Monday Miscellanea

Hold your applause, please.

My parents instilled a number of sayings in me that pretty much function as my life manual: don’t lend what you can’t lose, smart people learn from their mistakes while wise people learn from the mistakes of others, you don’t pack a plate until everyone eats – that sort of thing. One that has stuck out, especially in my teaching career is that you don’t reward someone for doing what they are supposed to do.

But that’s exactly what’s happened with Officer Jessee Kidder of New Richmond, Ohio. He was facing a belligerent man, Michael Wilcox, who had just murdered his fiance and best friend. People are applauding Officer Kidder for displaying restraint in a situation where he had what our police call a justifiable reason for killing. Wilcox had committed murder, was aggressive, refused to take his hands out of his pockets and was a general threat to Officer Kidder. Yes, Officer Kidder gets a nod from me for risking his life in hopes of avoiding an even worse scenario. Yes, if I had been in his shoes I may have shot Wilcox and thought of the consequences later. But I don’t get two things: that we are happy he didn’t kill anyone, and that we are comparing this situation to that of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Darren Wilson, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Michael Slager.

We are a Christian nation. I’m not a Christian, but our country was built on those morals and standards that guide Christians all over the world. One of those morals is, in fact, a commandment – to not commit murder, under any circumstance. How are we simply excited that Kidder didn’t kill Wilcox? Is this really that comforting? And what does that say about our belief in the officer’s right to possess a license to kill? I believe we’re mostly celebratory that he didn’t kill someone because, as of late, police officers are being scrutinized and criticized – sometimes unfairly, sometimes not –   because of the killings of so many black….

But that’s just it. Michael Wilcox just so happens to be white. No, I cannot say that if Wilcox had been black the officer would’ve reacted differently. I can’t. And I can’t say Kidder is or isn’t a cool headed and reasonable guy, because I don’t know. But what I do know is that this comparison is laughable. People are protesting and enraged at what many agree to be a blatant disregard for the lives of African-Americans, and to pacify the masses you mention that – hold your horses – a cop managed to not kill a white man. We saw this with Sandon Sierdan (tried to rob Walmart, also attempted to take a deputy’s weapon), with James Holmes (the batman movie theater guy), and with numerous others. A white, violent criminal is taken into custody while his black counterparts – often unarmed – are killed on the scene.

The truth is, even if Wilcox was black what do you expect us as a nation to feel? Happy that one in dozens is allowed to live another day while there are many, many others who aren’t given the same humanitarian treatment? Please. And I am tired of people pretending like anyone who calls out racism is a delusional militant. The first step in the road to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Go on, America, admit that shit.

-em

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