Simply put: I am thoroughly DISGUSTED at the response to #KorrynGaines life being snuffed out by SWAT fire. But before I go any further on what I think, let’s start here at a post I saw on FB:
“The FB question: “Black men only – what do you love about black women?Once they submit there are
Answer: Once they submit there are they bomb”
Her name was Tarika Wilson and she was a 26-year-old mother of a one-year-old son, as well as five other children. Her boyfriend was a suspected drug dealer who the SWAT team was looking for in January 2008 when they busted into Tarika’s home and shot both her and her child due to an obstructed view. She was huddled in a room with her six kids. Her boyfriend was later caught and plead guilty to drug trafficking. Her son survived being shot by Sgt. Joseph Chavalia but had to have a finger amputated.
Tarika died from her injuries in front of her six children. Officer Chavalia was acquitted of any criminal activity and remains a police officer (although not on patrol). The city of Columbus, OH settled with Tarika’s family for $2.5 million dollars. That’s about ten percent of what the civil courts awarded Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman’s families after their deaths (see: Dear Nicole: A Perspective on Race & Guilt ).
Aiyanna Jones – The recognizable name of the seven-year-old little girl whose life ended because she was asleep on a couch when SWAT barreled into her grandmother’s house trying to serve a warrant and film a television show. Who were they looking for? Her father, who was suspected of providing a gun to Chauncey Owens; the man accused of shooting and killing 17-year-old Je’rean Nobles because he didn’t like how Nobles looked at him. Owens has since been convicted and sentenced to life for the murder while Jones was sentenced to 40-60 years for his role. Aiyanna was shot in the head after police threw a grenade in the house and began shooting with an obstructed view.
35-year-old mother of two, Alesia Thomas was shown on video handcuffed and with her feet in restraints, unable to protect herself as Officer Mary O’Callaghan repeatedly punched and kicked her in the throat and crotch area in the back of the police car. “I”m going to punt you in your pussy” ~Officer O’Callaghan. She complained that she couldn’t move but her complaints were greeted with more punches and mishandling. She eventually fell unconscious and was pronounced dead at the hospital. The coroner ruled her death undetermined. Officer O’Callaghan was convicted of felony assault and sentenced to 36 months in jail. She won’t serve the entire sentence. That much we already know.
Earledreka White is a 28-year-old black clinician who was pulled over in Houston, TX. White claims that despite remaining calm, the responding officer escalated the situation by yelling and threatening to tase her. This resulted in White calling 911 to request the presence of other officers. The entire conversation is on tape as is the confrontation between White and Officer Gentian Luca who seemingly grew impatient and began to roughly grab White in an effort to restrain her (*while she was on the phone with 911*). A tussle ensued with White yelling and screaming for the officer to stop and calm down. She can be heard on tape screaming that she is a woman and this force is unnecessary but it doesn’t end until she’s handcuffed, arrested and charged with resisting. She spent two days in jail.
Joyce Quaweay, 24 years old, was handcuffed, stripped of all of her clothing and beaten to death by her 39-year-old boyfriend while his homeboy helped to restrain and hold her for the beating. Her two children, both girls, were watching. Both of these men served as police officers at Temple University, although the boyfriend had been previously fired. I can’t even bring myself to type his name as I think of this woman’s final hours. She was stripped of her dignity and treated like a wild animal until succumbing to death from internal injuries. I can’t imagine. Or, maybe I can and that’s part of the problem. My ex tried to snatch the blanket off of me one time when I was at home chilling in my undies. He came in with his friend, drunk and high and of course an argument ensued. He tried to expose me in front of his friend and I lost it. We began fighting and I ended up with him on top of me, choking me. His friend stood there and watched. So yeah, maybe I can imagine it too much.
