rights Movement for god’s sake. It’s frightening.
Do I support rioting? No. Do I get it? Yes.
When people’s lives – AND THE LIVES OF THEIR CHILDREN – are at stake, they become irrational at times. They become angry and vengeful. If the man who died last night died in vain then I am sad. If the man who died last night was a true threat then that is terrible and sad. But, no matter what, a man died last night. And, even more people distrust police. But, lots of opponents of Black Lives Matter are also fully stocked with brand new ammunition.
And, the cycle continues. And, it will continue as long as Black people feel angry, disenfranchised and afraid… and cops feel suspicious and threatened. So, what’s the solution?
I don’t know. But, it is not to pretend like nothing is wrong.