As individuals born into this world, there’s a certain amount of freedom that Americans would call ‘God given’ that assures us the ability to write our own stories and make out of the world what we wish. On last Wednesday however, another one of those stories reached a violent end prematurely at the hands of Minneapolis PD.
Amir Locke lay sleeping on the couch of his home when Minneapolis police executed a now hotly debated ‘no-knock policy’. Such policies are living examples of systemic racism within the criminal justice system that’s continually being used as a weapon against black bodies, and that same system perpetually shields the Oppression’s enforcers from ever being judged guilty in a court of their peers.
In the case of Amir Locke, his death signified another casualty of a war that most black Americans don’t even actively try to participate in. In the homicide investigation that the police executed the warrant in reference to, it was determined that Locke hadn’t even been a suspect in the investigation. Just another black body at the wrong place at the wrong time. At home, asleep on his couch.
The nationalist and pro-law crowds would point out the fact that Locke had a gun, and therefore, was a threat to the officers safety as they executed a lawful search. Body cam footage that illustrated a period of nine seconds between the time of police entry and the death of Amir proved that threat to be a lie, with Amir asleep, wrapped in a blanket at the invasion’s precipice.
“‘Why the anxiety?’ ‘Why did he need a gun?’ ‘What did he have to fear?’,” asks the right wing firearms advocates and political contrarians, when as it turned out, his fear was justified as hostile forces made rookie mistakes with Amir’s life being viewed as forfeit,
In a world that we all understand to be unfair and not right, it’s tragedies such as these that remind us of the fight to be had, the only fight worth fighting: that for survival. Amir’s death was preventable, as were all of the rest of fallen brothers and sisters whose vast dreams were replaced with the role of martyrs. People’s kids, sons and daughters who had never even gotten the chance to stretch their wings and feel their freedom, roped into a struggle that had already corrupted this society that we have been born into for centuries.
I’m tired of hearing and writing about black deaths, to the point where a part of me feels numb and indifferent when I see ‘Justice for ****’ trending on Twitter, and every moment I do, I become progressively more mournful for the deaths. Not just of the fallen black boys and girls whose stories have ended too soon, but for the younger version of myself who thought that these problems could be fixed with just understanding, time and patience. Maybe they still can be, but I just don’t know if it’ll be in my lifetime.
So how many more black men, women, and kids who look like me have to die before we achieve this ‘peace in our time’ where their lives are no longer considered forfeit? How many more years? I’m not sure if that’s an answer that’s knowable to men, but still, I can’t help but wonder if Amir could have?
Was it Amir’s destiny to find the answer to the world’s reality that has killed millions of our people? Or perhaps George Floyd? Ahmaud Arbery? Hell, maybe even Trayvon Martin or Rodney King’s. Who’s to know whose story was meant to change the world for the better, but couldn’t, because the world was too set in its ways and saw to their demise.
It’s a sad world we live in where the good die young, and good stories go untold. So if just for this moment in time, whether you’re making it trend on Twitter or just talking about it at lunch with your friends, don’t let the book of Amir be lost to the sands of time just yet.