After numerous requests, I decided to put out an English article once a week. It makes sense to bring international topics to a wider audience. I am going to call this new series of articles English Breakfast and I hope you will enjoy them. Of course, this week is all about the police shootings in the United States of America and the vigilantism that followed those frightening developments. The real problem about the developments that happened over the course of the last two years is the missing trust in a justice system that ought to treat everyone the same way. Therefore vigilantism seems to take over. But how did it come so far?
Since the memorable summer of 2014, when Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, sources suggest that nearly 1.000 afro-americans have been killed due to police shootings since and 30% of them were unarmed (http://orf.at/stories/2348640/2348459/). I am the last one to judge from a distance and doing research, I know that police officers often work in unfamiliar circumstances where it is unpredictable to know how one would cope with the situation. That is why laws and training are so important. But when grand juries decide to drop the accusations of police officers or absolve them from their charges, the smell of racism is in the air. And one cannot blame afro-americans to think that way.
While a lot of policemen wear body cameras, enough evidence should be available. But for some reason, the evidence never seems to be enough. In a lot of cases during the last two years, there were videos available. Probably more than anything, the happenings in Dallas are the expression of this systemic anger towards a justice system that seems to differentiate between people - at least from the outside. By no means this form of vigilantism should be tolerated or trivialized. But the fully understand the motives of this cruel act, the systemic anger needs to be considered.
And then there are those firearm laws!
Living in a culture that banned the easy access to firearms, it gets hard for me to understand why it is such an integral part of the American culture. Reflecting way back on the days of the wild west, challenging someone to a duel was a „regulated“ way of vigilantism. Combined with the missing trust in the justice system, these almost loose firearm laws create a toxic combination that could lead to frightening violence - gun rampages in schools are only one tragic example. And while some may suggest - mostly the ones making money from firearms - rampages require more weaponry, the only way to stop the madness is to restrict the access to firearms heavily. But attempts to do so, had never gotten a majority in congress, which leads me to the question: What else needs to be happening? More people killed? More gun violence?
All citizens are equal! But not everyone is a citizen?
The problem is, that people think that everyone should be treated equally, when in fact they feel differently. Racism requires a battle. A battle that has been fought for a long time. But this battle does not take place on the streets, but more so in our heads. If true equality needs to be achieved, prejudices in our heads need to disappear. What makes me sad as a European, as someone who studied political science and as a human being is, that despite major accomplishments have been achieved by civil rights movements, we still have a long way to go …