Protesters peaceably walked past police and national guardsmen Thursday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, a 180-degree turn from Wednesday’s near-riot that prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency.
The protests were over Tuesday’s killing of a black man by Charlotte police. Days before, on Friday, a black man was killed by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Video of both incidents exists. The video in Tulsa raises questions about whether deadly force was necessary, and manslaughter charges have been filed against the officer. In Charlotte, police and family members of the victim say the video is inconclusive in determining whether the man had a gun and was threatening the officers.
These killings have re-ignited the debate over social justice for African-Americans, a cause now taken up by some professional football players after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick registered his protest by kneeling instead of standing during the pre-game national anthem.
As a battleground state in the presidential election, North Carolina, for the moment, stands at the intersection of American politics and American culture.
In America, Gun Rights Are for Whites Only
Eugene Robinson – The Washington Post
If you are a black man in America, exercising your constitutional right to keep and bear arms can be fatal. You might think the National Rifle Association and its amen chorus would be outraged, but apparently they believe Second Amendment rights are for whites only.
In reaching that conclusion I am accepting, for the sake of argument, the account given by the Charlotte police of how they came to fatally shoot Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday…let’s assume that police are telling the truth and he had a handgun. What reason was there for officers to confront him?
North Carolina, after all, is an open-carry state. A citizen has the right to walk around armed if he or she chooses to do so. The mere fact that someone has a firearm is no reason for police to take action.
WATCH: Attorney General Loretta Lynch delivers a statement and takes questions on the situation in Charlotte (Thursday September 22, 2016)
Unjustifiable Shooting Does Not Automatically Equal Racism
Madison Geisotto – The Washington Times
If we call everything negative that happens between people of different races ‘racism,’ how can we possibly work to eradicate the real racial issues that continue to exist among a minority of Americans?
Since 2014, our nation has been plagued by the inaccurate idea that we are experiencing an epidemic of racially driven police murders.
Every time we turn around, the death of a black man is attributed to ‘racism’ before important questions have been asked and before relevant evidence is even considered.
If America Treated Racism the Way it Treats Terrorism
Michael Harriot – The Root
As soon as America caught wind of the makeshift bombs that exploded in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota this weekend, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio quickly assembled the media and held a press conference, pleading for calm while authorities investigated the incidents. Along with the usual fear and outrage came calls from the conservative right side of the aisle for him and other politicians to immediately condemn the attacks on American citizens and brand the episodes with the infamous “ism” that pigeonholes every one of these occurrences as an act of hate.
I—on the other hand—wondered what the argument would sound like if this country were as sensitive to racism as it is to the country’s collective clutching of pearls about the horrific acts of terrorism that took place this weekend….
So far this year, 355 people of color have been killed by police. In the 15 years since 9/11, 94 Americans have been killed by violent jihadi attacks.
Only one of these topics is the source of national discourse, political policy and universal outrage.
Anti-Cop Rioters Don’t Care About Justice
David French – National Review
While none of the Black Lives Matters riots are justified, last night’s events are particularly revealing. It is extraordinarily difficult to claim white supremacy and white oppression when black cops are defending themselves from armed black men. This has nothing to do with the false narratives of “hands up, don’t shoot” or “open season on black men.” These rioters can’t even wait for the most basic of investigations. This is about destruction, about bringing down the established order. It’s the “Burn, Baby Burn” of 2016
There is a bright line — a very bright line — between lawful protest and the kind of violence America saw overnight in Charlotte. Yet it’s becoming increasingly clear that leftist radicals use the violence to create a perverse good cop/bad cop public argument: Either deal with the self-appointed radical “community” or “movement” leaders or face the mob.
The riots of 2016 don’t represent an oppressed underclass rising against the oppressor. They represent an oppressor criminal class rising against the rule of law and against the very value of human life. Black lives matter? Please. These people believe no lives matter — none but their own. They are the vanguard — the tip of the spear — of a larger movement that truly seeks not to build but to destroy. Shame on any politician, pundit, or activist who expresses the slightest sympathy for their deadly cause.
It’s Time for Colin Kaepernick to Stand for the National Anthem and Stop Being a Punk
Steve Siebold – The Huffington Post
It’s not only disrespectful, but shows a pure lack of gratitude to a capitalistic system that gave these players everything they have….Colin Kaepernick is a punk who got rich in a country under the protection of the military and the police. If it wasn’t for them, he would not have the freedom, opportunity or money he has. To protest our national anthem is shameful and lacks class and character….
Colin Kaepernick and all these pro football players are supposed to be role models to our kids. They’re teaching them that it’s ok to disrespect your country and not stand for the pledge or national anthem. Now you have 15-year-old high school football players refusing to stand, most who probably don’t even understand why they are standing….
The opposing side likes to say it’s Freedom of Speech. Of course you are allowed freedom of speech in this country, but don’t disrespect your national anthem and everything it stands for. That’s shameful. Don’t disrespect your fans and employer. You want your freedom of speech, go stand on the street corner on Monday morning and hold up a sign, hold a press conference or start a foundation for your cause.
Why I Knelt During the National Anthem —And Why It’s Time to Stand Up
Jelani Jenkins – Time
What I want is simple; equal rights and equal opportunities for every single person living in this country. The same dream Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had. The same dream my great grandfather, Esau Jenkins, had as he fought for equal rights in Charleston, S.C….
So to stand idly by and witness men and children who look like me being senselessly shot and killed is not an option….In order to help stimulate meaningful change, sometimes it takes a controversial—but meaningful—stand. After standing with my teammates as we honored those who were victims of the 9/11 attacks with a moment of silence, I knelt during the singing of the national anthem. I have the utmost love and respect for those who risk their lives and died serving this country. Several of my close family members have served in the military. I do not have an ounce of hate in my body and absolutely have no intentions to disrespect the military. I come from a spirit of love and I aim to unite—not divide. This is not about football, the flag, the military, or Jelani Jenkins. This is about the message: equality for all.