Damned Lie, A Haiku


He was just a thug.
The slugs in his back were fine.
This is a damned lie.

As disturbing as the scenes in Kenosha are the response to them is, in a lot of ways, predictable. Black people are angry, the police say the video only shows part of the story, and white people express their fear of angry black people through faux-indignation. And then the police roll out military equipment that they should not have because, let us be clear in this, the police are not a military unit.

But nothing is more predictable than the weight of the white fear mongering apparatus being used to smear the victim. “He should have just” and “Why didn’t he just?” are two favorite obfuscations used—but the one that seems to travel the farthest is always, “He was just a thug.”

Jacob Black had a warrant out for his arrest for sexual assault and domestic abuse. I know nothing about the facts of that case, but if they are true then Jacob Black is not a nice person.

This does not make shooting in the back seven times “OK.” And the white folk I see who insinuate that it is OK need a serious crash course in how our legal system is supposed to work. Police Officers are not executioners or, in this case, punitive mutilators and shrugging and saying “good riddance” when they function as such is a betrayal of what this country is supposed to stand for.