An Eye-For-An-Eye, A Tooth-For-A-Tooth
By Ronald Yates
According to the Bible, specifically the Old Testament, “If someone committed an act against someone else, the person who committed the act was subject to the same treatment.” In other words, if a person killed someone by the sword the killer would also die by the sword. That was the law, at least until Jesus arrived, from that point on we are told that we are under the dispensation of “Grace,” that we are no longer subject to the old laws that required the harshest of punishments. When Jesus began his ministry, he taught “Love was the most important principle, that we should love our neighbors as ourselves, that we should show mercy and kindness to those we encountered; but apparently not everyone embraced those new principles, at least not entirely.
In America we say we are a “Nation of Laws” that our laws, while derived in many respects from Old English law, is partially based on Biblical teachings as well. In many state capitals there were references to Christianity enshrined in stone or fashioned out of metal as constant reminders of what we say are our core values. In many of the founding documents there are references to the Divine, in court we swear on the Bible that we will give testimony that is true and honest… “So Help Me God.” It all sounds so perfect, as if anyone regardless of their skin color, economic or social status could receive equal justice and no institution is above the law. That being said if per se, a police officer was to shoot another human being in the back seven times, a human being that posed no immediate risk to the officer’s safety, accordingly, that officer would be subject to the very same law. Therein, the other individual would face if the situation were reversed, the same outcome.
Despite the litany of references to the Bible, God and divine principle the reality is there are those who have never embraced biblical teachings. They will say that in the case of a Black man shot seven times we should exercise patience, that the government will conduct a “thorough and complete investigation.” And if there is evidence of criminality charges would be filed. If that is the case someone needs to explain the Kenosha Wisconsin District Attorney’s decision not to charge the officer who fired seven shots into the back of Jacob Blake. According to police reports the officers were dispatched to the location on a report of a domestic dispute. At no time, during the call placed to police, did the caller state that there was a weapon involved or that Mr. Blake was making threats to harm anyone. In the footage released by the media, Mr. Blake is seen involved in a brief struggle with the officers. If Mr. Blake had a weapon, reportedly a knife, why would the officers struggle with an armed suspect? In initial reporting the officer, who fired the shots (Rusten Sheskey), said he reasonably believed that Mr. Blake was attempting to enter his vehicle in order to retrieve a weapon, ie a knife. So which one is it, did he have a knife or was he trying to retrieve a knife that was found on the floorboard of his car? At this point it no longer matters, as Officer Sheskey has changed his story, now he believed that Jacob Blake was attempting to kidnap his own children, but based on what? What information did Officer Sheskey have that lead him to believe that this young man was kidnapping his own children, when the children were already in the vehicle. The initial report made no mention of child abduction or custodial issues. The Kenosha District Attorney Michael Gravely said according to Wisconsin law there “Was no wrong-doing,” of course, I’m paraphrasing. But, essentially, he said the officer will walk away scott free. Apparently, shooting a Black man in the back, paralyzing him is legal under Wisconsin law; but how can that be?
Does not the U.S. Constitution offer protections for U.S. citizens against “Unlawful Search and Seizure?” Are there no consequences for officers who abuse their powers in the state of Wisconsin? In that same state a young Caucasian male entered the state of Wisconsin armed with an assault weapon, an assault weapon he used to shoot three people, killing two of them. That young Caucasian male, Kyle Rittenhouse, was allowed to leave the state despite walking past a phalanx of police officers still holding the murder weapon. Not a single officer challenged him. No-one thought it odd that a young man was walking toward the police, with an assault weapon, after a reported shooting in the area by someone with an assault rifle. Of course, the Black community in Kenosha Wisconsin is understandably upset. But they are encouraged to remain peaceful, just as we are always told to be peaceful when one of our brothers or sisters is murdered or maimed by those who take an oath to “Protect and Serve.”
We are told the Biblical concept no longer applies, that we have laws that protect all and is supposed to do so equally. If our collective rage should boil over and we call for not a special prosecutor, but revenge, then we become the sum of all fears for Caucasians all over the globe. At the same time, we would become “Public Enemy #1.” The fact that we have been victimized for more than four centuries is irrelevant. In order to bring about change, we must use the political process and other legal means. Personally, I think we have tried that and tried it repeatedly. All we receive is much of the same… more death and a constant lack of justice for our suffering. After all legal means have been exhausted what then? What should our next steps be? That is what the world wants to know, how much further can they be pushed before they say enough is enough.