To Beat … Or Not To Beat, Or Shoot, Or Kill!

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Happy Hump Day, y’all!

It means a lot to me to send these e-mails out three times a week. Yet, I must admit, it takes some “work”, too! I do it because I like to write, and reach out, and embrace this journey. Most of you know how “we” became friends and associates. I remember each of you well. Some of you I talk to a few times a year maybe, while others I’ve never met. One or two of you, as I recall, I met just once. One lives in England though I met her here in Miami … and another came by a service station I worked at years ago when I lived in Pembroke Pines!! She now lives in South Africa. This is diversity! I love each of you … for who you are!

This past week carried some seriously interesting and sad events. I mean, yes, Robin Williams committed suicide because “finances got tight” and depression and alcoholism set in. He gave up the fight … though he fought well … something was still missing. RIP, Robin … Now, before I begin with the title of this message, I want to say that yes, I do know that other groups in America are subject to similarly questionable behaviour. One example, kind of dear to me though I don’t know why, is Israel Hernandez, the graffiti artist from Miami who was tased by a Miami police officer and later died. Yes, this was a tragedy, no doubt. Yet, the following events are recent and involve an interesting phenomena I’d like to call “walking while black”.

Okay, so the first person was a woman … purportedly walking along a highway en route to her “friend’s house”, only accessible by going along the highway road. She was homeless and an African American woman. The only details are drawn from a video taken by a passer-by who was filming as the event unfolded. The woman is seen clearly walking away from the California State Trooper as he pursues her until catching up. He grabs her from behind and she struggled to get free until he threw her on the ground on the side of the highway. It appears she is trying to get up and the trooper begins to “pound and ground” her as if in a wrestling ring!! The trooper is on top and continues throwing punches at the woman’s head and face until the woman is near motionless. She is suing the California State Troopers for an undisclosed sum.

July 17th in NYC, a big “brother” who suffers from asthma is selling loose cigarettes on the street. An officer is seen, again in the video, approaching the man and pushing him up against a wall. The man says, “Take your hands off of me! Take your hands off of me!” until three cops band together, one choking him from behind along his throat in an “illegal” choke hold for law enforcement until the “band of men” fall to the sidewalk. It is audible in the videotape to hear the bigger African American man saying, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” as three or four NYC officers continue placing their knees on his head, chest and legs until the man on the ground is motionless. The ambulance arrives and the staff tells the man to get up. He is still unresponsive … right there on the scene of the crime of “selling loose cigarettes” on the street in NYC. “To beat or not to beat!”

On August 10th 2014, another event took place just 12 miles outside of St. Louis in a smaller town. Three or four teen-aged African American boys were walking down the street until an officer pulled up next to them in his squad car and ordered them “off the street”. Apparently, something was taking place causing the officer to make that request. The boys told the officer that they were going just a little bit further to a house not too far down the street and would be there within minutes. Upon hearing their remarks, the officer drove slowly past them. He then put his vehicle in reverse and drove backwards towards the boys!! Startled, they moved out of the way as the officer nearly hit them. The officer reached out of the car’s window to grab one of the youths who pulled away as he was being pulled head first into the squad car!!! The officer lost his grip and began to open his car door against the body of the youth he had just been pulling by the head – 18 year old college bound Michael Brown! Brown’s body weight and his attempt not to fall on the ground caused his body to bump the officer’s car door. The officer sprang out of the car, drew his gun, Brown had BOTH hands in the air … The officer fired like 6 shots at this defenseless, “hands in the air”, African American teen-aged college bound boy!!! Brown died shortly after … Riots broke out in that city and they hoped it wouldn’t spread to the streets of St. Louis!!

Three law enforcement officers, three questionable responses … two deaths and one law suit. “To beat … or not to beat, or shoot … or kill!” In the aftermath of the senseless shooting of a rabbi in Miami as he had traveled from Brooklyn to visit his family and was on his way to the synagogue, may we pray for more peace, less or NO violence … right here at home in the streets of the USA, too!


John I. Cook

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ken Chiarito
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 15:11:22

    I’ve never disagreed with anything you’ve ever said, however… I highly doubt Robin Williams finances got “tight”.. With three films not even released yet and he was worth billions.. I can’t agree there. Depression is no joke… I fight it every day and try to keep thought from killing myself out of my head… It’s not always possible. I love you John.. But I’m sure money had absolute nothing to do with it.

    Sent from my fingertips.




  2. excelwitheducationalexcellence
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 16:24:06

    Hello Ken. We don’t always have to agree on anything, bro’! It’s not that kind of relationship where we have to agree on everything!!! Come on, bro’! But thanks for being so classy in your reply. Still check this out! {According to a family friend who had spoken to Williams recently, “All he could talk about were serious money troubles. There were clearly other issues going on and Robin sounded distant during the telephone conversation. Robin was known for being so generous to his friends and family during the height of his success, and would help anyone out that needed it.”}



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