What Do You Do With Philando Castile?

I’ve never once walked down a street and been afraid of being stopped by a cop.

I’ve never gotten in my car and worried that I might be pulled over for simply driving.

I’ve never worried about having my cellphone’s camera on the ready to record video.

I’ve never had a friend get arrested that didn’t deserve it.

I’ve never had a police officer draw a gun on me out of fear.

I’ve never worried about what to teach my son to do when in the presence of a police officer.

I’ve never worried about the law not working in my favor.

I’ve never worried about being accused of wrongdoing because of what I’m wearing, how I’m talking, or where I’m going.

Why would I?

I’m white. And these days, that makes all the difference.

I have zero words that will make sense of what happened to Alton Sterling or Philando Castile. That’s because no words exist that could make sense of either situation.

I know plenty of people who will try and tell me that Alton Sterling was up to something. That he resisted arrested, that the video doesn’t clearly show where his hands were during the altercation, that he had a criminal background.

Okay. Fine.

What do you do with Philando Castile?

A registered and licensed gun owner. A man who worked in a school. A man out for a drive with an alleged broken tail light, who was shot for some unknown reason.

Unless there was a reason.

Unless it is because Philando Castile is black.

He followed the rules. He obeyed the police. He was shot four times. He bled to death in his car in front of the people he loved.

And I can’t help but think it was because

he

is

black.

I’ve had several people ask me what my blog post was going to be on this issue. What do you have to say? What’s your take?

My take is that I’m genuinely scared for people who aren’t white like me. My take is our society has a race issue that runs deeper than we will admit, because it changes how the men and women sworn to protect all of us actually do their jobs.

I’m not going to castigate police officers as a whole, but good God Almighty, if we’re going to talk about screening the ever-loving crap out of anyone who wants to buy a gun, we’d better start doing a better job at screening the people we issue one as part of their job.

Because if you can’t approach a black man, a brown man, or a person who isn’t whiter than an Osmond dance album without a genuine fear for your life, then you shouldn’t be out on patrol.

And if you can’t handle a routine traffic stop of a person of color without shooting him in the chest in front of a kid, then you shouldn’t wear a badge.

I have people who will give me hell over what I’ve just typed. They’ll call me out for not knowing all of the facts, or for offering an opinion before the entire story is known. A few of them will be people who just want me to shut up.

But most of them are honorable men and women who either serve on a police force or have a loved one who serves. And I will feel conflicted because I appreciate their service and understand it is a far more challenging job than I could ever hope to understand.

I will feel sick to my stomach because I’ve read their posts on how, in this day and age, cops are genuinely unsure what may happen on even routine stops. I will feel for the officers who do the hard work in the scary parts of our towns and cities. They should be commended for what they do.

But they should also be the first ones shouting from the rooftops for the removal of those people who cannot serve with honor.

They should also not be okay with people posting things like Don’t resist arrest or Just do what the cops say and it will be fine.

It wasn’t for Philando Castile. It isn’t for a lot of young men who look like him.

And it needs to stop.

I have no simple solutions. How do you teach people not to fear someone who is different? How do you reprogram decades – hell, centuries – of seeing certain people a certain way? The closest I’ve been able to come is to tell my children to see people for their character, not their skin color.

But what good does that do?

While I’m teaching my kids that “Jesus loves the little children” a friend of mine is teaching her teenage son that he has to follow the rules even when the rules seem to change all the time for people with his skin color.

So no, I don’t know what to do, except to say that it needs to stop.

Shooting someone because you are scared of their skin color must stop.

Black lives matter, and it’s a damn shame we have to be reminded of that.

31 thoughts on “What Do You Do With Philando Castile?

  1. We ALL need to follow the rules. You don’t see white people destroying innocent people’s property when they’re mad at the establishment over something – that’s a black culture thing. Then they go around shooting each other and it’s not a reason to riot and destroy property, only if it’s a white person who does the shooting. Then it’s a race issue, not an accident or a murder or an incident of self defense. Give them a chance to figure out who really is at fault before you start race-baiting, because that’s the REAL problem.

