14/09/2023 strategic-culture.su  7 min 🇬🇧 #233760

Black people are killed for being black


The irony is almost too rich: While  thousands gathered Saturday on the National Mall to mark the  60th anniversary of the March on Washington, a racist White man in Jacksonville, Fla.,  killed three African Americans for the unforgivable crime of being African American.

Angela Michelle Carr, 52, was  shot dead in her car in the parking lot of a Dollar General store in one of Jacksonville's predominantly Black neighborhoods. A.J. Laguerre, 19, a store employee, was shot dead as he tried to flee from the gunman. Jerrald Gallion, 29, was shot dead as he walked, unawares, into the store.

Black people being killed for being Black. How many times have we seen this before?

 We saw it in May 2022, when a hate-filled White man  killed 10 Black shoppers at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo.  We saw it in February 2020, when Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was cornered and  killed by three White assailants for having the temerity to jog through a White neighborhood.  We saw it in June 2015, when a White supremacist  killed nine Black worshipers at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C. We've seen it in  police shooting after  police shooting, where offenses as trivial as a  broken taillight have led to encounters that left African Americans dead, their families grieving and their communities enraged.

Clearly, the dream that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.  unforgettably described at the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963 - "that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" - has not yet come true.

The Jacksonville murderer, who was from neighboring Clay County,  drove first to the campus of Edward Waters University, a historically Black college, according to law enforcement officials. Chased away by campus security, he then drove to the Dollar General store, wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with an  AR-15-style rifle - inscribed with a Nazi insignia - and a Glock pistol. He killed himself before he could be arrested, and he left behind writings that evinced a "disgusting ideology of hate," Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said.

Florida Gov.  Ron DeSantis (R) said the right things, albeit awkwardly, at a vigil for the dead on Sunday night, calling the 21-year-old killer a "major league scumbag" and vowing that "we are not going to let people be targeted based on their race."

But the crowd was also right to  boo him. DeSantis has  weakened gun laws in  Florida rather than take steps that might have kept a weapon of war out of the hands of an unbalanced, homicidal young racist. DeSantis  has crusaded incessantly  against "wokeness," a term whose original meaning was awareness of the systemic racism that fuels anti-Black discrimination and violence.

And DeSantis has  instituted a new curriculum in Florida schools that  downplays the long history of African Americans being "targeted" precisely because of their race. When studying the Jim Crow era, students are to be taught about "acts of violence perpetrated against and by African Americans" - as if White people and Black people were equally to blame. The curriculum largely ignores, for example, the " Red Summer" of 1919 - an eruption of  scores of anti-Black riots and massacres, in big cities and small towns across the country, that left hundreds of African Americans dead.

In another over-the-top irony, DeSantis was speaking on the anniversary of what is known in Jacksonville as  Ax Handle Saturday. On Aug. 27, 1960, in a downtown park, African Americans staging a peaceful sit-in to protest segregation at a lunch counter were attacked by a White mob wielding baseball bats and ax handles. When the demonstrators fought back, police came and arrested the Black victims, not the White assailants.

The city, like the nation, has come a long way since then. A Black man served as mayor  from 2011 to 2015. Waters, the sheriff, is Black. The city has  removed a Confederate memorial that stood near City Hall and stripped the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general who reigned as a first "grand wizard" of the Ku Klux Klan,  from a public high school.

King's dream will never be realized, however, until the nation fully confronts and acknowledges its history. And mass shootings - whether inspired by racism or by other demons - will never end until the nation enacts sensible laws to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of those who would use them to kill.

 Jacksonville shootings: Black people killed for being Black