Oliver Willis

Eric Garner And The Death Of Logic And Reason

Eric Garner

When it comes to issues of race and law and justice, I am probably best described as a conservative. I tend to err on the side of conservative action, in favor of the status quo (within reason) and in favor of law and order instead of the squishy, touchy-feely side of things which I am uncomfortable with.

I don’t know if I can do that anymore after today.

Because there isn’t much in this world that is more black and white than the video of Eric Garner being killed. It isn’t ambigous. We can argue about what happened to Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown, but we all can see what happened to Garner.

How can you see the video, read the coroner’s report, and know that the chokehold that was used violated NYPD policy and still at least not even send the officer who killed a man to a trial by a jury of his peers.

It is black and white, in the starkest of terms.

So it leads me to question how I view the world and what actually makes sense in what I like to think of rationality.

I also can’t separate this sentiment from the fact that I’m an (almost) 37 year old black male.

There are only a few pounds of difference between myself and Michael Brown and Eric Garner. According to some, being a black man with flab and fat is a cause for police suspicion, probable cause and police inquisition.

In 2014, in America, when the nation’s leader and chief law enforcement officer are both black men, when the proposed next chief law enforcement officer is a black woman. In 2014?

I look at these cases and its hard for me to not think of a scenario with a police officer asking me where I’m going, what I’m up to, where should I put my hands, what would I have to do to fully comply while also being nervous as hell, and if I’m killed will I have pundits telling my mother and my aunts that I was threatening, some kind of amped up monster, a credible threat to be shot twelve times in the street because a police officer who went through modern training, an academy, probably years on the beat and other experiences but he (or she) didn’t know of a way to de-escalate the situation, who felt the only way to deal with the perceived threat — me — is to shoot me (and leave me lying in the street for hours, possibly)?

I can’t look at these cases from a cold, dispassionate, Vulcan, analytic mindset. Because we’ve all seen the video of Eric Garner being killed and the cold hard facts didn’t help. His kiler is free. He may even police again,

The logic is dead here. It did not apply. The grand jury didn’t use it. None of it makes a lick of sense.