A man named Oscar Grant was shot and killed by a transit police officer. (The video of the shooting is here.) On Wednesday, a protest turned into a riot. I am the son of a former NY cop and understand the primary concern of policemen and their families is that the policemen come home to their families after their shift. However, I also think because policemen carry lethal weapons and are allowed to use the lethal weapons, that policemen should be held to very high standards and a review must be held when they use their weapons and injure or kill someone.
Having written that, is a riot appropriate? I think it isn't. Is a demonstration appropriate? I think it may be depending on the circumstances of the situation involved. Basically it hinges on accountability and the full visibility into the process of holding people accountable.
Some people ask, where is the similar outrage over things like crime in "urban areas" as the outrage over police shootings? I admit I have some agreement with the reason behind why the question is asked, but I don't fully agree the question is appliciable.
Some may say the appropriate outrage is the "demonstration" held in Philadelphia when Bill Cosby walked streets with residents upset about the homicide rate and crime in the city * and the attempt to organize men to "walk the streets" ** to help lower crime. I would, and do, respond by asking, why a "Cosby-like" person leading a demonstration is showing appropriate outrage, but not the vigils, and mini-marches that occur in areas where a particular "horrendous" crime has occurred?
Or why not the responses such as the effort to organize mentors like that being done by Susan Taylor and the National CARES Mentoring Movement or any of the organizations listed at Black Self Help Information?
Or, as I ask on a seemingly periodic basis, are Blacks only said to be doing things when the media shows up?
* I heard the other day that the Philadelphia homicide rate for 2008 actually FELL when compared to 2007.
** The outcome of the "walk the streets" was actually to join people and or organizations that already exist in the area to combat problems in the city.