Signs of the Times - What will it take to end police killing of unarmed black men?
July 2016
Letters to the Editor: What will it take to end police killing of unarmed black men?
Search for:



Before addressing the matter of Police shooting of black men and gun violence in America, I want to present a timeline list of some, most of them unarmed, black men killed by the police in 2015 and 2016. They are:

March 6, 2015: Tony Rushinson, 19, (Madison, Wisconsin)
March 31, 2015: Phillip White, 32, (Vineland, New Jersey)
August 2, 2015: Eric Harris, 44, (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
April 4, 2015: Walter Scott, 50, (North Charleston, South Carolina))
April 19, 2015: Freedie Gray, 25, (Baltimore)
July 5, 2016: Alton Sterling , 37, Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
July 6, 2016, Philando Castile, 32, Falcon Heights, Minnesota).

Unarmed Black men were killed at 4 times the rate of unarmed white men in 2015. Nearly 1 in 3 black people killed in 2015 were unarmed. Unfortunately there is a lack of national data on the number of police shootings because they are not tracked, but citizens groups have tracked the number of black people killed by police, 102 in 2015 and 136, with the shooting of Philando Castile, so far in 2016.

Gun deaths by police and citizens combined in the United States in 2015 were 33,636. There were 372 mass shootings in the United States in 2015 that killed 475 people and wounded 1,870, according to Mass Shooting Tracker. The homicide rate per 100,000 people (data for 2012): United States 60%, Canada 31% and Australia 18.2%. The United States has nearly 30 times the number of gun shooting deaths as that in the United Kingdom.

Some people, especially those who have lost relatives and loved ones as a result of police shootings, ask, "What will it take to significantly decrease the number of deaths resulting from police shootings and citizens shooting citizens?" I have considered this matter from many angles, including prayerfully. Given the current "gun-ho obsession" of many Americans, including some who are gullible, the power of the National Rifle Association and its financial ability to lobby members of Congress and convince many of them that they will not be reelected if they refuse to support the NRA's position of not having any gun laws and the amount of money gun manufacturers contribute to members of Congress, I have reluctantly but being true to what history and evidence reveal, come to the conclusion that no meaningful gun control laws will or can be enacted by the Congress until murderers increase their killings exponentially to include the deaths of relatives and people in their families of gun makers, lobbies for the NRA and their family members and the business associates of gun manufacturers and family members of those who approved of people being armed in public places, including schools and churches. To this latter group I have this message: any three people who do not have guns can, at some time, attack a person with a gun and take his gun away from him and possibly kill him with his own gun.

Only when the killing of people is increased exponentially as indicated above will Congress have the will and power to enact gun laws comparable to those in Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom. It is this action, as deadly as it will be, not periods of silence after mass shootings, expressions of condolences by politicians expressed to people who have lost loved ones murdered by gun killers and blazing advocators extolling the virtue of the Second Amendment to the U.S.Constitution in the face of the deaths of innocent citizens. This rhetoric has been expressed for many years, even for generations, while deaths from gun shootings continued to increase.

I regret that it will take more deaths of people which are increasing yearly, if not daily, but to reiterate, at this stage and state of affairs in America, there seems to be no other alternative to gun killing in America. And with the killings having expanded beyond inner cities but in every type of community and strata of society the deaths will have the necessary impact for addressing positively gun control laws.

I hope that before this happens sanity and gun legislation can be enacted by the Congress, but I am not under any illusion that this is possible. So the slaughter of citizens by citizens will continue at a greater manner than ever. So get ready for the slaughter and carnage, although there is no way to get ready if you remain in America. All you can do is be aware and hope that it will not be you are someone you care about who are murdered. Yes, it could be you, it could be me, it could be someone you love, any day. And it could happen in any place, even in your home. Living in a gated community, having the latest alarm and/or camera system, or security guards offers no guarantee for survival. Truly, there is no security. There is no route of escape.

How soon is too late? I'm afraid we have missed the opportunity. Just maybe, it's already too late.

Uriah J. Fields (electronic mail, July 8, 2016)

Comments? Questions? Write me at