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I had a discussion with a good friend of mine last night, and have had similar conversations in the past with people on why there is national public outrage when an unarmed black person gets killed by police, and yet not near as much public outrage when a Black child gets killed by the hands of gun violence — as if saying Black Lives Matter (BLM) only applies to some Black lives and not others. I feel like it’s comparing apples and oranges, but I want to address a couple of things with this subject.
And before I delve in deep, full disclaimer: It feels almost grotesque comparing the killings of people to try and make a point. I don’t like it at all. I’m only doing it because of the conversations I hear surrounding the two.
In the case of the 8-year-old girl in Atlanta this past weekend, it’s absolutely crushing what happened to her. Her name is Secoriea Turner, and she was a TikTok loving child with dreams of one day becoming a nurse. She was riding in the backseat of a car when she was struck by a bullet and passed away in her mother’s arms. Her killers have not yet been caught.
When BLM started, it was to solely address police brutality and the injustices that all too often take place towards the black and brown community. Its goal was not to encompass every issue the Black community faces because it’s far too big a net to cast. Also, the BLM organization and the BLM movement are two different things. Most people who protest under the BLM movement are not a part of the organization and aren’t demanding or asking for the same things the organization is. This is a point of confusion for many people.
Now in addressing the comparisons:
First, you will be extremely hard-pressed to find just one person who wouldn’t think that what happened to Secoriea is a complete tragedy. A life was cut entirely too short for no reason at all. Dreams, passions, hobbies all gone in an instant. On the other hand, time and time again in instances of unarmed Black men being killed by the hands of police, there is a portion of the population that needs to be convinced that the victim did not deserve what happened to them. Those killed are always presumed to be deserving solely because it was at the hands of police. Nobody needs to be told that a child killed by a bullet is wrong; many need to be told that an unarmed Black man killed by a bullet is wrong.
Second, unfortunately, there is no video evidence (that I am aware of) of what happened to Secoriea. That would greatly help the chances of catching the killers who are still on the loose and bring them to justice. With many cases that are protested publicly, there is video evidence that the public sees that spark the outrage. We live in a time when many people need to “see it to believe it”. Even when there is video evidence, many times when an unarmed Black man gets killed rarely does the officer gets charged and even less convicted. It’s less than 1% the number of times an officer gets charged when killing an unarmed Black man. If someone shoots and kills a child and is caught, 100% of the time the individual will be charged and receives the maximum sentence. The victim and their family will pretty much always get some sense of justice; of course, they would much rather have the life of their child back. With officer-involved shootings, rarely does the victim and their family gets justice. One is killed by a criminal who will most likely be held responsible for their action; the other is killed by someone who has sworn to serve and protect the public and is rarely held responsible.
Third, not once and rightfully so have I heard of Secoriea’s past being brought up to try and justify what happened to her. It’s wrong to do so simple as that. After George Floyd was killed, and others I could list, there were MANY who brought up his past criminal record to try and justify why what happened to him may have been warranted. A video was circulated millions of times across social media that listed his past criminal convictions, which he served his time for, and why that was reason to not publicly mourn his death. Often times when a black man gets killed by police, the media will use his worst picture (a mugshot if they have it) and reference any of his past troubles/mistakes to try and paint a certain picture in the viewer’s head of the man he was. Let me be very clear, any unrelated past mistake or trouble you get in to does not somehow justify your killing later on.
To those who posted about Secoriea’s killing asking why BLM doesn’t protest for her, I challenge you to ask yourself what the motive behind posting was? Did you really ONLY care about her being killed, or was any of it to try and discredit the BLM movement?
Just because there is not a national protest for Secoriea Turner does not mean that those who say Black Lives Matter are not outraged by her killing. What would they even protest? Criminals doing bad things? That doesn’t need to be protested because we, as a society, know that’s wrong. Society doesn’t need to be made aware of the problem that is criminals breaking the law. The protests taking place now are against a system that has been put in place where too many times, families of victims are left without justice when an injustice has clearly taken place.
I don’t have all the answers; however, I wanted to challenge the notion of why people think certain killings get protested and others don’t.