Imagine if you will, a modern post-Nazi Germany where a disproportionately large number of Jews were killed by German policy and where a disproportionately large number of Jews were imprisoned and sentenced to death, strapped to tables and chairs and killed by the German government. Imagine how the general German population might feel about this. Imagine how the international community might feel about this. Imagine how absurd it would sound when a blond haired blue eyed German said, "Jews sure have come a long way since Hitler" or "If Jews don't want to get killed by the police then they should give up all of their rights when they encounter any policy office, just in case." Imagine a Jewish man, let's name him Anton Sterk. Imagine him standing around, selling some CDs out of the back of his car in Germany. Imagine that he might even be illegally selling those CDs. Now imagine the post-Nazi German police tackling Anton--a father, a husband, a human being, Jewish--and eventually shooting him to death. You'd look at this and you'd wonder, how could Germany of all places let this happen after all it did to the Jewish people? How?
But then do you turn your gaze to our own examples, Alton Sterling, and the thousands like him in American Prisons, hundreds like him legally executed by the U.S. government, and hundreds like him getting executed by white police in America, and do you not wonder, after our history with slavery, after the legal and overt brutalization and dehumanization of human beings of a very specific demographic, do you now not flinch (if not retch) every time you see one of these tragedies played across our T.V. screens? We're sick America. We're sick in big and important ways. Even if you're related to a good cop; even if you are a good cop; or perhaps especially because you are one of those things, you should absolutely be disgusted with our history of violence toward black people. It's abhorrent. It was abhorrent in the 1800s. And it's abhorrent today, in 2016.
And please please please, all you second amendment advocates, don't shirk now. Now's your time to do your duty. There are a group of people being oppressed by our government, and they aren't white farmers or white kids in the suburbs. They more than anyone, if we are to believe second amendment advocates, need to be armed. So don't now tell them if they don't want bad interactions with the police they should never be armed. Don't tell them to lay down and be trampled at the first sign of the police. This is there country. Their freedoms. Their rights. They deserve better. We should be better. At some point white America has to recognize how terribly wrong slavery was and how important it is for our humanity to avoid even the near appearance of ever going there again. We have to openly discuss it. Feel shame and remorse about it. Recognize the privilege it still provides us today. Tackle it head on. We can look to Germany for hints on how to do this. They turned Auschwitz into a history museum while we bury all hints of slavery in the past. They make the death penalty illegal while we eagerly kill those we perceive as having sinned against us. We still have young black men shot and killed by police on a seemingly monthly basis. They looked in the mirror; we broke ours. Rather than say, "black people have come a long way since slavery" we need to stand up and say, "white people still have a ways to go since slavery."
R.I.P. Alton Sterling. I weep for you. Your children. Your wife. Your family. Your friends. Your community. Black America. And the tragedy that is white denial.