We need to think. This is what's missing from us, energetically speaking...
We can't out-fight them, but we can out-think them. -
John Trudell

Friday, July 31, 2015

White supremacy killed Sandra Bland no matter how she died.

First, because I am writing and thinking about people I do not know I want to acknowledge what is stolen and never forget- I am talking about real people and their families immense loss.      

So much of the media conversation is centering on the idea that Sandra Bland committed suicide while being held in jail and was not murdered.  Of course it matters if she was physically murdered by someone or if she took her own life or even if she was denied proper medical care after her assault.  And  I want to state here that it is not at all clear that she did kill herself and people have every justifiable reason to suspect she was murdered or died from being denied proper treatment in jail. 

Denial of medical care is another form of murder as in the devastating case of 24-year-old Sarah Lee Circle Bear who was jailed on a bond violation and was found unconscious in her cell on July 6 after pleading for medical help.  In Circle Bear's case the autopsy claims she died of a meth overdose. Again, even if that is true, having drugs in your system or a drug addiction does not mean you should be left to die in your cell for a minor offense.  Read more about her case. 

It’s important to articulate that however Sandra Bland died, the man that stopped her for failing to signal a lane change and then on camera antagonizes and proceeds to brutalize her is to blame for her death.  As is the system of white supremacy that is the police system that arrested her and the jail system that held her.

I don’t mean this as a metaphor.  Even if every single thing the sheriff’s office is throwing out there turns out to be true in some form or another the real truth remains...If Sandra Bland had not been stopped by this man and physically assaulted and then arrested and held in jail she would not be dead right now. No matter what her personal struggles were in life she would be alive, starting a new job and dealing with those struggles. Take a moment and think about what this kind of assault and imprisonment would do to you? The sheriff wants people to think if he proves she killed herself while under his control some how that lets them off the hook and turns this into just an unfortunate incident.    

To add to this ridiculous assertion, The Waller County sheriff, R. Glenn Smith releases the toxicology report that shows elevated THC in Sandra Bland’s body after her death.  This has no bearing on the case.  The ridiculous assertion that some how marijuana use prior (or some how during) her imprisonment is an explanation for what they claim is her suicide but the physical assault and wrongful imprisonment would not be a factor is ludicrous. 

White supremacy is a killing force in our society.  Whether Sandra Bland was straight up murdered or brutalized and terrorized in a way that caused her to harm herself the responsibility falls on the people and institution that used their authority to stop her, assault her, imprison her.  Let me just name that one more time- Stop her.  Assault her.  Imprison her.  She died under their authority.  

It matters to nuance this conversation even if it turns out that Sandra Bland did some how take her own life.  Because what we are really confronting is that white supremacy is terrorism and it does just what terrorism is supposed to do.  

From the FBI website:Domestic terrorism" means activities with the following three characteristics:

  • Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law
  • Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population (or governments)
  • Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
The seemingly endless videos of Black, Brown and Indigenous men, women and children being terrorized, punched, kicked, tackled, choked and outright shot down by police all over this country is the context in which to examine how a woman driving down a residential road, minding her own business could end up dead after forgetting to signal a lane change.  

It is horrifying to face the outright murder of human beings and it is equally horrifying to face the terrorizing of people to the point that they harm themselves.  Either way the system of white supremacy and the people that hold authority in that system are responsible for this woman’s life being stolen from her and from those that loved her just as it is responsible for stealing Sarah Lee Circle Bear from her children and family.  These stories are just two of too many to count and each life stolen by white supremacy breaks the hearts of so many and continues to terrorize whole communities in our country.    

No comments:

Post a Comment