How Did We Get Here? #TerenceCrutcher

How did we get here?

On Friday, from multiple angles, we watched a man- a black man, a father of four, a husband, a brother, a son, a musician, a student, a friend, Terence Crutcher, “Crutch” – bleed out in the middle of the road in North Tulsa.

This just a couple of months after watching Alton Sterling bleed out in a parking lot in Baton Rogue. And watching Philando Castile bleed out in the driver’s seat of his car.

The world lost another man this week too soon. Anytime that happens, it’s a tragedy. When it’s at the hands of the state, at the hands of a police officer – one sworn to protect and serve – it is all the more so.

And yet, a large portion of our country can’t find in them the most human and reasonable reaction to the death of someone’s father – grief, compassion, tears, empathy. Instead, they view the video of his death and their first reaction is to search – desperately, fearfully, guiltily – for a justification. For a reason why Terence Crutcher must have deserved to die at the hands of Officer Betty Shelby on that lonely Tulsa road Friday night.

Instead of reacting like actual human beings, they react like numb, disconnected shadows.

How did we get here?

We pride ourselves on our virtues in America: on our compassion, our loyalty, our commitment to justice, our kindness. It’s our enduring American myth. And yet, our public reactions to things like the death of our fellow citizens is anything but compassionate or kind or just. It’s always cold and cruel and dismissive and bloodthirsty.

“He must have been asking for it.”

“He was a thug.”

“He should have complied.”

“He shouldn’t have been wearing a hoodie.”

“He was a big, bad dude.”

“He got what he deserved.”

Terence Crutcher died Friday. He had his hands up. His car had been secured by the officer. He was moving slowly and deliberately. There were four officers there. He was not presenting an active threat. And yet, he died. He died physically. And white America is going to make sure he dies again and again in the coming weeks, so that we have to never face up to the guilt of having constructed a racist system that only works by disposing of black bodies as carelessly as we dispose of old paper towels.

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. If Philando Castile – beloved Phil, sitting in his car, following all the orders, as innocent of any wrong doing as a person can be – if he can’t get even get a fair public hearing in this country, then folks like Terence and Keith and Alton and all the others don’t stand any chance in hell.

We don’t have a live feed to Terence’s brain to see what exactly was going through his mind at that moment, so consequently, he can never prove his innocence to so many in our country. So he’s guilty. Cut and dry. He was guilty the day he was born a black boy, and he has been guilty every day since, he was guilty on Friday, and now, he will be guilty for all posterity. That’s American justice at work.

The American myth has been preserved for another bloody day.

How did we get here?

How do we get out?

2 thoughts on “How Did We Get Here? #TerenceCrutcher

  1. The problem is we as a culture have done everything possible to make truth subjective. Claiming it shouldn’t have an objective basis, but rather it is fluid and has different meaning for different people or groups of people. With the loss of truth, tolerance because the ultimate virtue. Meaning everything must be accepted as everything must be tolerated; accept, objective truth as it creates a rigid right vs wrong dynamic which in the new culture is intolerant.

    Instead of fighting for truth, society fights for social justice or social equality. Terms that are completely subjective, formless and applied to each situation in differing quantities. Not based on the level of truth, but based on the level of change it could create. This ‘change’ is an attempt at building utopia on earth through ideological control of the people. The only way to achieve this is to breakdown the status quo through the creation of perceived injustices or inequalities where people groups are pitted against each other. The proposed solution is an unattainable panacea of perfect interpersonal interaction where the outcome is always mutually beneficial. The solution actually attained is the worship of perfection based on false standards arbitrarily set by a society who see themselves as gods.

    Crutcher and Shelby become pawns of this game. One has already been labeled as the victim of injustice and the other automatically receives the title of oppressor. Not because truth has proven those individual titles to be true, but because the ideology behind this societal change needs objective truth to be an oppressor. However, the only winner is this new ideology. Crutcher is dead and Shelby’s life will be ruined. The country will draw itself down political lines. One side claiming Crutcher was belligerent while forgetting we lost a life, the other claiming institutional racism and willing the country to view some lives as having less value.

    “How do we get back?”

    Back to what? The country was less divided 8 years ago, but were we without problems? Nope. Do we go back 25 years? That is just exchanging one bad for another. The solution is, moving forward assuming that objective truth exists because the God of the Bible exists. The greed associated with the ‘my needs come first’ of social justice, is replaced with serving your neighbor and forgiveness. The selfishness of social equality is replaced with being satisfied with the life God gave you. This doesn’t open the door to racism, sexism or bigotry; rather, it reminds us all that we are God’s children and have equal value/responsibility regardless of where you are in our life.

    Wonder would happen then?

    Liked by 1 person

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