Elijah McClain was flat out murdered in the streets. He was walking home and was a victim of "looking like someone who fit a description." Nothing about his death was okay, and he WAS a victim of police brutality.
George Floyd was not a squeaky clean choir boy, but he did not deserve to be put into a choke hold for almost nine minutes while the officers ignored his cries for help and denied him medical attention that could have saved his life. He WAS a victim of police brutality.
Ahmaud Aubery was jogging down the street when he was confronted by a former police officer and his son who were being vigilante cops. Their armed citizen's arrest nonsense led to a struggle in which Aubrey lost his life for nothing. Though some will bristle at this classification, he WAS a victim of police brutality and vigilante justice.
But what about the latest "victim?" What about Jacob Blake. Surely he was a fourth victim of police brutality, right?
No, he wasn't, and I intend to lay out the case as to why.
The case is most similar, in fact, to that of Michael Brown who assaulted an officer prior to his death. There are strong parallels, but before I go there, I want to make one thing clear, Jacob Blake's death, justifiable or not, does not make ANY of the above deaths acceptable or okay. You can't use his or Michael Brown's death to justify the improper death of another. Two wrongs don't make a right.
You see, facts are stubborn things, and the facts of this case are VASTLY different from the three that opened this article. Mr. Blake had an open warrant for sexual assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse incident that occurred on July 6th (no it WAS NOT WITH A MINOR), the police were called specifically to deal with Mr. Blake, Mr. Blake was trespassing, Mr. Blake was not supposed to be in contact with the woman that was there, Mr. Blake was not intervening in a fight, Mr. Blake was refusing to return the keys to a vehicle that he did not own, Mr. Blake did attempt to enter that same vehicle that he did not own, Mr. Blake did assault officers, and Mr. Blake was armed with a knife and stated verbally that he had a gun and that he was going to get it.
Does that mean he needed to be shot seven times? No, I don't believe so, but remember, once an officer uses his firearm, it's deadly force, not wounding force. It's not designed to wound someone. At the point of discharge, the intent is neutralization. So, there shouldn't be a surprise that there were seven shots fired, in fact, it would have been more surprising if there were only one.
Now, I'm not going to enter into the fray of bullet counting like some do, nor am I going to attempt to tell you whether or not the shooting of Mr. Blake was justified or not. What I'm going to tell you is that equivocating his death with those three individuals named above is a travesty of both justice and truth. They are not alike, and things that are different cannot be the same.
You see, when you take up arms for a cause, literally in this case, you have to be ABSOLUTELY sure that you're doing the right thing. You have to be ABSOLUTELY sure that you've got all the facts; but most importantly, you have to be ABSOLUTELY sure that you don't shame or diminish the things that you are fighting for. When you bring discredit and dishonor upon your own cause the opposition will pounce on it, and it has happened.
By claiming that Jacob Blake is simply the, "next in a string of victims," you have tied him, inseperably, to those three above. You have allowed his lawless behavior to be used to justify the lawless behavior exhibited towards the others, and in doing so, you have diminished their cause even more, as if the riots weren't doing that already. It has become harder to speak out against police officer brutality when people claim abuse, even if there may be genuine cause, because people wonder if it'll just be another Mike Brown or Jacob Blake situation where facts come out later that contradict the early reporting.
I want to see justice for McClain, Floyd, and Aubery. I want to see convictions and not cop out / scapegoat legal antics that don't hold police at least as accountable as we hold Soldiers in foreign wars. Yet that is exactly what is being jeopardized when you do things like this.
By creating a reasonable doubt in the fabric surrounding these cases, you create a legal loophole that can be used to defend the perpetrators in the other cases. After all, if they got it that wrong when reporting on Jacob Blake, then couldn't they have gotten it wrong with the others? The answer is no, but we're not being fast talked by a smooth defense lawyer using mitigating statutes to attempt to lead us to a "reasonable doubt" and thereby exonerate his client.
This is why it is so important to keep a level and rational head on our shoulders at times like these. This is why it's not okay to just shoot from the hip and overreact. This is why we cannot treat Jacob Blake as if he was another Elijah McClain. Because by doing so, we risk the justice that they so rightly deserve.
No, Jacob Blake and his situation has nothing in common with those other three, other than his skin color. And to discredit the travesty of justice committed against those men by attempting to lump this incident in with theirs is sickening. Innocent men were killed. Their blood cries out for justice, proper justice, to be done. Let us not dishonor that fact by bringing in muddied events to attempt to grow the narrative.