November 27th, 2006


The Tragic Tale of Sean Bell in Queens

When you hear that cops fired 50 bullets into three unarmed men, you tend to think the worst about those NYPD officers on scene.

And then Reverend Al Sharpton shows up and you can't help but wonder if this isn't just another case of the little boy who cried "Race!"

Look, I like the Reverend, I think he's great; what he does for the community and morale of black people living in New York and around the country in times of crisis: A-#1. But, some people you just can't talk to rationally because they won't sit and listen to what you have to say. They get an opinion about something, and until that something is resolved, they don't want to hear about any extenuating circumstances.

There's something wrong with the NYPD and, indeed, police officers all over, but it has nothing to do with competency and little to do with racism. These pigs are fucking Trigger Happy and they have every damned right to be! If it's me and you in the middle of the night in Queens outside of some nightclub that's already under surveillance for prostitution and drugs and gun-running, and there's some kinda fight between drunken patrons who are supposedly mentioning bringing in guns to escalate the situation, I'm not thinking twice if you're black or not, your ass is going down, because I'm not trying to get my ass shot. So yeah, there's something wrong with these Trigger Happy cops ... they're scared out of their minds of being shot at by lunatics trolling the streets!

Thinking about 50 shots being fired - 31 by just one man - and you think that's a little excessive. But, you gotta get all the facts. These dudes are in a car and they're ramming into a Police Van, backing up, and ramming into it again. That's quite the hail of bullets, but if your ass is hanging out there, you can't afford to wait around to SEE whether the person has a gun or not. Because by the time you see they have a weapon, you could be going down before you get the chance to fend them off.

If these people are such good, upstanding young men as their friends and family say (which, by the way, I wouldn't doubt their words as they're grieving and all), then why didn't they just comply? Why doesn't ANYONE just simply comply with the cops? No, instead you mouth off, or your ram their police van with your car - which presents a clear threat to those officers on the scene - and you wonder why you got blown away. Just stop, say nothing, and get your asses on the fucking ground! You should know by now that police officers aren't gonna be taking any more shit! They've been involved in too many shoot-outs to take any more shit.

But, I'll give you one thing (and, granted, more may come to light when the other two victims who didn't die are able to speak to the media), you look at three black guys coming out of a shady nightclub in the wee morning hours, and you're talking substantial Profiling going on right off the bat. Odds are, being from New York, the cops are figuring more often than not that since these people are black, they're sure to have guns. Is it fair? Oh hell no. And maybe they could've been warned a little bit more before their car was lambasted with 50 bullets (actually, I guess less than half were accurate at close range - so maybe poor hand/eye coordination is another thing wrong with NY-po-po). But, does it explain why they rammed twice into the police van?

Does it bode well that this is coming on the heels of Kramer's racist tirade? Probably not, though he seems to be making the correct amends by appearing on Jesse Jackson's radio show. It seems like every few years, there are racial flare-ups that result in rioting against injustice. You never like to see it, but sometimes this country just needs a wake-up call. With the repealing of Affirmative Action laws and the increasing belief that the status of black people rests solely on their own shoulders, this country sometimes needs a reminder that hundreds of years of slavery and brutal injustice can't be simply made up by a couple decades of half-ass playfield leveling.

I just don't think this situation needs to be the catalyst. Is it tragic, coming a day before the guy's wedding to his high school sweetheart (yes, black people can have high school sweethearts too, imagine that)? Of course it is, but there were other factors at play here and this just smacks of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Choose your Stag Parties wisely, gentlemen. You never know when you're walking blindly into a river of bullets.