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samYvonne Sam: Contributor




As The Pall of Gloom Lifts—All Parts of the Problem need to be Exposed

Firstly permit me to offer my condolences to the family and loved ones of the two recently slain individuals– Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, the slain Dallas policemen, and all the other victims of police brutality in the U.S. The presenting data is unequivocal, whether we like it or not, police killings is a race problem. African Americans as compared to other races are being killed disproportionately and by an extremely wide margin. What is underlying these killings?

I am not about to proffer any response for I am no psychology major possessing any special insight into the psychology of police officers, and even less knowledgeable about the intricate forensics involved in such cases. Let me assure you that I am under no illusion that I am on Mt. Olympus in parlance with you.  However, as an aptly qualified health care professional, and a former resident of the United States I affirm that it is glaringly apparent America is seriously sick and perhaps mortally so.  She is currently experiencing death throes, and if recovery of any sort is to be realized, we must first expose the root cause of the malady that afflicted her in the first place. A discussion of this nature has no place for individuals, just the truth that is high and holds the weight, and would be given priority over ideology. I would be following the truth in whichever direction it leads and irregardless of whose ox it gores.

For far too long, more than human ears need to hear, or the world needs to know, for African Americans the peril of police abuse, in the form of random stops, violations of individual civil rights and assaults have long been part of life. Racial animus towards African Americans has progressed to a full blown cancer with deadly consequences, as seen in the case of law enforcement officers who have guns by virtue of their jobs. We must ask why, if the major problem lies in the fact that African Americans have so many more encounters with the police. According to the American Civil Liberties Union the killing of Philando Castile was the 123rd killing so far this year of a Black person by American law enforcement. The shootings are representative of a gruesome loop of episodes of law enforcement gone amok.

Each time a Black man bites the dust, (and there have been so many), or school massacres, gay killings etc.  there have been calls for gun reforms, actions that are only voiced to calm public fears for the moment.  Laws are passed that get immediately voted down.  Let’s face it America is just as guilty as the killers

On the issue of gun control America lacks the political will to engage in any meaningful gun control. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has an uneasy partnership with the police. The NRA and the Police Unions are both Conservative groups, and many of the police officers are gun holders and members of the NRA. It is evident that the NRA does not want to upset the police as it would not be in their best interest. The recent ghastly images that have been plastered across all forms of social media bear ample testimony to how much has not been done, two years post Ferguson.

Incidentally the NRA has always spoken out in defense of guns being used in the line of protection, seemingly only when it pertains to whites.  Point in question and which furthers adds insult to present injury, they have not done so in the case of Philando Castile who was a licenced gun holder.  They have decided to SHUT Up in the case of this SHOOT UP.

In getting to the source of the wound,  the latest killings serve as grim reminders that law enforcement officers across the land are in dire need of future and further training necessary to make them more professional and respectful of the citizens whom they have pledged to protect and serve.  Current evidence statewide reveal that law enforcement training, is not fulfilling what it is designed to promote. Police officers are trained to view every encounter as a potential deadly force incident, and as a consequence citizens are endangered rather than having their safety preserved. Perhaps the time is ripe for immediate rigorous scrutiny and revamping not only of police training schools, but its applicants and the admission pre-requisites. This should be conducted in conjunction with the institution and enforcement of specialized tests such as the Implicit Association Test among others designed to measure racial bias, maximized emphasis on de-escalation, conflict resolution sessions, use of force standards and occasions necessitating application of deadly force.

I have arrived at the following conclusion, (though somewhat delayed) that police officers, on account of the training received,  graduate with  a warrior culture type of mentality— battling with the criminal element.  The good guys versus the bad guys type scenario.  This may be in some way contributory to most of the killings which in the majority of cases were totally unavoidable. On a military maneuver it is the commonly held belief that there would be loss of lives. In like manner the police profession has vehemently contradicted this belief. No officer fatalities are acceptable.  In a 2015 study published in the Journal of Political Behaviour, it was noted that in the 1990’s those in America opposed to gun control tended to be individuals who did not like Black people.

The legal system has also a vital part to play in America’s likely recovery. Every court, prosecutor’s office and police station should send a clear and loud signal of the unmitigated consequence when charged with police brutality.  No one is being duped here; the judges, juries, grand juries and prosecutors alike have failed to aggressively step up to the mike and indict, prosecute and convict the offenders- unstable and homicidal police officers.
This is yet another example of America’s pussyfooting attitude on crucial issues, which has led her into the current racial quagmire in which she finds herself. The underlying belief is that if police officers are prosecuted, the end result would be a diminution in all police officers stepping up to the plate to bat as they should.

The presenting enigma is -How do you prosecute the bad officers without lessening the motivation of the good officers? Sadly the powers that be have not figured out how to resolve this problem, hence OPEN SEASON on Blacks rages on. Let it stand for the records and please overlook my characterization but I find this excuse poor , and a murderer is a murderer, color aside, and should be dealt with to the full extent of the law. No indictment speaks volumes among them the fact that cops have a carte blanche and immunity to do what no one else can do.

As the wound is exposed for deeper and closer scrutiny, the more it becomes apparent that the race problem depicts a larger problem.—that of American societal structure, laws and policies. In essence and reality the justice system can also be seen as an accomplice to the crime.  Blacks are incarcerated via a tightly networked system of laws, policies and institutions that function collectively to ensure the subservient status of a group defined largely by race.

In conclusion the Black community is not without blame or blemish. Police brutality towards our own will only end when we unite. We are currently divided as to the depth, scope and intensity of the problem, divided on the approach to the problem, in utter denial about what some of us or our children are contributing to the problem and in other cases ambivalent. In some ways Blacks have contributed to how they are perceived by the world around them, which is contributory to our own annihilation.

Now that all parts of the wound have been exposed, America will only function when she not only accepts the truth but also the role she has played in her present health status. Accepting truth will bring about change. American society has the malignancy of racism deeply entrenched in the selfsame manner as gun addiction is a cultural badge of honor.  Like partners in marriage racism and gun addiction make up a disease that has become and will continue to get, much, much worse. Time Up America! The Laws have Flaws.

All Lives Matter so let’s make things Better.

Yvonne Sam.


  1. Well written piece. It leaves us to wonder if it would ever end and when. I have known this racial profiling in America since childhood. Having picked it up in Huckltberry Finn and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Then as a teenager, who loved Sam Cooke ‘A Change Goona Come’ – will it ever end? I will depart this life in a few years but I see the problem living on – God please help people of colour.

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