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      1. Maggie…… apparently the words of this Blog went right over your head… and you STILL don’t understand what it is to be Black…

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    1. No Maggie, white people do not riot during protest. They just destroy cars,loot and riot when their favorite sports team win a championship. I guess that’s a white culture thing. Please don’t bring up black on black crime, we all know there are problems. Open your mind and see the issues. It’s people like u who want to place blame instead of really looking at the issue. I’m a college educated, married with 2 black boys ( 1 in college). Even though we teach them to comply, that didnt help Mr. Castillo. My 18 child told me last before he was going out when i reminded him of what’s going on…. he’s words to me “I know I’m scared”….. if you know of any white child that leaves his house and says those words, you should understand…But, I bet you don’t.

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      1. I am trying to teach my 12 year old biracial child to beaware and be carefull and follow authority instructions. He doesnt seem to understans why people want to be mean to him cause hes part black. I have told him…. Son your black, society doesnt see you as “part” black. Your a black male be proud of who you are. Just becareful. As a single white mother. I dont understand what hes going to go thru in life… But i know i have become more fearful for his life in the last 6 years…i want to lock him in the house and keep him safe!!

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    2. Maggie, the only true and sensible part of your comment was the first line: “We ALL need to follow the rules.”
      Soooo, you don’t get the methodology behind he marches and riots. Yes, it is to disrupt and destroy property because that grinds the daily routine to a screeching halt!!!! Look at us!!! Look at what has been done here! In this instance! People don’t like it when property is damaged but it’s OK for lives to be lost? It’s fun and games and kids just being kids when whites turn over cars and burn city blocks after a disappointing sports events, right? They usually do worse damage and it is filmed and reported with a different headline! They’re not called thugs or savages for acting that way over inconsequential matters, are they?
      And it’s not about the crimes we ALL commit against each other. All races kill within their own race. That’s a topic for another discussion. We are talking about people of color being murdered by supposed noncriminals… that’s the difference. The prison industrial complex is a monster that is fed by cops on the street. It’s about people of color being profiled and hunted to Feed The BEAST! The cops are not convicted when there’s video evidence so jut let your heart and brain imagine what has been done for centuries before this technology was available? At the end of city alleys or on back country roads? Our elders tell us stories and we’ve all seen civil rights footage with the dogs and batons…imagine what we haven’t seen. The stories that didn’t make the headlines. We have an ingrained fear of this system that was designed and engineered especially for us. From slave patrolmen to highway patrolmen, we are the target. So maybe you just don’t get it but at least admit that you don’t want to get it.

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      1. Gigi…why didn’t ANYONE riot when the 9 year old black child was shot in Chicago as gang retaliation against his daddy? That little boy didn’t matter to anyone. Sad fact is none of the protesters give 2 rips about people getting killed every day by their own…..that might involve some retrospection…..black genocide is being carried out by blacks…..they don’t really need the help of the cops to kill off the blacks in America. Other blacks are doing a bang up job already. Police yoursrlves, clean p your own neighborhoods and see how many fewer blacks get killed by ANYONE.

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    3. People just don’t want the facts. No one in this case does. All they know is what the female recorded after the incident instead of giving aid to her boyfriend. She did not even call 911 but rather someone to come pick her up. Now I know the PD had already inform dispatch but she should have called to.

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      1. Oh please think about the twisted “logic” you spew. You call 911 to get the police. The police were who just shot and killed your fiance in front of you and your child. So is there super 911 when 911 has clearly failed?

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  2. Jason,

    You’re absolutely right about what I’m going to say… You really don’t know all the details in the Philando Castile shooting. I will make this statement up front: If the officer didn’t reasonably believe that Philando Castile was going for his gun and intended to shoot him, the officer should be indicted, tried and go to prison. Unfortunately, we don’t know what happened yet and many people are too quick to condemn. However, for you to assume that this was about race without any proof at this point is absolutely wrong. Unless of course you have proof that this was about race that you failed to post to substantiate your claim.

