Guerilla Life

I know there is something to be said. I know that at some point I need to say it… I struggle with what it is and is it even worth saying.

Here’s what I know:

I have black friends.
They do live a different life than I do.
They are treated differently.
They have legitimate fears that I don’t have.

Let me explain something. I do not look like an upstanding citizen by traditional standards. I have long hair, tattoos, depending on the day I may be dressed fairly homeless. That puts me at a slight disadvantage when it comes to authorities… but it’s all by choice and let’s be honest that disadvantage is probably all in my head. I’m a 34 year old white male from the south.

Some of you reading this are probably saying, “Damn Bobby, not you too.

My response is. “Shut the f*** up!

Let me tell you reality.

A couple of months ago I was driving home from a meeting. The meeting happened to be at a brewery where I had 2 beers over the course of 2.5 hours. I was not under the influence of alcohol in any way but the fact is that I had consumed alcohol.
About a mile from my house there is a 4 way stop. 4 cars all stopped at the same time, which happens often at this spot. I had my radio cranked blasting pop music (don’t judge) and I decided to be the first to go. Little did I know that a police officer responding to a call was speeding around me and turning directly in front of me! Maybe I should have looked better… but I didn’t and I hit a cop car!
They literally called CSI because they can’t investigate their own accidents. During the course of the 1.5 hour investigation I found out that my license was not valid! I was legal to drive but I had to get a new drivers license and I wasn’t able to drive home from there.
Also, the registration on my car was not current.
The entire time I was thinking, “Just don’t ask where I was coming from.” That would have been the icing on the cake!
By the end of it all I had hit a cop, had extreme fear that they would ask where I was coming from, had a not valid drivers license, no current registration on my car.
I was terrified I was going to get a ticket or worse in the beginning. After the investigation it was determined that the accident was not my fault and the officer was actually at fault! By that point I was joking with the cops on the scene, even poking fun at the one at fault, he didn’t seem to happy with it… but hey I’m white.

Let’s contrast my story, where I was in the wrong on several points with a story from a friend of mine. Carlton and I grew up in the same town. We’ve literally known each other the majority of our lives. Carlton is a great guy. Always has been.

Here’s a story that he just shared:

“The other day our house alarm went off early in the morning. I jumped up, got my 9mm and started searching the house. Got a call from the security company. They asked if I needed the police to come out. I said yes.
By the time the police got there I was outside with my gun searching the outside of the house.
Then I thought “oh crap, they’re about to approach me, and I have a gun in my hand.”
Then I started thinking about all the innocent black men who had been killed by cops, and I immediately started fearing for my life, thinking what if they mistake me for the robber instead of the person who lives here.
Not really knowing what to do, and having very little time before the police got out the car, the only thing I could think to do was hide the gun under my right arm.
Now some may think that wasn’t the best thing to do.
Maybe. Maybe not, but today we obviously know that telling them that you have a gun wasn’t the answer (as we recently just found out).
The cops approached me on my left side. They asked me for my license. I gave it to them.
We had just moved so my license address didn’t match my current address …smh. They called that in to verify my identity.
Now mind you all this is happening while a 9mm is tucked under my right arm. Finally after everything cleared, we realized it was a false alarm, and I thought everything was good, the white cop reached out to shake my hand. My RIGHT hand !!! All I could do was keep my gun tucked and shake his hand like I had something wrong with my arm and couldn’t extend it. That was scary. God was definitely watching over me!”

Notice the difference here. I actually had a few things that could have been held against me… In fact I would say if I were black I would have been taken to jail and charged with several things. I was really only worried about getting a ticket.

Sure there was a gun involved. But we all know damn good and well if I were approached by a cop I could say, “Officer I have a gun on me because I was concerned for my family.” And the situation would be fine. Carlton didn’t even have the option.

Carlton on the other hand was literally just making sure his family was safe and was fearing for his life. Carlton is a church musician and producer, y’all! He’s not a hardened criminal by any means. But he had to fear for his life.

There is something wrong with this.
It is wrong that my friend had to fear for his life because of the color of his skin.
It’s wrong that fear has gripped this country for far too long.
It’s wrong that my black brothers don’t feel like my brothers.

I’m here to say it loud and say it proud.

“You are my brother!”

“You are my sister!”

If you are with me and you feel any different you better call my ass out quick.
The truth is that all life matters, yes. But for far too long there has been a devaluation of black lives. So when people get up in arms about‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬ it’s time for me to step in and say something.

It’s time for me to say we are readjusting the racial economy now. We are moving towards equality. Excuse me if I use some of my words, time and energy to build value in my dark skinned brothers. If that offends you, then by all means be offended. I won’t let your offense stifle my love for my brothers and sisters.

Your ignorance is painful.
Your ignorance will die.
Your ignorance only prolongs the solution.

The good news is that there are people searching for a solution. There are people who care. It’s time that we care a little more. It’s time that we destroy some walls.

You really want to kill the ignorance? Starting living together. Let’s begin small. Let’s offend the offended by our love for one another.

Black friends, you matter. You matter deeply to me. If you need an ear to talk to, I’m here. If you need someone to stand beside you in protest, I’m here. If you need anything, just ask me.

I feel like my words are meaningless compared to the enormity of the loss that we’ve seen lately. The loss of life is one thing but the loss of respect and the loss of safety needs to be addressed. If we begin addressing that we can begin to restore the value of these lives in the eyes of those that seem to not understand. If we want to stop the cycle we have to do it together. We have to do it as a family.

It has to start somewhere It has to start sometime

What better place than here, what better time than now?

All hell can’t stop us now
All hell can’t stop us now
All hell can’t stop us now
All hell can’t stop us now
All hell can’t stop us now
All hell can’t stop us now

Guerilla Life

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