The Murder of Eric Garner and the Assassination of President Kennedy

The Death of Eric Garner

I have been reading today about the death of Eric Garners, another black male that was killed by the police.  Eric Garner was put in an illegal chokehold by the police while resisting arrest and died because of it, even after he told the cops he couldn’t breath.  (I should note although he was resisting arrest he was not directing any violence at the cops.  He was unarmed.  He simply moved in a way that was trying to prevent the cops from handcuffing him.)  As those of you whom read along know, I have been knee deep in reading about slavery and the Civil War.  I also read Matt Taibbi’s The Divide this year, which is about our unjust justice system.  If you read about America enough, you can be horrified about what happened, but you can’t really be shocked at this stage in the game.  I completely and empathetically understand why black Americans are outraged over what is happening to their people.

I want to approach this from another angle to hopefully get some of you thinking.  Earlier this year I went to Dealey Plaza, the place where JFK was assassinated.  If you walk through that place you can’t help but feel something.  Here is an article about changes that were made to the Secret Service after Kennedy was killed:

Changes Made to the Secret Service After JFK Assassination

Someone was killed and the place that he was killed takes on a special meaning in our culture.  There were also changes made at the highest level of our government.  Pretty much everyone that was alive then can remember not only where they were when Kennedy died, but also the shock that was felt by them.  Now, I know what some of you are going to say.  You are going to say that this was a President and therefor it deserves more attention then an average citizen being killed.

Let’s forget any arguments right now that say one life is just as important as another life.  Let’s for arguments sake even say that a President’s life is valued much more than several people’s.  However, when you look at the history of the situation, black males being killed and brutalized by the police, it becomes hard to say that many lives aren’t worth as much as a President.  When the numbers start adding up why do we not act with a similar sense of disbelief and outrage?  Why are we not making changes at the highest levels of government?  Why don’t we, as a nation, mourn and say enough is enough?   Even if Eric Garner’s life doesn’t mean much to you, can you not look at the overall pattern and realize something needs to be done?

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