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Capital Punishment

.. grandchildren and not just to our own futures. If we do not attempt to change things now, how much harder will it be twenty or a hundred years from now to fix everything that has been done. Legislative action should also be taken to ensure that proper procedures are being followed. It took the civil rights movement years to get their point across, but they finally did when the Supreme Court ordered desegregation of schools, buses, restaurants, etc. If a state did not comply, then the National Guard was sent in such as in Little Rock, Arkansas, when the Governor refused to desegregate schools. The federal government tries to let each state rule itself as it says in the constitution, but there comes a time when if something is not done correctly then some higher power has to take charge, and in this case that higher power is the federal government, and if it takes the army to get the point across then that is what must be done.

Heavy taxation policies such as those used when Yonkers refused to integrate its school can also be put into place so that everyone may follow the laws. We call ourselves a democratic country but if the people cannot do what is best for the country then the government should take action. President John F. Kennedy once said that “the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened”. It is the duty of every American and every person around the world to look out for his/her neighbor.

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To quote a famous passage from the Scriptures: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The answer is yes. We are all held responsible for the way our society works. Especially in a democratic government which is supposed to be run for the people and by the people. The statistics show that our society is on a decline and we need to do something soon. We must make America what it was meant to be and if it means making a sacrifice then that is what must be done.

This is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, but what kind of freedom is there in a society where social mobility is nearly impossible without the aid of altruistic sources? For years people have come to America to follow their own religion without being persecuted, or to escape some kind of threat to themselves. Isn’t it then our duty to protect the weak and weary? America is the land of opportunity but what price must be paid? In order to make America truly what it stands for many things must be changed. The whole system must be changed from the inside out. More money needs to be dedicated to educating the children and to provide proper resources to the court system. Police departments should be run the way they were meant to be.

They should serve and protect, not kill the innocent. Many holes need to be patched in the system but it requires a change in attitude around the country in regards to race and class. We must stop thinking about finding quick solutions and we must begin to think about the long run, and find solutions that solve problems, not create more. We live in a democracy and we have the right to decide where our tax dollars go. The American public needs to make a stand on what’s right before it’s too late the politics of the system finally cause it to crash. As Amadou Diallo’s mother mentioned in an interview done by CNN, justice was not served in this case.

Amadou Diallo was shot at forty-one times by four police officers right outside his home in the Bronx because he seemed to fit the description of a wanted felon. From the interviews I have seen and the articles I have read in newspapers, it seems to me like this shooting was nothing but poor police work on the part of the officers. They claim that Mr. Diallo waved an object that looked like a gun, later discovered to be his wallet, at them and that act forced them to shoot Mr. Diallo. Certainly in the dark things may get distorted and one might see something that is not there but it is the police officers’ duty to differentiate between reality and what appears to be and to take every precaution necessary to ensure that a life will not be unnecessarily lost.

This officers were part of a special crime unit and therefore that fact should prove that they are especially trained to deal with these types of situations. Another thing one might consider is that if Amadou Diallo’s wallet was confused for a gun, how could the officers possibly have any idea whether they had caught the right guy or not. They stated during the trial that Mr. Diallo was standing just outside his door and that it was dark. It is certainly possible that this was not the right man, and in this case it was not.

So was racial profiling an issue in this incident? I don’t believe that if one of the four officers were African-American it would have mattered in any way. If one of the officers had acted in such a careless manner as these four did then the rest would more than likely have followed with the same reaction, and shot Mr. Diallo. While the fact that all four officers involved were white seems to me irrelevant, it seems to me like there indeed was some sort of racial profiling done. The description of the wanted felon loosely fit that of Mr.

Diallo’s. What was the description? A tall, thin, African-American with a short haircut? That description fits many people. If the police’s job is to serve and protect than police officers should be better trained to recognize criminals and they should be better trained to deal with situations of this sort so that incidents like this don’t occur again. Even if one of those officers had been black, I think racial profiling would have occurred because while Police Chief Howard Safir denies the NYPD’s use of racial profiling, it seems evident in this case and in many cases around the country that racial profiling is used heavily. The NYPD and other police departments around the country should be better instructed to deal with these kind of situations.

The police officers should make sure that the subject they have caught sight of is the right one. If the subject is in a dark area and can’t be identified, then every effort should be made to make that suspect come out and show him/herself. Another problem in the Diallo case is that the officers were probably not very psychologically trained to deal with what occurred. Police work is very arduous work and it takes a lot out of a person. Psychological testing should be made available to all officers to ensure their mental well being so that when they have to make a decision very suddenly, that they can make the right one.

The NYPD is certainly one of the best in the country at what it does, but as shown in this case more has to be done. Police officers cannot make these mistakes in identifying an suspect. Shooting should be a last resort. If we cannot trust the police department to do their job than who can we trust our lives to? Their responsibility is to serve and to protect, not to shoot innocent people. Every effort should be made to ensure that justice is served and that other officers may learn from this incident.

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