The gun has replaced the rope

Some protesters at the Blackout Hollywood march presented some powerful statements with their signs on Saturday, Dec. 6. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

At one time black people used to be scared of the rope. Now they’re terrorized by the gun. The gun has now replaced the rope. Terror used to come in the form of lynch mobs. Fearfulness of the men and women in blue is the new reality check for black America.

Hood and white sheets have been replaced by a badge, uniform and cowardice lawmakers. DWB (Dead While Black) has become the new occupational hazard for African Americans getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. WWB (Walking While Black) can give way to the chokehold and the permanent closure of your life’s journey.

At a moment’s notice you can become a slab of dark meat in the coroner’s office should your vehicle die out on the highway, if you have your hands raised, sit in your car minding your business or get pulled over for an unjustified traffic stop.

Demonstrators take to the streets on Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, California during the Blackout Hollywood protest on Saturday, Dec. 6. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com
Demonstrators take to the streets on Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, California during the Blackout Hollywood protest on Saturday, Dec. 6. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

If you’re black, you can lose your right to live by playing with a toy gun in a park or die aboard a public transit train station after getting shot in the back by a trigger-happy coward. The callous execution of Terence Crutcher give black folks a right to fear for their lives whenever they encounter law enforcement personnel.

How do we trust someone who is ready to snuff out a black life whenever the opportunity presents itself? Is Officer Bill still our best friend? There are many in the black community who will think not. Why? Because there is history of men and women with a badge and uniform killing black people and getting away with it in the name of protecting and serving.

My question is who are they serving? Who are they protecting? The black community don’t need people who don’t live in the community, come riding shotgun in the community, and become murderous overseers in the community they work in.

Didn’t Crutcher deserve the right to live like Betty Shelby, the white female officer who gunned down the black father while experiencing her big, scary black man moment?

Shouldn’t young Tamir Rice have been allowed to be able to go out on a prom date, play sports, have a career, get married and have children of his own if he wasn’t thoughtlessly assassinated by Timothy Loehmann? Did Oscar Grant deserve a bullet in his back from Bay Area Rapid Transit Officer Johannes Mehserle while he was lying down on his stomach?

Protesters air their grievance in the streets during the Blackout Hollywood marcch on Dec. 6, 2014. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com
Protesters air their grievance in the streets during the Blackout Hollywood marcch on Dec. 6, 2014. Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

What did Philando Castile do that warranted the former cafeteria worker being slain after a routine traffic stop? Did Keith Lamont Scott have a book in his hand or a gun when he was killed by a Charlotte, North Carolina plainclothes officer.

It really shouldn’t matter if Scott had a gun in his hands. North Carolina, like Ohio (Tamir Rice), is an open carry firearm state. As long as Scott did not threaten police officers in any way, he should be still alive today. Where are all these Second Amendment activists now when you need them?

If you’re black, your rights are seemingly revoked at birth because of the color of your skin. Your freedom is predicated on how well you go along with the program. America talks a good game about freedom and equality, but check the resource.

This is the same country that enjoyed and flourished under slavery. This is the same nation that operated under the guise of Jim Crow while creating an “us” versus “them” environment with their “Whites Only” water fountains, bathrooms and lunch counters.

Our women were raped. Our families were torn apart and split up. We were said to be just three-fifths of a human being. Citizenship for black people once meant a servitude existence. All this have been done while America have sworn its allegiance to the Star Spangled Banner, a song created by a man (Francis Scott Key) who owned slaves.

One nation under God, right? OK. They tell us to protest in peace after engaging our communities with violence.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

As soon as San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to display his peaceful protest against police brutality and injustices to people of color, death threats came his way. Sitting and kneeling during the playing of the national anthem has brought wrath on Kaepernick’s head.

Fans have burned jerseys with his name on it. He has drawn the ire white college football coaches like Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, and become a target for hicks like former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, who made a statement suggesting the signal-caller should move to another country.

As you know now, there is nothing routine about being black. There is nothing new about the reaction of people spilling over once African Americans have the gall to stand up and confront the ills affecting their communities. Check your bells and whistles. This has played out before.

When we battled for civil rights, blacks went through a litany of obstacles. Waterhoses, freedom demonstrations, marches, bombings, cross-burnings, lynchings and riots came across the news wire like a daily exercise. So what’s the different now than back in the day when Ida B. Wells went on her anti-lynching campaign?

Not a whole lot. Video or no video, black people are being taken out with very little done to the perpetrator in receiving proper justice. Justice these days mean a small monetary payout to the victim’s family. So instead of justice, we receive a buck or two for our trouble.

“Those who commit the murders write the report,” Wells once said.

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1106 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (San Diego Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). As a professional journalist, Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a graduate of Howard University.