Monday, August 18, 2014

Racial Injustice and Inequality

"All men are created equal."

To be honest, I have never really fully appreciated that phrase.  First of all it excludes women.  I am pretty sure the word "human" existed back then, so why did they use the term "men"...?  It is because they were men, who had power, who were literally otherizing anyone who was not them.  Black men, weren't, and neither were women.  They never have been, and today they still are not equal to men.

White men don't normally get shot while they are unarmed in the street.  They are usually arrested, taken to jail, where they bond out before going to court to resolve the issue.  In Ferguson, Missouri protesters weren't arrested, they are driven away with tear gas and rubber bullets.  Instead of peacefully arresting protestors who violated curfew, they were physically assaulted by SWAT teams.

The problem is that this is not a peacefully sit-in styled protest.  A few of these protesters have used this as an opportunity to cause chaos and violence.  This gives state officials reason to use excessive force, only raising the levels of tension and anger between citizens and their government.

The problem seems to be that the the people of Ferguson do not feel adequately represented by their officials.  Moreover, the escalation of violence on both sides does not seem to be easing tensions.

What is needed is for cooler heads to prevail, for those willing to be arrested for civil disobedience, to do so peacefully, so that their cases are heard in court.

My biggest questions are for those who have previous railed against government violence against citizens, and stoking fears of martial law.  Well, we have it in Ferguson Missouri.  People are not fee to roam the streets of their own town, under the threat of physical violence and arrest.  So, why aren't Tea Party Loyalists supporting the rights of these protesters!?  They are actually under threat of real physical violence and fully enforced martial law.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Justice for Kevin Ward Jr.

"Tony Stewart's car hit and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a yellow flag on a dirt track."

As a criminal justice student I was utterly shocked that Tony Stewart was not arrested, and his on-board camera and audio equipment cataloged as evidence.  As a person raised in the South, and a race fan, I am disappointed that yellow flag rules were not recognized:

Yellow Flag:
  1. Single Waving: Indicates an area of immediate danger ahead. The driver is REQUIRED to exercise extreme caution in driving, including being prepared to slow, or stop if necessary. Drivers should raise their hand to alert race officials and other drivers of their intent to slow down. Passing is prohibited until safely past the cause(s) of the yellow flag.
Rather than extreme caution, and slow down, Tony Stewart 'accelerated' at or toward Kevin Ward Jr.  The video clear shows that Kevin Ward Jr. is signaling 'waving' and or 'pointing' at or toward Stewart's car, in an attempt to get him to slow down or stop...  At this point, Stewart made a choice, to not do so and instead to accelerate and move in the direction of Ward.

The only question for me is "Did Stewart follow track or race rules under the caution?"  If he did, then it is legal 'within a race' to cause and accident, then kill a driver exiting a vehicle in pursuit of your own win...  I would argue that Stewart 'broke' the track rules intended to keep drivers exiting dangerous situations safe, and that breaking this rule at this time was in fact a criminal act, and these actions led to another racer's death.

Sadly, I believe that when you have enough money, your freedom from a criminal can be bought.  In this case, Tony Stewart will not be charged, even if he has shown a pattern of violence toward other drivers, and a disregard for race rules intended to keep everyone safe, and who's action in fact killed Kevin Ward Jr.