There is a meme running around Facebook – represented by the two photos incorporated below – that equates a single, horrific shooting incident involving black on white violence with years of systematic, fatal attacks by hundreds of police on unarmed, innocent black people. The most egregious aspect of this meme is that posters often indicate they find it “funny” or “humorous.”
Facebook-meme
The amount of willful ignorance and self-righteous indignation behind this meme overwhelms me. Vester Flanagan (also known as Bryce Williams) who shot 3 unarmed individuals in a single incident By comparison over the past 15 years more than 65 unarmed persons of color have been shot by law enforcement officers. Below is only a partial listing that does not include the current year (2015) (source: http://gawker.com/unarmed-people-of-color-killed-by-police-1999-2014-1666672349)

  • Rumain Brisbon, 34, Phoenix, Ariz.—Dec. 2, 2014
  • Tamir Rice, 12, Cleveland, Ohio—Nov. 22, 2014
  • Akai Gurley, 28, Brooklyn, NY—Nov. 20, 2014
  • Kajieme Powell, 25, St. Louis, Mo.—August 19, 2014
  • Ezell Ford, 25, Los Angeles, Calif.—August 12, 2014
  • Dante Parker, 36, San Bernardino County, Calif.—August 12, 2014
  • Michael Brown, 18, Ferguson, Mo.—August 9, 2014
  • John Crawford III, 22, Beavercreek, Ohio—August 5, 2014
  • Tyree Woodson, 38, Baltimore, Md.—August 2, 2014
  • Eric Garner, 43, New York, N.Y.—July 17, 2014
  • Victor White III, 22, Iberia Parish, La.—March 22, 2014
  • Yvette Smith, 47, Bastrop, Texas—February 16, 2014
  • McKenzie Cochran, 25, Southfield, Mich.—January 28, 2014
  • Jordan Baker, 26, Houston, Texas—January 16, 2014
  • Andy Lopez, 13, Santa Rosa, Calif.—October 22, 2013
  • Miriam Carey, 34, Washington, D.C.—October 3, 2013
  • Jonathan Ferrell, 24, Bradfield Farms, N.C.—September 14, 2013
  • Carlos Alcis, 43, New York, N.Y.—August 15, 2013
  • Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr., 32, Austin, Texas—July 26, 2013
  • Deion Fludd, 17, New York, N.Y.—May 5, 2013
  • Kimani Gray, 16, New York, N.Y.—March 9, 2013
  • Johnnie Kamahi Warren, 43, Dotham, Ala.—December 10, 2012
  • Malissa Williams, 30, and Timothy Russell, 43, Cleveland, Ohio—November 29, 2012
  • Reynaldo Cuevas, 20, New York, N.Y.—September 7, 2012
  • Chavis Carter, 21, Jonesboro, Ark.—July 29, 2012
  • Shantel Davis, 23, New York, N.Y.—June 14, 2012
  • Sharmel Edwards, 49, Las Vegas, Nev.—April 21, 2012
  • Tamon Robinson, 27, New York, N.Y.—April 18, 2012
  • Ervin Jefferson, 18, Atlanta, Ga.—March 24, 2012
  • Kendrec McDade, 19, Pasadena, Calif.—March 24, 2012
  • Rekia Boyd, 22, Chicago, Ill.—March 21, 2012
  • Shereese Francis, 30, New York, N.Y.—March 15, 2012
  • Wendell Allen, 20, New Orleans, La.—March 7, 2012
  • Nehemiah Dillard, 29, Gainesville, Fla.—March 5, 2012
  • Dante Price, 25, Dayton, Ohio—March 1, 2012
  • Raymond Allen, 34, Galveston, Texas—February 27, 2012
  • Sgt. Manuel Loggins, Jr., 31, Orange County, Calif.—February 7, 2012
  • Ramarley Graham, 18, New York, N.Y.—February 2, 2012
  • Kenneth Chamberlain, 68, White Plains, N.Y.—November 19, 2011
  • Alonzo Ashley, 29, Denver, Colo.—July 18, 2011
  • Kenneth Harding, 19, San Francisco, Calif.—July 16, 2011
  • Raheim Brown, 20, Oakland, Calif.—January 22, 2011
  • Reginald Doucet, 25, Los Angeles, Calif.—January 14, 2011
  • Derrick Jones, 37, Oakland, Calif.—November 8, 2010
  • Danroy Henry, 20, Thornwood, N.Y.—October 17, 2010
  • Aiyana Jones, 7, Detroit, Mich.—May 16, 2010
  • Steven Eugene Washington, 27, Los Angeles, CA—March 20, 2010
  • Aaron Campbell, 25, Portland, Ore.—January 29, 2010
  • Kiwane Carrington, 15, Champaign, Ill.—October 9, 2009
  • Victor Steen, 17, Pensacola, Fla.—October 3, 2009
  • Shem Walker, 49, New York, N.Y.—July 11, 2009
  • Oscar Grant, 22, Oakland, Calif.—January 1, 2009
  • Tarika Wilson, 26, Lima, Ohio—January 4, 2008
  • DeAunta Terrel Farrow, 12, West Memphis, Ark.—July 22, 2007
  • Sean Bell, 23, New York, N.Y.—November 25, 2006
  • Henry Glover, 31, New Orleans, La.—September 2, 2005
  • Ronald Madison, 40, and James Brisette, 17, New Orleans, La.—Sept. 4, 2005
  • Timothy Stansbury, 19, New York, N.Y.—January 24, 2004
  • Alberta Spruill, 57, New York, N.Y.—May 16, 2003
  • Ousmane Zongo, 43, New York, N.Y.—May 22, 2003
  • Orlando Barlow, 28, Las Vegas, Nev.—February 28, 2003
  • Timothy Thomas, 19, Cincinnati, Ohio—April 7, 2001
  • Prince Jones, 25, Fairfax County, Va.—Sept. 1, 2000

To make a legitimate comparison, we must first imagine 40 or 50 similar shootings of unarmed TV news personnel by black former TV news personnel. Additionally we must imagine that in each case, the black man is protected and defended by the majority of black news personnel (as the police officers involved in shootings are protected and defended by the majority of law enforcement), and we must imagine that in more than 90 percent of the cases, the shooter is found NOT guilty of criminal charges, and we must imagine that many news outlets spend their time vilifying and denigrating the character of the victims of the shootings. If at the end of a decade of unpunished, attacks by blacks on unarmed white people, in which almost no one was found guilty and imprisoned, there were STILL NO protests, no riots, no stores looted, no fires set, then a smug, self-congratulatory meme might possibly be justified. 

I’m pretty much of a news hog. I no longer get a daily paper on paper, but read several news daily on-line, and I peruse the cable news sources regularly (unlike most folks I actually watch news networks that have opposing political philosophies as well as those with which I agree), so I usually see most of the major news stories. Which is why I’m wondering why I missed the story about Johannes Mehserle shooting Oscar Grant in the back on a Bay Area Rapid Transit platform.

There were plenty of stories today, given the rioting and looting that broke out after the verdict — guilty of involuntary manslaughter — was rendered, although most of the ones found through Google are from papers in California and other western states.

I checked with a number of my other news hound friends — most who like me are far left. None of them had heard of the trial before today as well.

Why did this story only become newsworthy when black people started public violence? Why not more national attention after the crime itself, and during the trial? Could it be because a white law enforcement official shot a black young man?

I don’t have enough information to make my own judgment on the judgement of the jury, I’m just struck the lack of attention to the story by national news outlets.