I wonder what the experience of living in a thoughtful country or society is like. Living in the United States denies its citizens such an experience. No better case helps showcase our anti-intellectual climate than public discussions and expressed opinions regarding race and racial justice. Perhaps Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and both the current NYC Police Chief and NYC Patrolmen Benevolent Association President, Bill Bratton and Patrick Lynch have no experience dealing with a single, mentally ill, black man for ostensibly* killing two police officers in revenge for the non-convictions of white police officers who killed unarmed black American (young) men (*I say “ostensibly” because Brinsley is DERANGED so his relationship to logic and reason should be discredited). When deranged white men kill theater goers or young white boys kill elementary school teachers and students, they’re always “brilliant” and lack the “criminal background” of Ismaaiyl Brinsley. Brinsley’s criminal past includes robbery, carrying a concealed gun, and shooting an ex-girlfriend. Rather than the gun control conversation after the shootings at the movie theatre and the elementary school with their intersection with discussions of mental illness, we have people blaming the current NYC Mayor, protestors, and the President of the United States for sanctioning Brinsley’s crimes. Instead of a substantive conversation about the continuation of the tragedies stemming from this intersection, Giuliani, Brattan and Lynch linked protests associated with #BlackLivesMatter and Color of Change as catalysts for the horrible gunning down of two officers. I guess if protestors stop making noise and challenging brutal, racist, and lethal police tactics regarding black and brown Americans, police officers would be safe and appropriately respected for their service to the community. But if the protests end, how might we ever see the end of police brutality?
Politically, I understand why #BlackLivesMatter and Color of Change issued statements in response to Brinsley’s deranged and lethal attack on two men for what they symbolized, but in a thoughtful society such statements wouldn’t seem necessary; “derangement” would actually mean something. Rather than seriously examining the pervasive violence in the United States, instead of an intense consideration for the maintenance of malicious racial stereotypes of black Americans as vengeful, violent, and hate-filled the public discourse surrounding one man’s derangement and his crime has turned into a vapid conversation about all black people (especially those protesting or supporting protests) endorsing revenge killings. This red herring may be why race relations in the United States are still stuck in the antebellum period.