Just Thinking: Advice for Black Men about Why they get killed by the Cops
August 12, 2015By V. Knowles

Nineteen-year-old unarmed black teenager Christian Taylor was shot and killed by a white Police officer on August 8 in Dallas, Texas.

This is coming on the heels of the protest movement ”Black Lives Matter” -- the anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, the Eric Garner in New York and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in a public park in Cleveland, Ohio.

Yes, I sympathize and understand your anger and frustration.

Yes, I agree that things could have been handled differently and better.

Yes, I realize when a mistake or tragedy occurs, it is normally a black man on the wrong end of the equation.


Yes, but while you are seething, seeing red, huffing and puffing, chewing iron and blowing smoke, I want to make you aware of some tough truths.


Christian Taylor was in a car dealership parking lot, jumping up and down on the cars, had already damaged some vehicles, was trying to illegally enter another, and had crashed his car through the plate glass window of the establishment.


Michael Brown had reached for the gun of the police officer who fired two shots in the ensuing struggle to prevent losing his firearm. Brown was subsequently killed when he turned and charged the police Officer after being ordered to stop while fleeing arrest.


Eric Garner was apprehended for selling illegal cigarettes, was already on probation for a similar offense as well marijuana possession and false impersonation.


Tamir Rice was brandishing a realistic-looking BB Gun and pointing it at people in a threatening manner.


Yes, they did not have to assassinate them.


But here is the bottom line.


When you put yourself out there as a Black man in the United States, anything can and will happen.  Certain segments of this society are not allocated a lot of room for error or misunderstanding.


The rope of patience consigned to them is limited and very short indeed.

Tamir Rice was dead within two minutes after officers arrived on the scene.


This world is not designed so that you can live life any way you please. You cannot conduct yourself with reckless abandon.


You cannot have it your way.

You cannot run amok, thumb your nose at the world and arrogantly utter,“take it or leave it, that’s the way I am.”

You must ponder the path of your steps.

You must walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise.

You must think before you act.

You must consider the outcome of every decision.

You must provide space for things to go belly up, turn south or end negatively.


It is like a young man in a BMW going a hundred miles per hour on the expressway, weaving in and out of traffic without signaling his intent.


When stopped by a state trooper he shouldn’t have the chutzpah to declare, “why did you stop me?”


You cannot shop in Publix, a la Jameis Winston, already in the news for bad behavior, exit the store with $30 of crab legs and lobsters without paying, and when accosted three hours later say, “I forgot to pay.”


You must not place yourself in a position where chances are increased that you will not survive.


You must not be at a place where another person has to make a split second decision whether you live or die.


Being a young, proud, dead lion, who stood up and defied the “Pig” serves no useful purpose. You will not be around to help or protect anybody. Life will move forward and soon you will be forgotten.


Oh! There will be some tears shed, a few demonstrations and a couple of screaming headlines. But what good will that do? How will that help you?  Eventually you will be assigned to the dust bin of history, an image on a fading T-shirt, serving only as a reminder, a warning and example to  unruly, frightened children of what not to do when confronted by a police officer. Your unnecessary sacrifice would have been in vain.


Being “dead right” really means you are dead-kaput, finito, stick a fork in it-you are done and your goose is cooked. Life is not a Mortal Kombat video game. You do not get to start again after the program says, “game over.”


You are not Jesus Christ and you will not arise again on the third day.


You must survive today in order to thrive tomorrow so you can make any kind of difference.


This world is unfair, uneven and you will never understand or make sense of it all.


The day we walked out of the Garden of Eden away from the protection and provision of God, all hell broke loose.


We unleashed and revealed the forces of darkness which consumed and continues to consume us.


We, human beings, do terrible, unkind things to one another without logic or reason.


We have a natural bent or inclination to harm our fellow man.


We entertained and developed a selfish attitude.


When pressed for an explanation as to why we commit such horrible deeds, we stutter and stammer, unable to offer a  logical, plausible excuse, finally muttering, “that’s just the way it is.”


We only know that your presence makes us uncomfortable.


Your very existence is a bother and nuisance to somebody.


Your color, ethnicity or culture is inconvenient and makes one uneasy.


Therefore, it is determined that the world would be better off without your existence.


We would feel better if you were not around.


In other words-just being alive is a hazard.


Life is fraught with difficulties and full of trouble.


You do not have to make a spectacle of yourself to be exposed to danger and risk.


You can be in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing and it can all go horribly wrong.


Just ask Abel.

Just ask Joseph and Potiphar’s wife.

Just ask Esther and Mordecai.

Just ask Jeremiah.

Just ask Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

Just ask Jesus on the cross.


How about Anne Frank, Emmitt Till, nine-year-old Sherdavia Jenkins of Miami,Fl.,the children of Africa who were brutally victimized in the slave trade, or the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust?


What about the occupants of The Alfred P Murrah building in Oklahoma City or the more than 2000 workers in the World Trade Center?

How would the students of Columbine High School respond to that statement?


You cannot watch a movie in a darkened theater and not be nervous.


You think you would be safe in the House of God discussing goodness, mercy and love. However, the parishioners of Emmanuel AME church of Charleston, S.C. would beg to differ.


Job declared in his eponymous book, “I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet yet trouble came (Job 3:26). In chapter 14 he says, “man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.”


Alas! Some days are fewer than others.

There is no need to go looking for trouble he will find you soon enough.

Murphy’s law says, “If things can go wrong, they probably will and at the worst possible time.”

On the battlefield of life, it is an unwise tactic to purposefully expose your vulnerable flank.

You must not put yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. You must carefully and intentionally avoid dangerous situations.

If not, as outlined above, things can go very badly in a hurry.


V. Knowles is a husband and father with an interest in penning issues that serve to uplift mankind. He melds his love for Classic literature, The Bible and pop culture - as sordid as it may be - into highly relatable columns of truth, faith and justice. Hence the name: Just Thinking. If he's not buried in a book or penning his next column, you may find him pinned to his sectional watching a good old Country and Western flick.

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