And now…The complicated story of Korryn Gaines, who was shot in the head and killed by SWAT who came to her apartment with a warrant on a misdemeanor charge. The police have admitted to firing the first shots and claim that Gaines had a shotgun pointed at them. They also claim she returned fire and that it’s possible she shot her son in the arm. I guess his five-year-old arm wouldn’t have been blown off by a close-range shotgun. **The police have come forward and admitted that it was their bullets that shot Korryn’s son in the CHEEK; not the arm. I take grand issue with the police kicking in the door and blindly shooting while there are children present. And since when did the police become the overseers of truth? Can we take their word now? I’m reading from BLACK PEOPLE how ‘well the police said…’ –
Wait…what??!!! Oh, so you believe the cops now? Just three weeks ago we all called the media and the police liars but now all of a sudden, we can believe the word of a police force that serves misdemeanor warrants with SWAT teams? Because Korryn Gaines wasn’t a docile creature lacking personal protection from the same people we so freely refer to as’ gangs with badges’, that means the police and news outlets are now credible? You can hear the cops on tape during the traffic stop with Ms. Gaines saying they needed to take her phone and delete the footage. But ok. Whatever they say goes, in this case, huh? Serious question for black people: Do black lives only matter when they are playing house niggas despite the fact that lying next to ‘Master’ and eating the cleaned KYs never stopped a slave from being lynched? What are the perimeters that will allow for a black life to truly MATTER? All over social media you can find hundreds of turncoat ass black, woke folks running around looking like white supremacy in blackface and sounding like kissing cousins of klansmen.
‘That bitch brought it on herself.”
“She had a gun pointed at the police”
“I’ll be a bitch ass black man, but I’m not supporting her stupid ass mistake”
“She’s clearly just plain dumb. I mean, she think she’s a lawyer & going to put a Jedi mind trick on the cop. Take a Uber. Heck, hire an attorney if you think you’re being harassed.
If she had some undiagnosed mental disorder…I don’t want to sound harsh but she reminded me of Damon Wayans prison philosopher from Living Color. She’s a bit touched.”
***Commentary like this makes me wish I could email vomit directly to people. #BaaBaaBlackSheep
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is described as the following (according to the National Institute of Mental Health):
PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers many split-seconds changes in the body to help defend against danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a typical reaction meant to protect a person from harm. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger.
Some of the key phrases that I picked out from that definition were: “experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event”, “fight or flight response”, “meant to protect”, “stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger.”
What type of things would cause these sorts of reactions? War. Domestic Violence. Car accidents. Child and Sexual Abuse. There are a plethora of other reasons, but here’s one for the unwritten books: Living While Being Black. It is not a secret that black people experience PTSD as a result of our American experiences directly and indirectly. Below you will see the Google results for a “PTSD Black People” search:
Being a black person in America is a long-standing, heavily researched, known cause of depression, anxiety, extreme anger and fear to name a few. Looking at repeated videos of black people being gunned down and murdered by the police, regardless of whether or not you actually watch them, is traumatic. But it doesn’t stop there.
We’re talking about a system designed to withhold a race of people as a whole. A system that doesn’t provide us justice, that kills us and puts us on a trial for our own murders and a country full of closeted and outright racists, bigots and prejudiced people that we must contend with day in and day out. We work with these people and in some cases, live near them. Racism isn’t something we can outrun. It sits right in front of our faces and thanks to the rise of technology and social media, we are able to experience racism first hand without ever leaving our houses. I recently told my sister, it must be nice to not NEED to know what an entirely different group of people have going on. White people have that privilege. Too often I have heard or seen white people who don’t know who Trayvon Martin is or what took place in Ferguson or the true history of slavery, civil rights and why we ever hashtagged #BLM. But again, they don’t have to know. None of that information will make or break their lineage. The names we are all too familiar with like Rekia Boyd, Amadou Diallo, and Oscar Grant are as foreign to many white people as African Dialect. Black people are not the threat to them that many believe we are, therefore, nothing we are doing or have going on is something they NEED to know about. Black people, on the other hand, need to know everything. We have to watch everyone: our own people, white people, and other races of people. We have to know what the left hand, right hand, middle man, sound and tech crew, and security are all doing. We don’t have an opportunity to let our guards down because history has continued to confirm at any moment our lives could change forever or end because of the hands of ANYONE else. Tell me again how this isn’t traumatizing?
