Why #BlackLivesMatter to me

Young black mother, Korryn Gaines, was killed by the (SWAT?) police yesterday. She supposedly had a long gun in her hands, sitting on the floor of her apartment with her 5 yr. old son beside her. The police wanted to arrest her for “traffic violations’. Sounds like the other recent police shooting of Philandro Castile in Minnesota. The well-liked young black man was shot during a police pull-over for “traffic violations”. This is heart-wrenching and sickening at the same time.

As someone who has been poor growing up and also as an adult, I have a lot of compassion for poor people. In the last year or so, my left signal light has not been working – sometimes it does, sometimes not. I have to put my left arm out the window when it is out. Often I have not had the money to fix it. Imagine if the police were constantly pulling me over for it?

When you’re poor, sometimes your thinking is like this: I could fix the light, but I might not have enough money for food until Friday, when my cheque is coming in. Or, my car insurance is due, or I have to pay for the internet – or other tough decisions that the middle class or rich have no clue about. It is a daily, tough, struggle for many poor people. It is survival.

Add to that a feeling of being ‘harassed’. I have met some very decent and wonderful police officers in my life. And I have met some twits (idiots!). In these cases, where is the compassion, the patience, the wisdom? In Korryn’s case, why not bring in female negotiators? or a pastor or a psychologist or her relatives/family? Why such a rush to the SWAT team? The report I read says they shot her more times after they initially shot her. Terrible. Terrible.

Another black man, Eric Garner was killed for selling cigarettes on the street. The choke hold. I grew up poor in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. We stole things all the time. We stole because we didn’t have, we stole to sell. No one was killed for stealing or traffic violations. When I became a Christian as an adult, I felt bad about stealing, but I still have a big soft spot for the poor and needy. Do we know what it’s like to walk in our brothers’ or sisters’ shoes?

I think there needs to be a police/court revamp for minor traffic offenses and such things. Community Police needs to be of the same colour/race as the ‘hood. Many people are on edge today. We need compassion and patience – especially from the police who are on the front lines.

#BlackLivesMatter to me. They matter a lot. Each one. #BLM does not mean that all lives don’t matter. It’s just flashing a light on the crisis in the black community and is a call for help and action.

Randall