By now, you’ve probably heard about the mind-boggling assassination of Philando Castile (with his girlfriend and her 2-year-old son in the car) after he was pulled over by police in St. Anthony, Minnesota and announced to them that he had a legally licensed weapon in the automobile.

If you haven’t new footage has been released, here courtesy of The Young Turks Network

It’s tough to watch, so viewer discretion is strongly advised.

On June 16, 2017, the officer who shot Mr. Castile (who shall remain nameless here to prevent further violence) was inexplicably acquitted of all charges.

This happens all too often in America.

A 32 year old black man with a Hispanic-sounding name, who apparently was familiar with being pulled over in his car by police and had no prior felony convictions, gets shot and killed by police. The worst part was that there was a mother and her child in the vehicle at the time of the shooting. How “threatened” could any rational human being have felt in that situation? And to fire SEVEN (7) times into a man’s chest point blank while he’s sitting in his car?

As a white Canadian who has never been pulled over by police for any reason, even for a routine seat belt check while driving, it’s hard for me to relate to this. But I know that Philando Castile did not have to die.

This was a wrongful death no matter how you cut it.

Non-white Moms everywhere in America send their kids off to school, praying they’ve done enough to teach them how to talk to police in order to avoid such a horrific and tragic outcome. Based on the video evidence, Mr. Castile did everything right. He did nothing wrong. Some might call this a case of “driving while black,” and I am inclined to agree with them. There is little explanation for anything that transpired in this altercation that led to this man’s tragic death. The police seemed completely disinterested in calling for back up or an ambulance to help the victim once he was shot.

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This culture of violence and guns in America used to be something that was widely mocked around the world. Now it’s no laughing matter. There are some great cops, but far too many seem to have forgotten what “To Serve and Protect” actually means.

I was raised to respect the police. Now I find it hard to get beyond respecting the gun at the officer’s hip. And that’s sad, because I live in Canada where we have some great people in law enforcement who do their jobs with dignity and honour.

But down south, this is reaching epidemic levels to the point of – intentional or not – ethnic cleansing. Shoot first, ask questions later.

The other issue is the gun itself.

Philando Castile was legally licensed to carry a firearm, but did he need one?

It’s absolutely a double-standard that a black man can be shot point blank with a lady and a kid inches away, but if you’re thinking of buying a gun for self-defense, just ask yourself, Why?

The reality is, Mr. Castile’s constitutional right to carry a licensed firearm was violated when he was shot by police. But now nothing, not even the Constitution, can bring him back. Don’t do it. Guns don’t solve anything. They only make things worse. Just ask Diamond Reynolds’ 4-year-old daughter, who by all accounts had a great relationship with her Mom’s boyfriend, Philando. And it’s the 4-year-old who has to be the calm one in the situation, so that she doesn’t lose a friend and a mother because of some trigger-happy police officer.

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This happens way too often in America and because of it, the Declaration of Independence and its “right to life” provisions are in shambles.

This didn’t have to happen. Something has to change – for the sake of 4 year old girls and their Moms, if nobody else.

 

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