Thoughts on BART Shooting
I'm a little surprised that I haven't seen anyone on my LJ friends list writing about the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant by BART police on January 1st and the resulting protest/riot last night. I'm not saying that in an admonishing way, but more like I tend to see some folks writing about that stuff on my f-list. At any rate, I've been reading a lot about it and watched the news coverage about the protests and an upcoming BART meeting open to the public this morning. The video footage is particularly intense and damning and it's really hard for me to wrap my mind around why Johannes Mesherle (the cop who shot Grant) thought pulling out his gun was necessary at all. Especially when he had a taser on his hip as well. Mind you, most folks are saying it was unnecessary for him to draw ANY weapon, but the gun is so excessive and extreme. Said cop has resigned from his job with BART but he is keeping close-lipped about the incident. Why he hasn't been arrested or brought in for questioning when the police managed to arrest 100+ people at the riot/protest last night is beyond me.
The whole incident is like a horrifying combination of Rodney King and Amadou Diallo and it seems likely that the meager amounts of justice dealt out in those situations will be mirrored in this one. As I got ready for work this morning and listened to the news stories I thought about how many foolish blog posts I read around and after the election implying that Obama's victory would somehow erase not only present day racism but the scars of slavery and racism's violent past in this country. And then something like this happens and it all comes crashing back just how untrue those hopeful, naive statements were. And, sure, people will argue that race has nothing to do with this shooting but honestly, how many more unarmed black men need to be shot in this country before we stop dusting off that old, tired argument?
I always feel a little naive when I am surprised or horrified by situations like this - like I should expect them and be numb to them. But somehow I am always dumbfounded by how horrible shit like this can keep happening and happening.