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December 21, 2016

Human Story: Illinois

Laquan Mcdonald was murdered by the police on October 20, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois from about ten feet away. Laquan was from the South Side of Chicago and lived in different homes and foster care situations for much of his life. He was reported to have embraced the drugs and gang landscape that makes up much of Chicago’s South Side – which has been created and maintained as a way to keep black Americans in a life of crime so that they may be charged and imprisoned for developing appropriate survival skills.

He had a long long rap sheet of drug charges – like many young men of his age coming from similar geographic and socio-economic backgrounds designed to be disadvantaging. Perhaps, Mr. McDonald being killed was a better option than his being put into the prison system of continued American slavery.

Jason Van Dyke was from the suburbs of Chicago, he had received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from a fancy university in Chicago and had been with the Chicago Police Department for fourteen years at the time of the shooting with an annual income of nearly $80,000 annually. There had been 20 citizen complaints against this inept officer since 2001 with none resulting in disciplinary action by his employer. A Chicago man was awarded $350,000 by a jury after finding Van Dyke to use excessive force during a traffic stop. One complaint included verbal abuse with the use of a racial slur by officer Van Dyke. There is speculation that Van Dyke may have been involved with the cover-up of a 2005 police shooting.

Shortly before 10:00pm the police were called to investigate Mr. McDonald who was reported as breaking into vehicles using a three-inch knife to slice tires and damage windshields of a police patrol vehicle. The police shouted at McDonald to stop but he began to walk away from the officers who requested taser backup. Unable to wait or subdue McDonald any other way, apparently, Van Dyke shot this young man in the back. As he walked away from them.

Van Dyke was on the scene for less than thirty seconds when he opened fire on McDonald, shooting him sixteen times.

Because McDonald was a young black man in a city where being young and black is automatically a crime, Van Dyke felt justified in not only shooting him, but shooting him in the back, to death.

From the perspective of humanity, this is an abomination of American Values and fights against every aspect of the constitution and its development. From the perspective of gun rights activism, Van Dyke is the opposite of the type of gun user we support. When asked why he shot this young man, Van Dyke indicated that he was afraid the young man would “lunge at him” or “throw the knife at him.”

Van Dyke should (aside from going to prison) demand a refund for his arbitrary bachelor’s degree as a lunge from ten feet wouldn’t do more damage to Van Dyke than his 16 shots did to McDonald nor would having a three-inch blade thrown at him by a young man who was walking away.

Now, there was a significant cover-up of this event perpetuated by Van Dyke, the Chicago Police Department and mayor Rahm Emanuel (who was coincidentally up for reelection that year). This is neither here nor there with regards to gun ownership rights besides that it goes to prove that police shouldn’t have any more gun rights than the average citizen. What this information does is demonstrate how systematic the attack on Black Americans continues to be in a time when we all learned in school about the Civil Rights Movement that aimed to eliminate the legality of such situations.

Van Dyke was charged with first degree murder, if convicted he may face a prison sentence of 20 years to live in prison. This would be too kind of a conviction and I fear it will not work anyway. Society always charges with the white skin in the blue uniform. And even if he is convicted, the damage he’s done to the progress of good, well-trained gun owners in America is at risk.

BEFORE DISCUSSING GUN OWNERSHIP RIGHTS AMONG POLICE OFFICERS, LET’S FIRST DISCUSS DE-ESCALATION TECHNIQUES AND HOW THIS TRAINING HAS FAILED NOT POLICE OFFICERS, BUT THE YOUNG AND OLD BLACK MEN THEY ARE ALLOWED TO MURDER.