Friday, April 25, 2008
::The ballad of Sean Bell::
Breaking news: Queens, New York detectives Gescard F. Isnora, Michael Oliver, and Marc Cooper were acquitted of all charges in the murder of Sean Bell. Judge Arthur J. Cooperman stated just before he delivered the verdict that the "police response with respect to each defendant was not found to be criminal."
I'm not going to do a lengthy post on this. It's apparent that this is a blatant example of injustice at the hands of our government. Many people may not be surprised by this verdict. Need we be reminded that this overt display of injustice comes a mere 4 days before the 17th anniversary of the Rodney King verdict in California and 9 years after the Amadou Diallo tragedy in the Bronx?
Many people only see race as a factor in this disturbing case, yet it traverses those boundaries. After all, only one of the detectives charged with Sean Bell's murder was white. This is really about law enforcement's egregious abuse of power and the legislative branch's flexible use of the trope of blind justice.
Beneath the surface, an ominous tension is berewing like a viscous witches' brew. When it boils over, how will the government react. The fire next time won't be so easy to contain. It just may burn out of control. Though I'm trying hard to be civil, something inside me is ready to rage against the machine. The ending sociopolitical rant of Erykah Badu's "Twinkle" comes to mind(diologue borrowed from the 1976 motion picture, Network):
I DON'T HAVE TO TELL YOU THINGS AREN'T GOOD.
EVERYBODY KNOWS THINGS AREN'T GOOD!
WE KNOW THE AIR'S UNFIT TO BREATHE,
AND OUR FOOD IS UNFIT OT EAT!
YOUNG PUNKS ARE RUNNING THE STREET
NO ONE KNOWS JUST WHAT TO DO
AND THERE'S NO END TO IT!
THE DOLLAR BUYS A PENNYS WORTH!
BANKS ARE GOING UNDER
CONGRESS ARE KEEPING A GUN UNDER THE COUNTER!
WE SIT WATCHING OUR IDIOT BOXES
WHILE SOME LOCAL ANCHOR MAN TELLS US THAT
TODAY WE'VE HAD 18 MURDERS AND 80 VIOLENT CRIMES,
AS IF THAT WAS THE WAY THINGS WAS SUPPOSE TO BE!
WE KNOW TIMES ARE BAD!
WORSE THAN BAD!
PEOPLE ARE CRAZY!
ITS LIKE EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE
IS GOING UTTERLY MAD!
SO WE NEVER LEAVE OUR HOMES!
WE SIT IN OUR COMFY ABODES
WHILE THE WORLD IS GETTING SMALLER
AND WE SAY, "COME ON!
AT LEAST LEAVE US ALONE IN OUR FAMILY ROOMS!
LET ME HAVE MY MICROWAVE
AND FLATSCREEN AND MY 20 INCH RIMS
AND I WON'T SAY ANYTHING!
JUST LEAVE US ALONE!"
WELL I'M NOT GONNA LEAVE YOU ALONE!!!
I WANT YOU TO GET ANGRY!!!!
I DON'T WANT YOU TO RIOT,
I DON'T WANT YOU TO PROTEST,
I DON'T WANT YOU TO WRITE YOUR SENATOR
BECAUSE I WON'T KNOW WHAT TO TELL YOU TO TELL HIM!!
I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE RECCESSION
AND THE INFLATION, AND THE CRIME IN THE STREET!!
ALL I KNOW IS THAT YOU'VE GOT TO GET MAD!!!
YOU'VE GOT TO SAY, "I'M A HUMAN BEING DAMMIT!
MY LIFE HAS VALUE!"
Thirty-two years later, those words still resonate. But who is ultimately to blame for the state of our society? In a post 9-11 world, racial profiling is on the upswing and distrust amongst citizens increases with each piece of propaganda. But should that justify the killing of innocent citizens? John Locke and Thomas Hobbes must be rolling in their graves.
This is an issue of human interest that expands beyond the confines of race, class, ethnicity, and gender. In the words of James Brown, we need to all get the hell up, get into it, and get involved.
Stay tuned for info on rallies and protest marches...