If you use the internet at all, which I assume that you do, since you are here, you’ve surely heard about the most recent shootings, including two men, and almost a dozen cops. Many people are posting their opinions on the matter– who is at fault, what needs to change, and how everyone should be reacting.
While that’s fine, talking about will get more people involved, and hopefully something will change, there are some troubling things being posted on social media. I’ve seen a lot of people saying things like “If you are talking about this, then you are part of the problem” or “If you don’t post about this, then you are ignoring the problem, and you are the reason this keeps happening”. Comments like these are a huge problem.
I am one of those awful people who didn’t post a 15-tweet long rant on the issue. I also didn’t post a 1-tweet long rant, if you were wondering. This is the first thing that I have published, on any platform, even remotely related to the recent shootings. Apparently, that means that it’s my fault that people have died. Though, I suppose, not anymore, since, you know, I’m posting something now. I guess I’m off the hook.
Anyway, the reason that I, personally, didn’t post anything, is because I don’t have enough information to form an opinion on the matter. To me, immediately taking a side, based on a 15 second video, is more problematic than not saying anything at all.
Was Alton Sterling at fault? Was the cop overly aggressive? Did the guy pose a threat to the cop?
I can’t answer any of these questions. I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t there. We don’t really know what happened before the cops arrived. We don’t really know what happened when the cops did get there. All we saw was a struggle between the two, and then shots were fired.
I’m not taking a side, but what if Alton Sterling had a knife in his pocket that we couldn’t see in the video? We don’t really know that that cop didn’t feel threatened. The point is, we don’t know what happened.
To avoid false accusations, I refrained from making any statements. And I’m not just keeping my opinion to myself. I really don’t know who was overly aggressive, and who was acting in self-defense. I don’t know. My first reaction, from that video clip, was that the cop was wrong. But I don’t know what happened. How can I form an opinion?
Just like with Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Freddie Gray, I’ll wait until I have more information before spewing misguided opinions and accusations onto social media. If that makes me racist, or part of the problem, then so be it. But remember, there are other ways to solve problems than blowing up your friends twitter feeds.