    In the other shooting… A convicted felon with an illegal gun engaged in a physical fight with two police officers shortly after they received a 911 call that he had threatened a homeless man with his illegal gun. Without debating the details of the shooting, that one was doomed to a bad end from the start.

    Also, your comments that your friend has to teach their child to deal with police and you don’t is a little disingenuous. I hope that we are all teaching our children that they must follow the rules. I’ve taught my children the proper way to act around adults, other people and authority figures including the police. If you haven’t done the same with yours, you are missing out on an important parenting lesson.

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    1. There was no physical fight. He was tasered before he was tackled. His body was still in shock. 2000 years of European destruction are coming to a DEAD END

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      1. I have seen someone tazed in front of me in the ER and it did not a darn thing to him….it doesn’t always work…life is not TV and he was still moving…saw it myself on the video, he was moving after he was shot…so it’s time to stop.

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  3. Jason

    Im proud of you. Using your digital soapbox like this is the right thing to do. All those late nights in the basement of Blue Sky – I knew you had important things to do with your life. Keep it up.

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  4. Thank you, Jason, for your sincere words. I agree that these murders need to stop whether it’s a black man being stopped by a cop, or a cop being targeted by an enraged person of color. Where is the respect for a human life? No one seems to be thinking about this when they are pulling a trigger. Death is truly not the answer to solving these problems.

    Unfortunately, it appears that far too many police officers are trigger happy and only fear that which they do not understand (in these cases, people of color). Unfortunately, there are people of color who react out of emotion and have the “kill the white man” mentality.

    I’m not sure what the solution is, but I am heartbroken by the fact that I have to constantly remind my son about his mannerisms should he be stopped by a police officer. It has been shown that regardless if he does the right thing, or not, there is always the possibility that he might not make it home…ALIVE.

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  5. While there maybe a few Police Officers trigger happy as you say, most officers hope they never have to use their weapon. The few bad give people like you a negative opinion of all of them. That is sad

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    1. Did you read the blog? He clearly states that he “will not castigat police officers as a whole”. Later, he further adds “most are honorable”. He doesn’t have a negative opinion of the police. He is simply acknowledging a problem.

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  6. To Carol, the audio of why the car has been released. They were not pulled over because of a broken headlight. They were pulled over because LOOKED like a couple who had robbed a store (I guess he didn’t see the four year old with them) and because Mr. Castillo had a wide nose. Listen to it for yourself. The cop had already profiled the couple and was already looking for something negative to happen. When there is a history to cover up police wrongs and this is a life you are aware of, you film so that there is evidence. If she had not done so, the world would not beware. You obviously do not understand because you don’t live it.

    To Joe, until you look like a person who might have robbed a store and you have a wide nose, you will never understand. In regards to Mr. Sterling, the police attacked him before the ever saw the gun that was never taken. They also didn’t know he had a past criminal record when he was attacked. The store owner felt comfortable with him out there so he could’ve been causing too many problems. But, I’m quite sure you don’t live in a area with the DVD man who sells outside the corner stores. Mr. Castillo was taught to to respect authority and where did that lead to ? He’s dead. If you listen to the video, the girlfriend said sir several times and wasn’t because she was filming, it was because she had been trained to do so.

    So, I say to all again you have close to eye witness accounts to two senseless deaths and yet people continue to come up with excuses. Please look at the news in N. Carolina where a white man was actively shooting at passing cars with a shotgun. Police were called and they wrestled the shotgun away then he took a gun out and they wrestled that away. He was not tased nor shoot nor killed. He was taken to jail and given a $150,000 bond. So until you can explain why someone who was selling DVDs and a loved cafeteria supervisor were killed and their guns were not even taken out, please keep comments and instead listen to what’s going on in this world.

