The Student News Site of Laguna Blanca School

The Fourth Estate

Red, White, Black, and Blue

Luke Smillie

4,486 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq and 2,345 U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan since 2001. That’s 6,831 dead soldiers in 15  years.

On the streets of America,  in the last two years, close to 2,000 civilians have died. One might think a war is happening here in our country. And, in some ways, it is.

Almost everyday, you can turn on the TV and see a report for yet a new shooting. Riots are breaking out in several states, and the issue is gaining some serious national attention. So, the question remains: what, is wrong? What is causing this violence?

Here’s the truth: whenever the shooting of  an unarmed, innocent civilian involves police, the victim is being harmed by our government, the very people who are sworn to protect. There is no doubt that this is a failure. In the system at hand and in government that needs to be addressed.

Today, cell phone videos of shootings instantly make the news, while official dash-cam footage is sometimes not released until days later.

With the abundance of cell phone videos that are uploaded instantly, the media is able to identify the shooting and highlight the issue at hand.

Following George Zimmerman’s Trial, Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, the Tamir Rice shooting in Cleveland and many others, a movement known as Black Lives Matter has begun.

The movement primarily uses social media to make its points and attempts to stop the oppression that has plagued African Americans in recent years. To understand the movement one, must first understand why the movement is focused on race.

Why are more black people killed by police?

In America, there are nearly 160 million more white people than there are black people. White people make up roughly 62 percent of the U.S. population, while African Americans make up around 13 percent of the population.

This is very important when looking at the killings of each race in proportional terms.

According to The Washington Post “Black Americans are 2.5 more times likely to be shot by and killed by police.”

This is why movements like BLM are starting all across the country, why riots are breaking out in every corner of our nation and why people have begun to accuse police of targeting certain races. The issue is growing each day, and things are only getting worse.

Recently, in Oakland, CA, four officers were shot and killed by a man named Lovell Mixon, the public had a very mixed reaction. Many people were shocked by the killing, but others saw the event as payback for the recent shootings.

The problem is, when people see cops being gunned down, they think about the lives that were taken by police shooting allegedly innocent people.

The thing is, that in almost every state in America, an unarmed citizen has been gunned down and killed.

In Dallas, Texas, five police officers were killed by a lone gunman with a sniper rifle at a peaceful protest for Black Lives Matter.

The shooter was upset about the recent killings and wanted retribution. These sort of views and attitudes are dangerous for society. When Americans can rejoice in the killings of police officers, people who put their lives on the line to protect us, it is clear there is an issue. Whether it be with the way we are doing police training or with how we are educating the youth of America to act in society. We, as contributing people of this nation, need to find a solution to this before even more innocent people are murdered.

“Why is this important to us?” Sure, we live in a privileged neighborhood. But this doesn’t change the fact that this movement affects each and every one of us.

Firstly many of you are getting ready to apply to college in lots of different states, and you may not even know that you are about to enter a city where riots and protests are occurring on a scale that hasn’t been seen since the Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s. Milwaukee, North Carolina, Texas even San Diego and many other cities/states are experiencing full blown riots in their streets.

Secondly, it applies to us, because we are all human beings capable of empathy for the abused and the dead on both sides. It is important that we stay educated about what’s happening  around us in the world so that we can attempt to make a difference.

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