Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The murders of Caroline Small and Sandra Bland.

Caroline Small was a woman living through a mental health "breakdown" of some kind. Whether afraid or overwhelmed, she slowly drove away from police who were questioning her, and what followed was a brutal, unnecessary shooting and her murder. Then of course, the cover-up, as this happened in 2010 and it's only making national news now.

Daily Kos' Shaun King has an overview of what happened. I don't watch the videos of these things any-more. I find them too upsetting. They make me sick. You're watching someone being murdered. I trust the journalists who do watch them, and I think it's important to circulate these stories, these names, and these videos.

It seems every day there's a new name, immortalized to hash-tag status. A murdered man or woman. Predominantly black.

Another name is that of Sandra Bland. She was arrested for a ridiculous traffic infraction (not using her blinker!?) and was violently arrested by an insanely aggressive police officer. Three days later she was found dead in her jail cell.

Why was she even in jail for 3 days? This makes no sense to me. What kind of traffic laws are these!?

There is an ongoing investigation into Sandra Bland's death, and so far it's being treated as a homicide.

In Caroline Small's case, they didn't even consider the possibility there was a non-violent way to approach her, totally dismissing and ignoring her mental state (and considering these same officers waved-away the EMTs after she was shot multiple times, you get a sense of their value for life). Her mental state, and her need for aid was completely overlooked.

With Sandra Bland, mental illness is being used as a red herring for her death. Police officers have said she committed suicide in that jail cell. Everyone is calling bullshit. She was never told why she was being arrested, the arresting officer was hyper-aggressive, she was violently handled - it's just a whole shit-show.

For Caroline small, her mental state was ignored. There was no consideration for her.

For Sandra Bland, quoted as being "argumentative and uncooperative" by the arresting officer (she kept asking why she was being arrested and was never told), mental illness is used to discredit her as a victim.

The real sickness in all of this is the palpable aggression of the police towards those they encounter. It seems in several cases there was a real desire to shoot and kill. I don't know what the answer is. Police reform? Community involvement? Community-based peace officers?

I hope the outrage fuels real change.

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