PLEASE DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER

A letter to a nation that doesn’t care about us.

To Whom It May Concern,

The past few years have stuck to our souls and weighed heavy on our hearts when it comes to liberty and justice. Between Ferguson, Staten Island and Baltimore, the harsh realities of the society we live in have begun to sink in, leaving a more than offensive taste in our mouths and evoking many different conflicting emotions. Most of us find ourselves attempting to rise above being angry, frustrated, defeated, disappointed and victimized while hoping for the best and expecting the worst. Others surrender to the undying and unforgiving resentment that lives inside of us, subconsciously, without our permission. Slowly but surely transitioning from resentment to revenge.
don't shoot the messenger
Even when justice appears to be on the side of the people, we’ve been trained to look deeper and read between the lines. Nine times out of ten, once the curtain is pulled back we discover not so subtle follicles of racism, classism or fascism strategically scattered through our so called justice system. Providing liberty and justice for those, they so choose. Making us all far too aware that we, nor anyone that looks like us is or will be protected in the single place we call home.

This week as Baltimore protests spread throughout the country, it was announced that both our elected leader, President Barack Obama and future presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton were taking a stance on the intolerable iniquities that continue to occur. The city of Baltimore receiving over $1.8 billion from President Obama’s stimulus law, including $467.1 million to invest in education and $26.5 million for crime prevention can hardly go un-noticed. Pleading with the republican controlled congress, President Obama stated that implementing his policies to make “massive investments in urban communities,” could “make a difference right now” in the city, currently in upheaval following the death of Freddie Gray. In true democrat fashion, Clinton followed suit declaring that body cams for police would be implemented as a forefront initiative under her campaign moving forward so that essentially every arrest can become a video documented moment. Later in the speech, Clinton reiterated some substantial points before touching on the “patterns” in the inner cities. Requiring us to review “hard truths about race and justice” Awful truths that should and could have been addressed ions ago but they say better late than never.
don't shoot the messenger
Baltimore native, political activist and republican turned Liberal, Montel Williams gave a rather forward thinking interview last week lending some insight on the matter , citing a chilling statistic that 60% of domestic violence cases are committed by officers. Also recommending that like in the service where a soldier can only serve in three consecutive tours for the sake of their mental health and safety, officers too should be prohibited from being on the job for several years at a time which is researched to potentially lead to working post-traumatic stress disorder, superiority complexes, anger management problems, desensitizing one to destruction, corrupt misconduct, and so forth.
don't shoot the messenger
I suppose it’s all tied together like a constructive solution. As is the stimulus plan and the body surveillance strategy. Until we’re told that it’s too expensive a solution or unnecessary or whatever excuse they dress up like a logical reason. Again, expecting the worst doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t hope for the best. There’s always hope. We are people of hope but after hope comes plan and after plan, action. We aren’t asking for an unfair advantage or expecting a national apology for the maltreatment. We know both are too far fetch to placate any further. Nothing can erase wrongdoing or allow us to unlearn, unsee or unknow all that has taken precedence. What can happen is that we can move forward as a united nation. You know, live up to our name as a country for once. Minus the racial bias, class division and smoke and mirrors bullshit that masks the blatant inhumane racially charged crime and state terrorism executed, and protected by law enforcement.
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To date, not even half way through the year, research and annual logs confirm that 395 unarmed black Americans have been recorded killed by non-military enforcement. Correct me if I’m wrong but this isn’t the first time that the people have responded in radical outrage. So, forgive us. We can no longer wait for you to willingly provide justice and respect. We have to take it but we don’t have to riot. Rioting is too simple a solution to this far too complicated problem. This problem requires a revolution not a riot. In a 1994 interview, more than twenty years ago, iconic rapper, Tupac Shakur was quoted saying “You don’t want any more – we asked ten years ago. We was asking with the Panthers. We was asking with them, you know – the Civil Rights Movement. We was asking, you know. Those people that were asking are dead and in jail. So now what do you think we’re gonna do? Ask?”

Forgive us if we’re skeptic to the latest wrongs made right. Forgive that we are unimpressed at the ability to state the obvious but every so often late is just as bad as never. Forgive me if I don’t parade down the street in celebration at the fact that for once the officers responsible for the death of an unarmed citizen are finally being charged and possibly held accountable. Forgive us that you’ve now seasoned us all to know the difference between a charge and a conviction. Forgive us that we’ve yet to evolve past time and that not enough of it has passed since NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo was found “not guilty” for murdering Eric Garner. Forgive our unwillingness to forgive and our refusal to forget but you’ve taught us that you can’t be trusted. Forgive that our generation holds no punches against the beast that is a deadly combination of racism, chronic poverty, and destructive energy of corporate capitalism. Forgive our unapologetic approach and our cynical undertone but the straw broke the camel’s back far before we were even old enough to fully understand what was going on and you did nothing.
Forgive my attempt at contextualizing the truth but shouldn’t somebody?
Please don’t shoot the messenger.

Sincerely,
A Concerned Citizen

All Imagery captured by Devin Allen