Officer Alex responds to a recent opinion piece in the daily paper
Mr. David Cook of the Chattanooga Times Free Press:
Allow me to use this platform to applaud you for a bold stand you have recently taken in your opinion piece on Aug. 30 in going against the grain, and pointing out the stark contrast between the events of 7/16/2015 in Chattanooga and the reactions to the murders of young black men in the same municipality.
Those whose ire you risk raising are vicious and unsparing in their wrath, and whose passion trumps statistical and otherwise factual data in general. A force with selective thinking is indeed a force to be reckoned with, and I speak from experience, hence my admiration.
To reiterate your point, the murders in Chattanooga on 7/16 indeed overshadowed the deaths of the eight others you point to that occurred over this last year. So if “all human lives matter,” how could this be?
Perhaps, some would say, “Because those eight deaths were interspersed... Some by days, weeks, even months since January 1.”
They would say, “That is actually kind of different from a mass murder that exclusively targeted military personnel in the course of minutes and ended with the violent death of the offender by police officers after an officer was gravely wounded.”
But you have transcended the passion of the moment, piercing this haze and casting the light of the truth on it.
Your specific references to Ferguson and Baltimore, in relation to this targeting of military personnel? Your specific phrasing that “human lives matter” and directly mentioning “the national protest movement…against police abuses”?
And again at the end, that this most recently murdered young (black) man’s “life mattered”?
I heard you. “We” heard you, sir. You have clearly taken the bold step of pointing out what others have only whispered until now. Why were the deaths of those eight black men treated differently than the attack on July 16 at a Naval Operations Station?
If it can’t be the fact that it was a mass murder, then I can only interpret the meaning of your words being that you are finally illustrating that the public isn’t up in arms, and more specifically that even “activists” aren’t up in arms about the violent and unnecessary deaths of these local men.
None of these eight were killed by police as was the impetus for Ferguson or Baltimore, so I can only conclude that you are finally addressing the fact that the public and the “Black Lives Matter” movement you are referencing has no concern over the fact that these young men died from the number-one cause of death of young black and brown men in this country (to use your phrasing): Not police officers; rather, other young black men.
By focusing only on the deaths of black men by police officers elsewhere per your references, I agree with your implied conclusion that #BlackLivesMatter activists are specifically and selectively choosing to ignore the tragic and violent deaths of those you specified.
Three black victims were murdered in a five-day period back in April, according to the publication for which you write (“Three Chattanooga Homicides in a Five-day Span,” Shelly Bradbury, 04/18/2015); in one of those, it states, two suspects arrested were validated gang members, one already a suspect in an earlier homicide and one of them having shot at Chattanooga police officers as they were pursued in their victim’s vehicle.
Even after they tried to kill police officers, they survived despite the national conversation contrary to this, further illustrating your assumed point about local activism.
People of color are disproportionately being killed in this town, and there are no flags. Few fundraisers for their families. And silence from those most allegedly concerned with their lives.
You are clearly not one desperately trying to lay a national template over our local problems and therefore fan already too-hot flames, because it’s a factually different conversation. A different dynamic. In this town young men are trying to kill police officers, not the other way around—and they are surviving it.
Their lives do matter, and I agree—the cause of their deaths is being ignored by the public and the activists supposedly most concerned for them. When they come for you for daring to speak out, brace yourself…but know that you have support.
I salute you, sir.
When officer Alexander D. Teach is not patrolling our fair city on the heels of the criminal element, he spends his spare time volunteering for the Boehm Birth Defects Center.
Photo by Kay Pat