Friday, August 29, 2014

Hands Up. Don't Shoot.

It's been said repeatedly this month. Protesters have chanted it all across the nation. It seems like such a simple message to understand. So why do so many police officers and G-O-TEA media pundits act as if it's incomprehensible?

"Hands up. Don't shoot!"

That message came here to Southern Nevada last night as protesters gathered on Martin Luther King Blvd. in North Las Vegas for the 51st anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, "I Have a Dream" speech... And to remember the life and legacy of Michael Brown.

"Hands up. Don't shoot!"

Las Vegas Metro Police still seem to have a tough time understanding this. And they're not alone. In St. Paul, Minnesota, Christopher Lollie was tased and arrested for simply sitting in a park as he was waiting for his kids to be released from preschool. In Beverly Hills, California, film producer Charles Belk was arrested and detained because he "matched the profile of a suspected bank robber". And in Hartford, Connecticut, outrage over the stunning and arrest of Luis Anglero, Jr., has grown so strong that Hartford Police Chief James Rovella actually joined protesters demonstrating against his arrest.

"Hands up. Don't shoot!"

In North Las Vegas, police weren't just at peace with demonstrators. They were hugging, engagung in conversation, and posing for photos last night. For a moment, it looked like a real breakthrough.

And frankly, this is what we need more of. As we've said before, this problem isn't just limited to Ferguson and other areas of Missouri. It's happened here, and it's happened elsewhere in America. It's part of the legacy of institutionalized racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and all other forms of xenophobia America has struggled with since the first European settlers arrived on this continent. While we've seen much progress in building bridges in the last 51 years, there's still so much more to be done.

"Hands up. Don't shoot." Hopefully one day, we won't have to say that any more. Hopefully one day, we can all join hands and put the guns away.

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