Protest Over Cop Killing Civilian
I had read about it somewhere, on a flyer or in the Stranger, some time ago that an injustice had happened to a man who liked to carve things. It caught my eye and stuck with me but there is a lot of injustice in the world. It is nothing new and I went about my day. Weeks later, on my way home from work I looked east on Pine and saw police lights flashing in the street. I was downtown. That’s not so new either… but soon I heard many voices and it sounded.. angry. I remembered the flyer or where ever those words on paper appeared during one of my days while I was out.
I remembered and was not moved until I saw a street full of people with signs, anger and passion in their faces while they carried the American flag in front of them.
“I want to be paid to murder people! Tell me how!”
“Justice for John!”
They passed out information. I decided to walk along side them but was aware that passionate people could turn angry any moment and so I decided to keep a safe distance..
But really, there was not distance between us. We are people, you know?
On August 30th, 2010, John T. Williams was walking down a street in Seattle when a police officer saw the folding 3 in. wood carving knife in his hand, a piece of wood in the other, got out of the car and asked him to put the knife down. John was deaf in one ear. He didn’t put it down. The officer shot him 4 times. John died.
This is what has been reported about the situation that I know of. This is all I know.
My first reaction was to think, “Oh no. This is a terrible outcome of misunderstanding.” Growing up, I had a good friend whose father was a cop. I heard stories, I heard the stress, frustrations and the kind of decisions they have to make. Also, I am a “fair” person which really doesn’t mean I am all that fair. It means I give people the benefit of the doubt, first. Innocent until proven guilty. I’m not so ready to throw someone under a bus and begin a lynch mob.
I read that John T. Williams had a drinking problem and that he was sometimes homeless.
This is where I become very biased and unfair. I am not a compassionate person toward the homeless.
People with extreme, harsh and unforgiving views usually do so because of their own life experiences. But it is naive to apply my life’s outcomes and breaks I have had.. to anyone else’s situation.
I read some horrific comments on various news articles about this protest. Things like “He made his choices. This is just the end of the arch of all his choices.” How in the world does this have anything to do with the a police man shooting him? What.. are you suggesting he deserved to be shot because he was homeless and deaf in one ear? Because he couldn’t shake alcoholism?
Excuse my language but what the fuck is wrong with you?
I began to write this piece last night but I had to sleep after reading thoughts like that. Listen, I am no bleeding heart but my god, stop and think about those thoughts and statements you make.
Thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits and habits become character.
I cannot understand how this man, John T. Williams did not take care of himself. I don’t understand why people are content to continue with their drug problems, with their crazy emotional states, with their paranoia or their shopping addictions or whatever the hell it is..
Bottom Line: His life choices did not lead him to be shot and killed by a cop. He was deaf in one ear. He was walking down a street with his tools he uses for his craft. It was how he made money. Common sense would have told him to not have his knife out while out on a public street. The cop should not have shot him. Eye witnesses say John did not even look at the cop. He didn’t hear him, didn’t have time to understand.
It would have been one thing if John looked like he was going toward someone, ready to attack. That would have been justification for shooting once. Not four times.
From what I understand, thus far, it does not sound as though there was an intense situation outside of what the cop created.
I don’t care that John T. Williams was a nice person. It doesn’t matter if he was a nice or a mean person. This entire incident was uncalled for and he lost his life because of it.
I am glad I was there for the protest. I am glad I was there for outraged faces and passion. It was a bit scary, to be honest. Things like that can get out of control.
Some comments left on the news article I was reading said things like “Yeah, how many of those protesters don’t have jobs? How many of THEM are homeless?”
Since when does that make them less credible to speak out about a terrible event? People disgust me with their reactions over this.
7 people were murdered or shot by police in the state of Washington in the past 3 weeks.
We have a problem. We need to speak up. Talk about it. Pass on the information. Be aware. It’s your responsibility and duty as a human being.