Technology Fail: Racist Bullets

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Behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey was shot by police while lying on his back on the pavement, hands in the air, saying, “Please officer, don’t shoot. I’m not armed. I’m complying.” Kinsey is black.

Kinsey was working with an autistic white man who had run from his group home with a toy truck in his hand. Because the autistic 23-year-old couldn’t comprehend what was going on and wasn’t obeying the police to lie down and drop his “weapon” (the toy truck), Kinsey was concerned that he would be shot. “He’s mentally challenged!” Kinsey said to police. “He doesn’t understand. It’s not a gun, it’s a toy truck. Don’t Shoot!”

Fortunately for Kinsey, the caretaker for the autistic man, the North Miami Police Department had recently switched their ammunition to the new “Brown Skin Seeking Metal Jacketed Rounds” as so many police forces have in recent years. Much to Kinsey’s relief, the autistic man, though targeted by police, was left unharmed when an officer fired (from the safety of dozens of yards away), only to have his bullet change trajectory mid-flight and strike the black man. Crisis averted. Here’s the link to the story.

crime-515923That’s the story (or some version of it) that the police union gave after the shooting. The officer was aiming at the white man, but for some reason, missed and hit the black man. My first instinct was to demand more range time for the North Miami PD because obviously, they have shit aim if from that short distance they couldn’t strike a stationary white man sitting up on unobstructed concrete. Kinsey was lying down and the location on his body in which he was shot, was feet away from the upright white man.

I think the more likely cause was primary safety fail (finger on the trigger), and a mistaken primary focus of threat (a black man). This, I think, is the cause of many of these tragedies. Somehow, the system has been ingrained with the notion that the darker the skin, the more criminal. This is evidenced by incarceration rates. In 2013, the ACLU conducted a study on the most recent complete data sets for incarceration and found that black men are jailed or imprisoned at nearly four times the rate of white men for simple marijuana possession. Same crime, same laws, same judges, same police….different sentences. There are studies that show the same bias in every interaction black men have with the law, whether it’s enforcement or sentencing.

police-907536I don’t suffer from white guilt except to be ashamed of the behavior of anyone who abuses power, regardless of color or position. But even without the bleeding heart liberal tendencies of some of my friends, I know systemic injustice when I see it; and very little is being done about it. In fact, every time there is a travesty of justice, our elected leaders should be making adjustments to the law and law enforcement policy. Instead, lines are drawn and defenses are set in position.

It’s time to stop silently blaming people for the color of their skin, (which is precisely what happens when you jail people of color at higher rates than whites for the exact same crime), and for God’s sake, stop using that damned racist ammunition. Guns don’t kill people, people don’t kill people, racist bullets kill people. Alternately, keep your finger off the fucking trigger until you know what the hell is going on.

S.L. Shelton is the author of an Amazon Bestselling Political Thriller/Action Espionage Series, (The Scott Wolfe Series). Follow him here on WordPress, on Twitter @SLSheltonAuthor or Facebook.

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