In the picture above, Officer Nathaniel Robinson, is on the dashboard camera physically man handling a 76-year-old Pete Vasquez. You can find out more intimate details of the altercation that ensued, leading to the tasering of Mr. Vasquez, by the two-year police veteran here.
Having just read this article today, I am compelled to begin relaying my first thoughts on the “matter of Ferguson and Staten Island”, with this picture. Because, my first and foremost thought has continually been (since people first caught amnesia about Jena 6 and Katrina) that frequent forgetfulness and self preserved apathy will be the death of humanity as we know it.
I must say, I am shocked myself, by the rapid progression of this predicted and inevitable reality. Nonetheless, it is here and it is time. It is time to recognize the real. It is time to call out and put on front street, the real. It is time to call it what it is. It is time to stop pretending like “political correctness” was popularized for the sake of the oppressed and marginalized.
What you see in that picture of Pete Vasquez and the pictures below, is more than just a problem with police conduct. This is so much more than just an issue of police brutality, you must see! This, in fact, is so much bigger than the police themselves. What we see today, at the lowest level is a matter of severe over- criminalization and over- militarization. At the highest level, this is a matter of drastic dehumanization and depraved indifference to human life.
And it is in fact, seen everywhere and in every aspect of our society. From the government shut downs and attacks on any non- dominant member of society, to the systematic institutionalized forces of death and enslavement, found in our healthcare, educational and housing programs! The connections have to be made now! People need to understand that this is most definitely a significant matter of escalation.
In a society, where more than 2 million people within the population can be legally enslaved for criminalized behaviors that are fostered by very known societal ills, while the true criminals make money off of their slave labor, and the society despises and rebukes the slaves, while willfully turning a blind eye to their slave masters’ growing empire, what surprise is it that 76-year-old man could be tasered by police for, no reason at all?
In a society, where children can be arrested in kindergarten and the greedy and stigmatized people of the country are the poor, disenfranchised and marginalized, while folks praise and fantasize about the wealthy and selfishly successful elite, how surprised can a person be when 12-year-old babies are shot for playing with toy guns (ironically, the same toy guns our twisted society popularized as a male gendered behavior, in the first place)?
In a society, where a movement against police brutality, mass incarceration and/ or systematic and institutionalized violence is almost always centered on the lost and damaged lives of men and boys, while willfully ignoring the devastating crippling of our communities by the continued, legal violence against women and girls’ bodies, lives and livelihoods, how surprised can you be when a 6 month pregnant mother is brutalized for protecting her child and no one mentions her in a march against the exact police brutality she and her teenage son sustained?
In a society, where little girls that don’t represent the norm, because of their sexual orientation, religious associations, gender identification, socio- economic upbringing, social or physical differences or simply because they’re a little girl, are succumbed to socially acceptable harassment, violence and blatant indifference, how surprised can a person be when a young 8-year-old child, represented by a non- dominant cultural group, is tasered by police, and no one bats an eye?
Connections need to be made! Immediately!
In a world, where I can be brutalized by the NYPD, stripped of my constitutional rights, entrapped in my mother’s NYCHA project home for more than 2 1/2 hours, have a SWAT team and dozens of uniformed and plain clothes officers, detectives and lieutenants bust down my mother’s door, throw me against the wall, and then handcuff everyone in my mother’s home, how surprised can I be that the NYPD can shoot an unarmed man in NYCHA project staircase for no reason at all?
In a society, where the NYPD can handcuff and drag me out of my mother’s NYCHA project apartment, without any indication of reason or evidence of wrongdoing, then commit me to a mental ward against my will, with the aid of medical doctors who willfully and illegally detained me for 5 days, all due to my spiritual beliefs, at the watchful eye of people who knew me and powerlessly did nothing, how surprised can I be that before me, there was a young Black man whom was chased by the NYPD into his grandparent’s NYCHA apartment, to be shot in their bathroom, right before their powerless eyes?
In a world where, people will witness horrible things happening right in front of their face, right next door to their house, right in their own home, and will willfully turn a blind eye in indifference, to the wrongdoing they’ve witnessed, how surprised can you be when jury after jury, filled with human beings themselves, can willfully dismiss the tragic and deadly behavior of other human beings, at the logical cost of more human lives?
Yea, this may have well become more of a rant than a clear message at this point, but not without intention. There is so much deeper to unpack here about the society we live in, a society that can be capable of such evils, if we’re ever going to get closer to the point of deconstructing this society, to build a more humane one.
And yet, it all starts at the surface. This is my surface. The surface of my thoughts and frustrations in all that we see and understand to be known of this world today and yet, all that we continually fail to do to dismantle and redesign it.
I have only to go deeper and deeper, until I discover the source of my own power, to be a distinctive vessel in the movement to developing a true reality of humanity. As I do, I will surely bring you all along for the ride. And so it is. A’se