What did Freddie Gray, Eric Garner and Eric Harris have in common…they all said “I Can’t Breathe”, and no one bothered to help

Yesterday when Marilyn Mosby announced the charges against the six Baltimore policeman she read the details of Freddie Gray’s injuries. One thing she said that struck me was that Gray said on 5 occasions “I Can’t Breathe.” This refrain was also uttered by Eric Garner and Eric Harris and in both instances they were also ignored. All three of them died from their injuries but the sad question is how well were they breathing prior to their fatal encounters with law enforcement? This is not an attempt to put halos on their heads or equip them with angelic wings, but to actually look at their lives they were living. Garner was selling “loosies” on the corner, Harris was attempting to sell firearms to an undercover cop, and Gray had a history of low level drug crimes. Was this the life they thought they would be living? Did Garner aspire to sell loosies? No I am sure all of them wanted more but did they actually have an opportunity to get more? We hear people say work hard and you can achieve anything but is that true for the Gray who was exposed to lead paint as a child and survived off “lead checks”, like so many others in his community. My question is were these men already suffocating before they were killed. Were the circumstances of life destined to squeeze the oxygen out of their lungs? Share your thoughts.

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  • CK  On May 2, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    They were already suffocating. It is hard to breath when schools are only paid with local taxes when they should be paid by the state so every school district is treated equally. It is hard to breath when everyone around you thinks the well off are the enemy, and you don’t want to become the enemy too, so you don’t try to succeed. It is hard to breath when liberal ideas of marriage and parenting have caused your father to leave, because folks don’t think marriage or fathers are important. It is hard to breath when the union doesn’t hire blacks, has chased off the businesses that could provide the jobs, and refuses to require more training for police officers. I believe that certain people are using racism as a red herring so that people don’t think about the real reasons blacks are suffocating.

    • Bill  On May 4, 2015 at 11:52 pm

      CK I agree with most of your comments but I could not resist correcting the record on this oft repeated mischaracterization of the funding of Baltimore’s schools. Among the top 100 largest school districts in the U.S., Baltimore’s funding ranks #2 at $15,483 per pupil. Education funding cannot possibly be a factor of the social ills in this city.

      There is one common element that exists in virtually every violent incident that occurs between the police and young black men. That is either resisting arrest or an attempt to elude arrest. Whether a suspect believes he is being treated unjustly by the police or not the potential for the encounter to escalate into a violent event will be exacerbated as a result of resistance. Unfortunately, there are so many young men who have grown up in homes absent a strong authority figure, the father, that they fail to learn how to respect and defer to authority figures. Too often this is manifested in encounters with police by challenging their authority and this is tantamount to picking a fight that they’re sure to lose.

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