See, it’s not so black and white to say ‘that bitch was tripping.’ The question becomes WHY was THIS WOMAN tripping (was she really tripping tho???) and what made her that way? It’s the same concept behind calling a woman a ho. How she became a ho is NEVER the question. Folks fall in formation to call her out of her name, reduce her to trash and consider her disposable black trash. Same goes with Korryn Gaines. Let’s completely ignore what might make a Black woman have that type of reaction to the police. One commenter on FB accused her of ‘wanting to be a lawyer.’ Is this because she asked the cop for proof of Delegation of Authority? Do you know what that is? Did you hear of it before today? Do you care? Was she too smart for you? Not submissive enough for the good, wholesome Mr. White Cop that approached her for being in the wrong? She had her kids in the car so she should know better right? IF it happened to you, you would have complied and behaved well right? And lived to tell about it…or do you even know that much? The things I’ve read from other black people are contradictory to the sentiments I’ve seen some of the same people express over this last five years. It’s interesting. Alton Sterling had a rap sheet that included statutory rape. Freddie Gray was on the backside of the law. Still, neither of these men deserved to die and black women all over the country immediately began to rally in their honor. I just wonder why our own people are so quick to condemn this woman because she broke the mold and decided to stop playing by the rules. Where is the loyalty? Why are folks giving her the ‘crazy, angry black woman’ treatment when reality has shown us that black women are in just as much danger as our here as black men?!! Reread those names at the top. That’s not all; that’s just the people I chose to include. How the eff wouldn’t I be traumatized by this madness in some way? Many people are dismissing the concept but I think PTSD played a huge role in Korryn Gaine’s death. I read several comments that said:
“She got what she wanted. She’s a hashtag now.”
I don’t think that’s what she wanted and I think we as a people are smart enough to know better than that. I think that’s what she was willing to risk becoming and many don’t understand that because most folks ain’t willing to risk anything more for the cause than space on their SD card. But I get the backlash from women. We are nurturers and protectors by nature. Our first thought is always the kids. Many women can’t get beyond her behavior while the kids were with her and I understand it. In both of these situations (the initial traffic stop & SWAT) her children present. If it were me (I would like to stress that this did not happen to me…it’s always easier to know what you would do when it’s not happening to you), with my children present, I probably would have behaved differently. I wouldn’t have made it harder than it already was but I know from experience that I would be defensive and ready for whatever. But that’s ME speaking solely from a what-if perspective and I also don’t think I suffer from PTSD…or at least not as bad as Korryn Gaines. It has also been reported that she tested positive for high lead levels in the ’90s, and filed a lawsuit in 2012 in regards to suffering from lead poisoning. Lead is that same stuff that can be found in the water in Flint, MI; the same city where trash pickup has suddenly been suspended but I digress. Until this case, I thought many other black people EXPECTED the types of reactions that are taking place regarding interactions between the police and black people. I’ve repeatedly read comments from folks who were expecting people to start snapping. Now when they do, we trash them and dehumanize them while conveniently forgetting our predictions and what got us here.
The reality is this… George Zimmerman walks into a diner and compliments someone on a tattoo before announcing “My name is George Zimmerman, you know, that guy that killed Trayvon Martin.” This man has drawn pictures depicting his murder of 17-year-old Martin to be sold as art. He’s also auctioned off the gun used in the killing and he continuously makes the news for bragging about taking Trayvon’s life. It’s like listening to the men who killed Emmitt Till get acquitted and do a magazine interview all over again.
