It’s practically impossible to read and listen to daily local news without learning of a police-involved shooting.
The lists of names are emblazoned on COVID-19 masks and sports gear worn by athletes, and T-shirts sold on street corners in urban areas, including the nation’s capital.
Most of the media coverage invokes the name of George Floyd when reporting about or commenting on the protests and rioting following his death in police custody.
Perhaps that’s why we haven’t heard or read squat about a 15-year-old Maryland boy and a toddler who were shot while he held her in his arms on Friday evening. Both were rushed to a hospital.
The two reportedly were shot near a popular recreation center in the former middle-class town of Glenarden, hard by the D.C. line, and it drew immediate responses from three police agencies — Maryland Park Police, Glenarden and Prince George’s County, whose chief resigned in June amid the riots and violence.
So you would think that when a toddler, a Black toddler, is shot an all-hands-on-deck situation would grab the media’s attention and the protesters’ attention.
But, no. They’d rather continue to go ape crazy over police tactics for enforcing the law. And what’s disheartening is that it doesn’t even matter whether the police are the shooters or the victims — although you can bet the most media attention will turn toward the cases where law enforcers pulled the trigger.
On Saturday night, by way of example, protesters yelled “We hope they die” after two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were ambushed in Compton by a gunman as they sat in their squad car. The unruly crowd even blocked the entrance to the two deputies could be taken to emergency surgery. Police, of course, dispersed the crowd and the hospital is being heavily protected.
What’s more, there’s a $100,000 reward for the gunman’s arrest and conviction — about twice the amount of money it would cost to lock down the killer in prison for a year.
Now, you needn’t be a fan of hip-hop or gangster to have read or heard about the California town — that’s a home to the Crips, Bloods and assorted gang violence, and the group N.W.A., whose 1988 hit “F—- the Police” was straight out of Compton.
But why now?
In the 1980s and ‘90s Blacks were killing each to sell, buy and smoke crack.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Blacks were being locked up for selling and buying crack, and killing one another in the process.
In the past few years, Blacks have been given breaks and released from prison on crack and gun charges — and during the COVID-19 pandemic the jails and prisons are taking the lead.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who’s never at a loss for words, told MSNBC on Monday about the shooting of the deputies in Compton: “Let me be real clear. I pray for the lives of those two officers just like I pray for Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back seven times in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and I pray for the family of George Floyd, and I pray for all of them in the same prayer.
“I don’t have separate prayers for police victims and for police that are victimized.”
That’s good to know, Rev.
Spread the word that all humans are in the same boat. Period.
• Deborah Simmons can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.