Police Shooting View from along the rio grande, writersoftheriogrande

Police Shootings…Or more accurately the shooting by police of innocent or non-life threatening suspects or citizens. It is an issue that has consumed the nation recently.The uproar and the umbrage have reached tsunami proportions.

In the recent past the outrage has split along racial divides, for reasons ranging from obvious to occult. Whatever reasons for the manslaughter (I think that is most likely the nearest descriptive and accurate word for the killings) there are reasons for it. There is cause and effect. The examination of this phenomenon has produced more heat than light. Hopefully, from the rather unique viewpoint of border life some illumination may be shone on this tragedy.

Unjustified police manslaughter has been framed as a black and white issue. On the southern border of the United States along the Rio Grande River, this is not the case for one obvious reason; there are along the border region only traces and very small percentages of African American population, again for whatever reasons or reason. That is a whole other column. What we have here along the border is an overwhelming Latino population, and out of that percentage largely of Mexican descent. Along the border reside some of the most poor and deprived of people with a poverty rate exceeding anything in even the most inner and deprived African-American areas of the United States. Yet among Latinos as a percentage of population the rate of police shootings is substantially less. Caucasian Americans fare better per capita but do suffer the most deaths in sheer volume. Asian Americans fare the best of all. Only a few are killed each year by police action.

One item to note is that denoting who is Latino and who is not can throw sand in the record keeping. Record keeping protocols vary amongst agencies and police departments.

Also there is a political element as well. When during the Trayvon Martin killing some years ago, George Zimmerman was most often called white. If the situation had been different much of the same press that called him white would have called him Hispanic; His father was Jewish and his mother was Peruvian. Affirmative Action starts at 25% minority mix. Or it did at one time. It kind of comes down to what this group or that group wants for whatever particular reason.

I must say this article is getting complicated and messy. But it is vital. Lives may be saved by addressing this issue.

Anyone that who studies  police shootings at all will soon realize how high the weeds are when it comes to sorting out the statistics on what group suffers what in relation to their population percentage, and why this particular group is more of a victim than another group is; and the stats are usually manipulated according to what each particular  interest group is trying to accomplish. Usually everyone wants to be the group that has the greatest victim hood status.

I think it best to just move on from all that, because it might never be resolved; and a lot of the partisans involved in the debate, or investigation, don’t want it to be.

But here are some observations:

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Author: Editor


5 Responses to Police Shootings: View From Along The Banks of the Rio Grande

  1. Eugene "Gene"Novogrodsky says:

    …reread it several times. I feel it is a good survey of the now of police, guns, the public and government.

    I wish many civics classes, criminal justice classes, even book clubs …would read and discuss this ….

    For now, “Officer, tell me what you do NOT want me to do!”

    There have been some good examples of better training of officers.

  2. Editor says:

    As I talk to more people, more and more facets and aspects of police-citizen interaction surface. One thing I wasn’t really aware of is that in many police departments a convicted, either criminally or civilly, officer is just passed on to other departments. A municipality may have paid out millions in civil judgements because of a policemans actions, still he is shuttled of to another department on the other side of the country. And more trouble comes up there. And the taxpayers are on the hook for millions and millions, yet very few officers are ever convicted for their misdeeds. It is reminescent of the way the Catholic Church handled pedophile priests for years, shuttling them from diocese to diocese. In essence throwing the hot potato to someone else.

    There is much more to explore I’m sure. But what should be a non-partisan goal of safe and sane law enforcement, officer safety, citizens safety, and respect for rights, has become a political wedge issue. Speaking of that, almost everything is a political wedge issue. This needs to stop.

  3. Eugene "Gene"Novogrodsky says:

    …to understand how many many blacks feel when stopped for usually minor traffic infractions, read: TEARS WE CANNOT STOP by M.E.Dyson …It is a HUGE part of the guns and cops tale ….

    …and to repeat, wise for drivers and others to be cautious in the face of cops, and for cops to be MUCH better trained ,,,,

    …alas, if no guns so easily available, then ….

    …and cops need to KNOW the roads, streets, citizens much better …and locally …get out of cars, walk beats ….

  4. Bill Rovira says:

    I live in Reynosa, in fact I have lived here for over 6 years. I wish your article said something more specific about police shootings of civilians in this environment. It is most definitely a factor. In the past few months there have been many collateral shootings resulting in either death or serious injury. The one that bore most heavily on the conscience and psyche of a city was the death of a teacher and his wife who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The issue here is extremely complex. I enjoyed your artice but it cries out for the kinds of specifics that you can only really produce if you live here in the middle of it. Still, thanks for your piece.

  5. Editor says:

    Thanks for your input Bill. Police actions across the border exist in a whole other dimension from the world just across the Rio Grande. One thing that is really lacking in the press these days is intimate and detailed information on what is going on in Reynosa and other border communities. It seems at times that people have just thrown up their hands over the crime, corruption and suffering in Mexico.
    Police and military impunity is bad in the U.S. and on a whole other level in Mexico.

    By the way, it is very courageous to live in Reynosa at the present time.

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