White people can kill black folks and get away with it and even when they are sentenced, it does nothing to affect their soul! #Trauma
I’m tired of black people being served the death penalty for any and all crimes while white people get treated to Burger King Whoppers after killing a room full of black church-goers. #Trauma White people can always be apprehended alive to face their charges no matter what their wrongdoings are or level of artillery. What was that shit that popped off in Oregon and how is it that no one died? The argument of whether or not Korryn made the right decisions is null and void considering she is not alive to tell her side of the story. Black people are tried and sentenced to death from the comfort of the police cruiser. If this shit isn’t creating distress for anyone aside from Korryn and myself, then I guess I’m next to go postal. And if so, it’s safe to assume that some of the same people that who swear to love and care for me would be quick to turn against me and be a stool pigeon for a supremacist-style way of thinking.
I’m sick of it!!! I’m sick of black women being the ever running joke. Just yesterday I had a childish run-in with two black men who thought it was HILARIOUS to blow at my truck until I pulled over thinking something was wrong. Nothing was wrong. When I gave them the attention they begged for they lied and said my tire was flat, and could barely keep a straight face before admitting they were “just kidding”…and then drove away.
O.o Are you kidding me? My time, my life and anything I’m doing or have going on had no weight on the importance of them playing a joke with a complete stranger. They were passionate about getting my attention for their childish amusement but would they exhibit the same passion if I needed them to fight for me…a stranger?? The next time some man is blowing at me to get my attention, what do you think I will do? Stop? Nope. And the next person might really be trying to tell me I have a flat tire. This is what I call my personal reaction to circumstances. It may be a different reaction for someone else and to some, it might be a bit extreme. But for me and my experiences, this is what it is. I’m suddenly feeling a need to correlate Korryn Gaines to this…but you should be able to see where I’m going with it already.
Black women are fighting on every possible front. We are standing off with the police with force and with love (see: Diamonds & Pearls: Black Women on the Front of the Line ). We are fed up and it’s showing in our actions. Remember: it was a black woman who bypassed security, climbed the pole and removed the confederate flag. We are not fucking playing anymore. The docile Stepford wife shit doesn’t work in the real world. I’m tired of writing different versions of THIS same damn blog! I’m tired of how [some] black men look at us like nothing more than sex engines for their porn fantasies but won’t kill a fly in our honor and will even talk shit about us in death. It sucks not to have their full support but here’s what: if you are not down to have our backs in all ways, the same as we have yours, fuck off. It’s a shame that some men are so busy heauxtepping with their dicks in hand that they forget to use their balls for something other than fertilizing. I’m pissed so if this sounds harsh to you, STEP YOUR FUCKING GAME UP! #ByeJody
Black women are out here MANNING up. We shouldn’t have to and guess what: WE DON’T WANT TO!!!! But we will. We are the running back and the quarterback. We are guarding the ball, holding the ball, running the ball and making our own field goals and touchdowns with less and less assistance. We have to hold down our homes, raise our kids AND be our own fucking protection. No one marches when black women are killed and when they do, only a few show up. When was the last time you heard Tarika Wilson’s name? Ever? We just get a hashtag and then the world moves on. A sisterfriend recently pointed out the lack of concern for black mothers who have lost their children in this war on our lives. It’s as if they are the forgotten names buried in the growing blizzard that is America. Malia Obama is being criticized for acting like a teenager and dancing at a Lollapalooza party. I’ve seen grown ass men make disparaging comments about her and I’m wondering how many would be willing to admit that if they were AT that party, they would have tried to hit on her and her age wouldn’t have been a factor. #YeahISaidIt
If she were walking down the street, how many of the men that have suggested POTUS run out and buy a box of condoms would be willing to admit they would slide down on her and offer her a ride to wherever she let them take her?
