One thing that irks me is the common refrain of “Why don’t you protest like this over black-on-black crime?” Or… “This black guy was unjustly shot… I thought that all black lives matter?”
This. Is. Gaslighting.
Today’s lesson will be the difference between civilian-on-civilian homicide and government-on-civilian homicide.
A homicide is a homicide right? Not even various state and local governments agree with that. In Texas, depending on the circumstances of the homicide, you could either be charged with capital murder, murder, voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide.
If law enforcement is willing to recognize the differences in the circumstances of homicide, why aren’t those that are staunch defenders of law enforcement (and I say this as someone that is NOT anti-police) willing to engage in whataboutism to ignore this?
Anyway… the key point is the following: even though it happens far less frequently, a government-on-civilian homicide can terrorize a population far more than any local civilian-on-civilian homicide can.
Protests are vertical from the bottom up in nature; this means that protestors weaponize their collective power to demand accountability and change from a concentrated power — which in most cases is the government.
Horizontal protests do happen — that is in response to a civilian-on-civilian homicide, albeit not as frequently. Here in Houston, the heinous murder of 4-year-old Maleah Davis led to a protest outside the Harris County Courthouse last year. The protestors criticized both the girl’s mother and CPS.
Aside from that, of course protests are going to be more intense when it is directed towards government than just another civilian. When a civilian does a despicable act, the public expects law enforcement, the criminal justice system at large, and ultimately, the due process of law to hold that civilian accountable. Protestors, in effect, are demanding the same level of scrutiny and accountability for law enforcement officers that commit the same despicable acts and address long-standing systemic social issues that causes the population to be terrorized by act(s) that agents of local government carry out, relatively speaking, very rarely.