Many people have had fears of suffocating, losing their breath, drowning or even being trapped under the ice. How awful! Recently a car drove off the road and ended up in Lake Michigan, not too far from where I work. It was another tragic loss, another tragic death. Many times these tragedies just get glossed over. But what I want to talk about is the fact that we all are being choked – and some to death.
Eric Garner went through this, to no fault of his own. The New York Police Department basically killed him, maybe by accident. Possibly some police on the scene didn’t it this to happen, but he died, as the world watched on video. Either way, he’s gone and I’m still sad about it.
But that’s what happens to the marginalized people of our society. Garner’s affluent neighbors moved to town in a new upscale condo project, in an area that had been previously a crime-ridden place. Where once drug addicts had shot up a park across the street, there was now a new tower of privilege, and the affluent were demanding a crackdown.
Captains and lieutenants have the duty to keep the peace but often see this as a carte blanche to “get rid of the riff-raff”. That’s what happened on that fateful day when Eric breathed his last while gasping, “I can’t breath”!
Eric Garner is a martyr to the gentrification of his neighborhood, marginalized to make way for spreading affluence. In some ways, I believe that’s what is happening to you and me.
Robotics and modernization have left many with unusable skill sets, yet the cost of school is unaffordable or not worth the cost of admission. College loans have brought the weight of our era’s cross to bear on many, and the anguish of its demands have created a rat race driven society that’s gasping for breath.
Today, we are governed by a corporate cabal that believes that they are not responsible for anything, or anyone, no wonder many feel hopeless. The people in charge scream with all their might that they have no need to even care! Their small-government philosophy demands it. That’s probably why they say that a fish starts to rot at its head.
No wonder why our kids feel oppressed and why they are killing each other in our schools. The system itself is telling them, “You don’t matter and we will remove you if you get in our way”. It is the slogan of the modern age!
In America today, you have to work very very hard and be very very lucky for you’re stars to line up for a decent future. The system only works for you if you are one of the elites. If you are so lucky, you can end up lining your pockets while you destroy our planet and make your Bezos-style dreams of moving to mars come true!
Eric Garner was a father of five. He’d been to prison but lived his life for his children since his release. He sold cigarettes for his living. It was a hustle and he paid the ultimate price. Through police shakedowns, being held up by local thieves, he endured. Selling cigarettes is not legal but he wasn’t even doing it the day he was murdered.
As an ex-con, selling cigarettes was a living that he could do with the skills he had. There were chides and verbal abuse he took from the affluent newcomers to his once impoverished neighborhood. His clothes and shoes were worn to the point of having holes and yet he could only think of his children and did without for their sakes.
I believe millions of parents in our country do the same. Perhaps they do not suffer to the extent of Eric Garner, but the masses are to a place of learning to do without. When will the privileged look down from that ivory tower and wonder, how do they do it? How do they endure all they do just for the sake of another? I can’t breathe.