*Sips Water *
Part of the problem is from the moment we get rosebuds on our chest, we become objects of male affection. That affection is not synonymous with mental or physical protection. ALL OF THIS SHIT IS TRAUMATIC. Korryn did not start that night off alone with her kids. Her 39-year-old boyfriend was there but when SWAT arrived, he fled the apartment. So let me see if I understand this; he left her alone with her son while SWAT was knocking on the door? Seriously? And some random *guy out in the land of Facebook has the nerve to say that black women are the bomb when we submit? MFFW? Submit to shit like this? That’s when we’re “the bomb?” When we say “Babe, the police at the door, go out the window and take the baby; I’m gonna grab the gun and hold down the fort?” Is that when we are the bomb? That’s some ass backward, woman on the outside of the curb type of thinking. Am I to believe that Korryn’s BOYfriend didn’t know her attitude towards law enforcement and what happened with the last traffic stop? Was she not worth him risking going to jail for whatever crimes he may be involved in just to make sure Korryn and the children were ok?
He left her.
I say it again. . .
HE LEFT HER.
With the kids. With the shotgun. With SWAT. With her history.
And folks are online calling HER out of her name and talking about her mental stability??!!! What if he surrendered to the police (seeing as though the story keeps evolving)…was there nothing he could have said to them in regards to her stance in general? Were the police informed and still did nothing to de-escalate? Let’s revisit the list at the top. Tarika Wilson was killed by the police who were searching for her man. Aiyanna Jones was killed by SWAT who was looking for her father, who has since been convicted of providing the gun that killed a 17-year-old innocent black teenager. Joyce Quaway was tied up and beaten to death by her man AND his friend. The common denominator here is a lack of protection from our men. It’s disappointing, disheartening and heartbreaking.
Lack of protection is killing us but folks want to get on Facebook and find blame in other places. Black men, I love you dearly. I think the world of you but let me get transparent: Some of you are failing black women!!! Yes. I said it. Some of ya’ll are failing us.
And in that failure lies the last breath of another black woman.
“Fuck that bitch, I’m not marching or supporting that shit”
#KorrynGaines shrunk the balls of niggas all over the country at once. Not only was this woman beautiful and intelligent, but she was shotgun savvy and unafraid to defend/protect herself in the manner she deemed necessary. It’s what white people have been doing since the beginning of time. It’s what Malcolm X’s shotgun picture meant to so many folks who plastered it on their bedroom walls and bought shirts, journals, and stationery if they could find it bearing that photo. Is “by any means necessary” only applicable to black men? Was the faux character Foxy Brown only as incredible as her nude shots; not when she was pulling razors from her hair and shotguns from her side?
I wrote this post August 1, 2015. Sandra Bland was still fresh on the radar and fear was trolling its way through black women everywhere.
“One of the things that sickens me is that the police approach black people like they don’t know the tension in americugh. …like they’ve never heard of Sandra Bland… Samuel DuBose.
…or any of the many names of women and men added to the growing list daily because they were unarmed and killed by the police….they approach you as if how dare you automatically feel tense?
how dare you have an attitude,
or a voice
Who are you to ask questions…
They still expect you to ……behave.
and when you don’t, shit happens.
and I guess I should be scared…
but I’m not.
And if anything should ever happen to me in police custody, I DID NOT KILL MYSELF OR HARM MYSELF.”
EpiBlogue: Last year the police were at my house looking for someone who didn’t live there. This was the third or fourth time they came and each time they came, they were dressed in SWAT gear. There were at least three each visit and the first time they tried to come in and search my house, warning me that I needed to put my dogs up. I declined their offer to walk through my house and informed them that I didn’t know the person they were looking for. On the last visit, there were four of them at my house when I pulled up. Having already gone through this on several occasions with them, I was immediately tense and fed up. Sandra Bland’s death was only weeks prior. I did not approach the officers as a “good house nigga.” I walked up feeling defensive, and knowing what I’ve seen out of the police in the recent years alone, I knew this encounter could go any way. A small back and forth ensued between the police and I and I was yelling and cussing. One of the officers kept trying to bait me so that he would be able to arrest me but I didn’t fall for it. After his first threat, I asked if I would be the next Sandra Bland. I was ready for war in that split second, although death wasn’t what I had come home for.
