Charlotte, NC: This Needs To STOP NOW

Photo: Adam Rhew

Photo: Adam Rhew

Charlotte, NC: This Needs To STOP NOW.

Terence Crutcher. Keith Lamont Scott. They are the reason we are bringing up this discussion with all of you today. For those of you who have been binge watching Netflix or living under a rock for the past week, let me fill you in.

Terence Crutcher was a 40 year old man who was traveling home when he began to have car troubles. Officer Betty Shelby was en route to a domestic violence call when she happened upon Mr. Crutcher while he was outside his vehicle that was in the middle of the road blocking traffic. When the two encountered one another Officer Shelby instructed Mr. Crutcher to take his hands out of his pockets and he complied but only for some time. Shortly after Mr. Crutcher began to put his hands back in his pockets, attempted to reach towards his vehicle and was shot dead.

Keith Lamont Scott was a 43 year old man that was waiting for his children to get home from school, he was sitting in his vehicle in front of his house. Mr. Scott was allegedly reading a book in his vehicle.  Police were in the area searching for a suspect with an outstanding warrant. That’s when Officer Brentley Vinson allegedly saw Mr. Scott enter his vehicle with a weapon and then exit his vehicle with a weapon in his hand. Moments later Mr. Scott was shot dead by Officer Vinson.

Riots and protests spilled into the roadways, after the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott and eventually culminating in a bonfire on interstate 85 in north Charlotte on Tuesday evening and continued into the early morning hours. Protests continued the following day in uptown Charlotte and another civilian was shot and is currently on life support. The North Carolina Governor has declared a state of emergency as of Thursday morning.

At what point do we learn from our past, and begin to have an open discussion about a solution?

We know that there are issues with the current judicial system and how it has disproportionately been in favor of american citizens who come from well-off backgrounds. Don’t interpret that as having to be from a white family who has money. In today’s society it’s important to know that if you have a roof over your head and been offered an opportunity at an education, that has put you in a better position than most.

In the old days people from different backgrounds were able to come together and gain a better understanding of each other by passing a “peace pipe” or bottle of alcohol. But how can we gain a better understanding of each other today? It has been incredibly arduous researching how we have got to this point, and yet I’m still left dumbfounded on how we can create a solution or open a dialogue with each other as humans and ignore the eighth of an inch of skin that separates us from one another.

We first have to admit that we can’t empathize with each other equally, we can have a general idea of where someone is coming from but we can never fully understand the pain that they feel. There must be a way that we can come together without having to suffer an incredible tragedy. The true tragedy is not being able to just talk to one another without hostility building within. We have to start taking action.

If it is sadness that someone feels we have to learn to cry together. If it is happiness then we must learn to laugh together. We can’t keep standing on opposing sides of an obvious situation and hope that one side will succumb to the other. We can no longer be scared of each other.

Our country’s issues, the violence, has come to our front door and we must answer. We can’t come up with a definitive answer on what the best way is to solve our problem. But what kind of action can we take to ensure that our future generations don’t have to go through this all over again?
**Update: The Tulsa County district attorney has filed first-degree manslaughter charges against Officer Betty Shelby. (9/24/2016)

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