Archive for June, 2017

Philando Castile was a 32-year-old young man who after graduating high school as an A-student worked for the local school district and had been promoted to cafeteria supervisor only a couple of years prior. He was well-liked by both his coworkers and the kids. He was the kind of guy who knew all the kids names and knew what they needed. He served as a role model for the kids to look up to. This is to say that by all accounts, he was one of the ‘good guys’.

On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was shot and killed by police. His crimes? Apparently having no criminal record beyond minor traffic violations, being the same race as a robbery suspect, maybe or maybe not having a broken tail light, and having legal possession of a firearm, which he told the officer about.

Beyond all else, surely we can all agree that contact between this man and police shouldn’t end in his death, right? It shouldn’t end in shooting up his car at all (keep in mind his girlfriend and her 4 year-old daughter was also in the car…lucky not to also be shot…and if that 4 year-old would have taken a bullet, what would we all said then?).

If we can all agree on that, maybe next we can agree that too often police and citizen contacts end with gun violence. And maybe then, given that a) given the acquittal in the above situation and b) that it can’t act until somebody is already injured or dead anyway, we can agree that the criminal justice system is not going to solve this problem.

Maybe if we can agree to all that, we can start having a much wider dialogue about what we want policing to be in this country. I do think the goal needs to be as little shooting and killing as possible. I certainly don’t have all the answers (or maybe none of them), but do know that the ideas at Campaign Zero seem worthy of discussion. Something has to change if we want to get different results.