My friends and neighbors were outside and came to bring me to their porch while the police searched the sides and back of my house for someone who didn’t live there. The same officer continued to stare at me and trying to tempt me to say or do something. I just pulled my phone out and started taking pictures. My friends would not let me go home until the police were gone. We didn’t even really talk about them while they were there. We discussed a host of other random things. Two men and one woman, all who family to me by way of friendship. None of them were willing to let me risk it all. They knew me. They knew the police. THEY were the de-escalators. It was August 1, 2015, and I lived to tell about it.
Secretly, I wanted them to let me go. I wanted to react even though I knew better. Maybe I have PTSD. Maybe I have mental illnesses of some kind. Maybe I don’t need to be left alone with the police during hostile situations.
Thank God I have people who would protect me in life…and death. I saw a video of a local black man being pulled over by IMPD a few weeks back. He was in the wrong but as expected, he was on the defense. His defense was nothing like Korryns. He had no facts or questions for the officer. Instead, he did more taunting and unnecessarily accusing the officer of pulling him over for “being in a nice car.” Dude, many black people have Dodge Chargers. Get over yourself. The encounter was Facebook live recorded and lasted for at least 20 minutes before he exclaimed to the officer that he was writing him a ticket in order to get “payback” for a locally slain officer. He was provoking and being ignorant IMO and even the person on the speaker phone thought so. But the comment sections were littered with supportive messages and people who stood in agreeance.
I’m not debating whether or not Korryn Gaines was in the right or wrong or how she should have behaved with her children present. I will say there are things she could have done differently that MIGHT have changed the outcome, but I’m not even 100% sure of that statement. I believe at the very least, due to her behavior during the initial traffic stop and what she said to officers that she was a target for them. I believe they wanted to bring trouble her way for being what they would deem a troublemaker. I don’t think this notion is far-fetched just as her suffering from PTSD is an absolute possibility, as is lead poisoning. For me, it’s just hurtful to see how easily we dispose of each other as liabilities and trash. In her death, she has as many, if not more people denouncing her, calling her crazy and questioning her parenting as she does in support of her.
It’s ironic because that’s what white folks do to black men every time one of them is killed. Why aren’t we talking about the police shooting in an apartment, with yet ANOTHER obstructed view, in a room where children were present? Why isn’t that the outrage? Why aren’t you outraged that Korryn was shot and killed instead saying she did it to herself? Why aren’t you outraged that her son was shot in his cheek by the police, who initially said it was his arm? Or I guess anyone could mistake a shot in the arm for a shot in the face. Where is the anger at her boyfriend…who was also being served with a warrant on domestic abuse charges but I digress??? Why can’t people see the pattern here?
Why don’t you think this will happen again?
Perhaps it’s the comment sections. Folks are arguing back and forth with white supremacists and tear-filled white wannabe-victims who are throwing AllLivesMatter pity parties on the backs of dead black people and maybe that is having some adverse effects. I don’t argue with folks. I blog. You won’t change the mind of someone who is comfortable with the way they think. But people still go back and forth relentlessly. I wonder if in this back and forth, similar to the Denzel movie Fallen, is it possible for spirits to transfer?
“A wise man told me not to argue with fools
Cause people from a distance can’t tell who is who” ~JayZ
“I don’t participate in any of you guys side laws or any of that” ~Korryn Gaines
She was too loud, angry and black to be considered the revolutionary martyr that she is; she is outcast as a black sheep. It doesn’t change the facts. She was killed and her child was shot and that should NOT have happened and could have been avoided. She could have made other decisions I guess…
And so the fuck could the police. But isn’t that always the case?
#KORRYNGAINES #WeSpeakHerName #BlackWomenMatter
*****UPDATE: In February 2018, a jury awarded Kodi Gaines (Korryn’s son who was injured in the shooting) over $32 million, her daughter Karsyn was granted $4 million and her parents were awarded $300K apiece. But in February 2019, Judge Mickey Norman from the Baltimore County Circuit Court, overturned the ruling, siding with the officer and thus leaving the family with nothing: the american way for black people.
If You are in Indy: