#Ferguson Something Must Change

I have a black son who is near the age of Michael Brown.

The loss of any life is horrendous and unimaginable for anyone to fully comprehend. I’ve seen and lived through Rodney King. Trayvon Martin. My family before me lived through Medgar Evers. The date on my calendar changes but the story remains the same. A black American is cut down before he is called home by his Creator. It happens time and time again. And I, for one, am more than exhausted and numbed and generally hurt by seeing this. But most of all – I am afraid. I fear that all the hard work that I have done with my greatest partner, my wife, in trying to raise a young black boy towards manhood will be done in by a law enforcers bullet. When I see white laws applied to blacks, I am at least made to pause and wonder if our best efforts are ever going to be enough.

The decision not to indict the policeman on any single charge is more than upsetting. Not because the grand jury found that decision was the only one they could make. But because the law left them no other apparent choice except to release the man back onto the streets with real impunity. Free of any immediate guilt, at least from the law. I am angry that the black brothers and sisters of my nation must once again swallow the bitter pill spilled from a bottle labeled injustice.

As long as any man finds comfort and solace in the law to use the ‘Scary Black Man Defense’, we will never progress as a nation. More will die and none will sleep easy at night

I worry so much that even with the loss of yet another life, we are going to have to hope that the sometimes dysfunctional and often mysterious Federal investigation will bear some fruit that is at least somewhat palatable. It is incomprehensible that a nation built ostensibly on laws would allow any law to put a dead person on trial and allow the killers voice to win the day.

What I’ve Just witnessed is laws born of fear brought to action. I have seen what happens when a police officer is well trained in the culture of fear and he is sent out with fear and loathing in his heart rather than a sense of community policing. Y’know, a fellow I listened to this weekend said said something interesting. He said that he recalls a time when the cop walking his beat was trained to know his community. That the kids in that community knew him and wanted to be like him . That his community that he policed was his own because he lives in it and wanted the best for it. But now, what we see is the police leaving the streets and instead racing by in cars. And after that, they saw fit to place officers in armored vehicles. Then tanks.

Ruby Ridge, anyone?

What I have learned in my short life, is that the farther back you stand from anything, the easier it is to pretend like you are responding appropriately and in an engaged manner. President Bush thought he was doing enough after Katrina in a helicopter fly-over. President Clinton thought the SKUD [sic] missiles were sufficient. That if you stand back far enough from Ferguson MO, close one eye, and squint out of the other, maybe you will talk your way through this and see real change.

Real change never happened except through bloodshed and usually it happens after the victim is bloodied.

Any time you have a world where the law says it is ok for a human being to lay in any street anywhere for any amount of time, there is more than talk that is needed. This dark night is not just wrong, or a tragedy. It is a very real gun shot in the heart of Black America–

And the whole world saw it.

The television has shown me images of what the law will call violence. Violence against police vehicles. Violence against public property. Violence against upturned riot shields. But I know that the real violence was not on display tonight. The real violence was on that terrible day several months ago in a community of Black Americans. The real violence was when the police were taught to use deadly force when an unarmed aggressor is faced.

It truly is time for a change. My President understands why many are angry. How could he not? I certainly do too.

Now what are we going to do about it?


God and cinema

I am a movie buff. Not that I’m versed in arcane knowledge where films and movies are concerned. I’m simply one who enjoys the films I am willing to watch. The television I watch is chosen because of the writing and, if I’m lucky, the acting. Most films have great intentions. They have people behind them who had a dream and maybe a little money. Maybe not. But the creators and the dreamers found someone who believed in them and their vision. Believed that what they had to say mattered. Was important or humorous or had a socially redeeming quality that must be shared. Felt that this is a story that must be told and cannot be allowed to die with the one who came up with the tale.

Noble, really.