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  7. Jason it is encouraging to see that there are white people, particularly a white male, who has taken the time to see a different perspective. I thank you for recognizing that you are privileged simply by having white skin. Many white people refuse to believe that people are treated differently because of skin color in America 2016. I am a black person living in the south and white people here think that racism ended when Obama was elected as president. In actuality, that is what opened Pandora’s Box. It started a firestorm of hate and Trump came along and fanned the flames. Now our country is burning out of control. Like you, I don’t know what to do. But understanding is a good place to start!

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  8. It’s unreal that we villionize the victim. A young white male walks into a church and murders 9 innocent ppl and he walks out in a bullet proof vest. The young white male that shot up the movie theatre and the schools walk out alive. Even after they have murdered innocent people, however Alton Brown was selling cd’s and gets his head blown off. Philandro was in his car and gets shot 4x???? How is this fair. I have many Police officers in my family and friends however wrong is wrong. The people who use their badge to bully other ppl need to face charges. It’s not all but some. Our country has gone backwards, more people are hating people and following the hatred spewed and fueled by Trump. It’s atrocious, we have to do better as a Country!

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  9. The man had a gun in his LAP….it was right there…he was not registered….that is erroneous and doesn’t even make a difference to an officer who is making a stop on an individual who fits the description…and he sure as h..l does fit the description and looks like the video…of an armed robbery suspect in the area. I don’t know if he ran the tag, or if the tag was registered, if it was, then it came back to him and we all know he has a rap sheet, then he would have already been on the defense for a potential dangerous situation. There is not a single one of us that would willingly let someone shoot us first…tried and convicted a man doing a job, working to provide for his family…a job btw…that pays very little and that I did while I went to school full time to get a BETTER paying job. One where my life wasn’t up for grabs every single day by someone that has absolutely no regard for my life or anyone else’s life. Everyone that sits in judgement of those that keep you safe and anarchy away from your gates should be mandated either military service or a year of police work…that might change your damn attitude about the level of lack of respect for human life that is really out there that they deal with…Well, you saw it yourself…smoking dope in the car with the child…there’s proof that the moral fiber that makes up the “civilized discussion” that you freethinking let’s have utopia society folks isn’t all it should be…we have mores in society for a reason and the collapse of those mores which include lawful obedience, respect for others and authority, moral behavior, hard work, ethics…among a host of other things…are sorely missing in a large segment of our population…anarchy is the only result of that…anyone that has taken a sociology class in their life knows that. If he was reaching for something, you don’t freaking know if it was that gun in his LAP or the wallet in his back pocket…you have only the word of that questionable character smoking dope in front of her child. I will believe the man working for a living and trying to keep us safe until proven otherwise…She is already engaged unlawful behavior, a lie would’t put her over the top and it would just give her more air time.

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  10. It’s unreal that we victimize the police who are out there trying to protect us from ourselves…by and large percentage wise good people…angels really to do what they do for what they are paid. Walk a mile in their shoes and you will see for yourselves just how far society has fallen. It is time to boost up people that do the right thing ALL the time. If someone is murdered in cold blood, then prosecute to the fullest extent of the law…but lets start where that really happens…in those cities like Chicago where a girl can’t even sit at a red light without being shot in the had three times. Start there…it wasn’t a cop working for a living to provide for his family in a job that pays very little, requires shift work, overtime, holiday and weekend work, and grief for enforcing existing laws and always having to be on the defensive from some bottom feeder who wants to avoid going to prison again…..There are too many people these days that have their priorities wrong…Raise your children right, give them a well deserved spank on the rear if they misbehave, teach them to respect you, their teachers, their elders, anyone of authority, to never, ever break the law or you will not bail them out of the jail, teach them they need to work for a living…expect them to have a summer job and still do good in school…Stop being lazy parents and this crap wouldn’t be happening…It your fault..I say your because my kids are being raised right.

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