My latest column is up at AND Magazine!
The other night, I was watching a live feed out of Dallas – coverage of the assassination of multiple police officers, and the chaos on the streets as they tried to locate and stop the shooter. In the end, five officers are dead, and the politics have already begun.
One thing that has caught many people’s attention was a young black man who was openly carrying a rifle at the protest. Open carry is legal in Texas, so there was nothing wrong with what he was doing – but someone had snapped his picture, and after the shooting started, they sent it to Dallas police, who put it on Twitter, saying that he was a person of interest, and they needed help in locating him. Within minutes, his picture was plastered on TVs across the nation.
It didn’t take long for word to get back to him that police were looking for him, so he sought out Dallas police officers, handed over his rifle, and turned himself in. He was questioned, and then released.
So while police officers were being shot at in Dallas, a young black man approached officers while carrying a rifle, and he was not killed.
This is the problem with the sensationalism that happens when a black person is shot by police. We see a cell-phone video that shows part of an incident, or hear unreliable descriptions from people who saw part of whatever went down, and it gets spread all across the nation. Millions of people jump to conclusions, so that by the time the fact come in, everyone’s opinions have already formed, and it no longer matters what the facts are – our minds are made up.