Ken Berwitz

From an article at NBC News-Chicago: 

During the secondnight of protests over the Laquan McDonald shooting, police made severalarrests after some demonstrators tore off lights from the Christmas treestanding in Millennium Park.

Video shows a group ofprotesters just before 10:00 p.m. yanking the lights from the bottom of thetree. Police quickly responded to disperse the crowd. Investigators have notsaid exactly how many arrests were made.

Dozens of protesterstook to the streets in Chicago\’s Loop during rush hour Wednesday calling for”justice for Laquan” after video of the teen\’s fatal 2014 shootingwas released Tuesday. 

Demonstrators marcheddown State Street and at one point blocked traffic near State and Randolphstreets. They were heard chanting “the whole damn system is guilty.”

To summarize:  in a city where, as of several days ago (it probably has changed since then) there have been 453 homicides and over 2,700 shootings this year alone.  A large majority have been Black males attacking other Black males.  But the #blacklivesmatter “group” (if you can call it that) goes to the streets only when it is a White cop shooting/killing a Black suspect – one who was running, not walking down the middle of the street waving a knif – and, if you believe the police account, was reaching for something in his waistband.

Can someone explain to me why, if Black lives matter, the marches, protests, and in this case, vandalism, only occurred when a racial component might be involved?  (I say “might” because the fact that McDonald was Black and Van Dyke is White does not inherently mean his skin color was the reason for this shooting.) Where were the marches and protests for the hundreds of other Black homicide victims this year?  Last year?

Can someone explain to me why, if Black lives matter, those Black lives didn\’t matter to the #blacklivesmatter crowd?  

Can someone explain to me why I should not conclude that they don\’t give a damn about Black lives, except when Black lives can be used in this manner?

And, assuming you have a credible explanation (I have not heard one yet), can you then explain to me what blocking streets and vandalizing property has to do with protesting the loss of Black lives?

Let\’s assume the worst.  Let\’s assume that Laquan McDonald was not reaching for anything in his waistband; that he was shot dead in cold blood when he could have been subdued in a different way.  Let\’s assume that the police officer, Jason Van Dyke, is a stone-cold racist who went looking for Black blood that night.

If that is true, then how is street anarchy – which is what is occurring in Chicago right now – going to change it?  Is vandalizing a Christmas tree an appropriate memorial to Laquan McDonald?  Does blocking the street – which inconveniences and annoys all citizens of Chicago of all races – accomplish something besides hardening racial animosity?

Yes, there is racism in Chicago – as everywhere else; it is part of the human condition.  

Yes, a White cop shot and killed a Black suspect, and kept shooting after he was immobilized and still alive.

Yes, that cop should – and will – be brought to trial, and convicted of murder if there is no further explanation – and, yes, it is very hard to see what further explanation there could be.

If Officer Van Dyke were not being accused of murder, and were not going to trial, there would be a reason to march.  

And if there were a scourge of White police killing Black people for nothing, there would be a reason to march.

But the truth is that Van Dyke is being accused of murder, is going to trial, the number of shootings/killings by police is a tiny fraction of the the total deaths in Chicago (7 this year), and, in most instances, were fully justified.

So I will ask again: what will #blacklivesmattter\’s disruptive protests, which include vandalism, accomplish, other than hardening racial animosity?

I\’d love some answers.  Anyone?

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