lucius-gantt_web.jpgIt almost seems like a law enforcement officer is shot in the line of duty every single day. While my condolences go out to the families of the good, law abiding officers, I can understand why some young black people feel they have to go out in a blaze, so to speak.

No one deserves to be killed, but that doesn’t stop people in power from supporting the “death penalty” and urging judges and juries to kill felons accused of capital crimes. If the good police officers don’t care when innocent citizens are victimized by law enforcers, should the people boo-hoo when officers are shot and wounded?

Yes! We all should be concerned, even if we don’t cry, when someone loses a life as a result of police or citizen misconduct. But anyone who knows anything about American history knows that some law enforcers killed innocent Black people before slavery, during slavery, after slavery and as recently as days ago.

It was lawmen, in many instances, who ordered that dogs attack civil rights marchers and protesters. It was police officers that oftentimes riddled black suspects with bullets or sodomized suspects in custody and in handcuffs.

Every black man and woman in America knows someone in his or her family or community who was a victim of false arrest, trumped up charges, over-prosecution and/or police excessive use of force.

One way to decrease police shootings will be to abandon the “Code of Silence.” When policemen cover up the misdeeds of fellow officers, or merely remain quiet when legal boundaries are illegally crossed, all law enforcers are put in danger of being shot in the line of duty.

Law enforcement agencies need to be more diversified. Not only should there be officers of different skin colors; there should be officers of different sexes and religious beliefs, for example. More black officers should be assigned to patrol black neighborhoods. All officers should have more human relations training.

Even though I have a weapons license and I am trained and NRA-certified in pistol marksmanship, I am still afraid to be out on the streets late at night. I’m not scared I may get hurt; I’m afraid some fool might want to try me.

Life is like a double-edged sword. The same things that some in authority do to you can be done to them.

If you can’t, or don’t want to, stop police misconduct, more and more public servants and good policemen will be in danger because American youth and older people feel that if the death penalty is good for the goose it is good for the gander.

Moses, David and other biblical characters killed “lawmen” of their day. Even Robin Hood tried to kill the Sheriff of Nottingham. Bob Marley sang about shooting lawmen. What’s going on now with police shootings is nothing new; it is just more publicized with viral, print and broadcast news reports.

If not shooting innocent policemen is a good thing, not shooting innocent citizens is also good.

Lucius Gantt is a consultant based in Tallahassee. He may be reached at