So when I watch a film, I choose to honor those storytellers by looking for the reason they wrote the story to begin with. What motivated or caused them to want to place pen to paper or finger to keypad. I watch for the Easter eggs that the writers and directors and vision keepers put in the images that dance and stroll across my screen. I believe they place those eggs in there because some folk believe in things other than the ones who hold the vision. The story that must be told. Many times I agree with the editors or censors or whatever titles they go by now. I agree that gratuitous violence, blood, and gore for the sake of violence, blood, and gore is unnecessary and irritating. Very few films do I watch where I feel those extras are needed to further the plot or characters being portrayed.

Enter The Walking Dead.

Normally I am not the kind to cotton to gore filled media couched as “entertainment”. I find the idea of zombies a contrived one attempting, with varying degrees of success, to supplant sparkly vampires and dystopian future flicks. In general I am not impressed. But then I saw an episode that made me wonder why I didn’t see the eggs before. Maybe I wasn’t giving the show credit for making an effort to be different. To be a cut above. Something more than just a creature feature. Good for entertainment. But not for redeeming values. Hardly.

I hope I am wrong.

I watched an episode recently, that made me ask the question: is there a deeper message that the writers wanted to convey, but time and sponsorships made them compromise? In this episode the living characters were in an Episcopal church with a fallen priest carrying a catholic rosary. I’m still trying to understand that juxtaposition. But as I said before, I saw Easter eggs. Those are little stage props or hidden images that fit, and yet don’t. I saw a guilty priest. A group of folk held together by circumstance and a group of others pursuing them who chose to become cannibals to survive.

In this church, as in many folks churches, there was posted several bible verses. I haven’t read them before writing this so let’s look together and see if there was an egg there. One that furthered the plot.

Numbers 6:4 all the days of his separation shall be eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.
Ezekiel 37:7 so I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
Mathew 27:52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
Revelations 9:6 and in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from him
Luke 24:5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them,Why seek ye the living among the dead?

Numbers is focused on how one should prepare themselves to separate from the world and become avowed to God physically both by diet and physical appearance. Abstinence from razors and certain foods are called out. It’s interesting I think to see how the characters in the walking dead haven’t really changed their hair but one character has recently in another episode been poked at about his mullet. This passage may simply be interesting but not specific to the show. I’ll write about that later.

Ezekiel is very ominous when viewed through a Walking Dead lens. A valley of dead bones that are brought to life with fresh and sinew but having no breath expect by the breathe of God Himself. Can yet these bones live? Shiver.

Mathew is very applicable except that in this show, the cries of Jesus are only uttered by the dying beseech in his help. The dead saints being raised up and the living witnessing them. Clearly this is a vision I am sure Matthew didn’t intend.

Revelations seems to be a foretelling or retelling. For Five months they are to endure insect born torments. Those who were to suffer it would have no relief. Even seeking death, but still no relief. These Walkers are very insect like. They horde and surround even in their plodding walk. And they are ever present and appear when you least expect. Very frightening.

Luke is the most interesting. To me this is the one that is prophetic and maybe even foreshadowing. In this biblical passage, the women came to Jesus’ tomb seeking to apply spices to his body. But an angel was upon the tomb and expressed confusion at their mission. Asking why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here. He is in Galilee as He said He would be. This moves me because in the context of The Walking Dead, they are all looking for salvation in Washington, D.C. which is in and of itself crazy considering how that towns politics are today. But I shall not digress here.

They are looking for something or someone to save them from this Hell they are living through. Fighting through so many terrors. Death is a daily thing for them. Like taking lunch with coworkers. So it seems to me that if this verse is fulfilled in the television show, they will reach Washington, D.C. But they are not likely to find anything there but the dead. The living will have already gone. Not a spoiler. Just a guess.

This is why I watch well written shows. Zombies are boring, usually. Zombie killers, if that oxymoron makes sense, are usually one dimensional. But here, the writers have made an effort to be better. To do better. And I am glad I found that out. I suppose that means I am a fan now. Uh oh…