It is a sad and unfortunate event that occurred. As a preface, I am speaking as one who has experienced racism and bullying from whites, blacks, and Hispanics when I came to this country, so I have quite a different outlook on these matters rather than those who align themselves with the prevailing dogma of “the evil white man”. In addition, I grew up in the “street culture” and have been exposed to a number of incidents involving gun violence (one of them being a childhood friend’s boyfriend being shot right outside of my home).
With that being stated, I believe the men involved need to be charged. More than likely, it will result in manslaughter charges for the men involved due to the circumstances. Georgia law permits a citizen’s arrest when a civilian is a witness to or aware of a crime committed by an individual.
Georgia law also defines burglary as “the breaking and entering into any structure with the intent to commit a felony therein. You must intend to commit an underlying offense, which can be a crime against property, such as theft; or a crime against a person, such as assault. Like other Georgia criminal charges, burglary can be charged in different degrees according to the severity of the crime. O.C.G.A. §16-7-1.”
Surveillance footage has also surfaced showing Arbery entering the premises. The first video shows footage of Arbery in the home. The second video shows footage from outside the home and also has a record of the 911 calls made. An acquaintance of mine, Chioke Brown of Consider Culture, is the narrator breaking things down in the second video.
One may suggest that many people have entered construction sites and see nothing wrong with this. One may also not have knowledge of the value of certain things that can be taken from construction sites and resold for a decent price (example: copper pipes). Without immediate access to the surveillance footage of the inside of the dwelling, if one were to just happen to see someone entering a home that was not theirs, they may suspect criminal activity. Although Arbery did not take anything, surveillance footage of the inside of the dwelling was not available at the time. Surveillance footage from outside of the building also showed that Arbery walked inside the building yet he sprinted when he left the building. This same footage also showed the 911 caller who spotted Arbery walking into the building and then sprinting when he realized he was spotted. In addition, the surveillance footage showed Arbery unsuccessfully attempting to enter the dwelling through the front, but then he circled around the home and entered through another way. No surveillance footage showing how he entered exists to my immedite knowledge but footage does exist showing Arbery inside the dwelling. Media reporters have been reporting that a crime was not committed. Most people would not commit a crime when they are spotted. Breaking and entering is not legal either. In addition, cargo shorts and what looks to be an oversized t-shirt is not jogging attire.
If you look at a map of the neighborhood Arbery resided in and the neighborhood that he was shot in, the distance to and from both neighborhoods is around 2 miles. This means that it was around a 4 mile jog. However, one must also be aware that he had to cross a highway to get to his destination. This begs the question: why would someone jog to a neighborhood on the other side of a highway rather than jog around the other neighborhoods on the same side of the highway as one’s own neighborhood?
In addition, the viral video shows Arbery running towards the truck and the gunman. Fighting is necessary when close up against a gunman but running towards a gunman and then fighting is unwise. The smartest thing to do is avoid danger when one is a distance away from the gun. If the gunman wanted to, he could have shot Arbery as he was running towards him if this was just for the purposes of murder.
Now, what I think the men involved should have done was notify the police and possibly even tail him, instead of getting up in his face due to the potential that he was armed or the potential of a fight breaking out where Arbery ends up shot, as that is what actually happened. With that in mind, the men involved should be charged with manslaughter according to the circumstances and the data we have available.
What I don’t understand is how media journalists, politicians, and even the public automatically jumped to conclusions about racism rather than waiting for more evidence to come out. Such ideologies are dangerous and are contributing to potential race wars, yet none of these “race-hustlers” that only intend to profit in the form of ratings and votes off of racism seem to be prosecuted or at least fired from their positions. It is also amazing that the public is so forgetful. We seem to have forgotten how journalists, politicians, and the public automatically took Jussie Smollet’s side, yet when the facts came out, we learned that Smollet was a liar. Yet, even then, no journalists or politicians were charged for their crimes against the public.
Many might even say that one who is not black will never understand nor should have a say so when it comes to race relations. With that logic, I suppose doctors should have had cancer before they can provide treatments to others with cancer and Al Capone should be the one sentencing criminals. Many different groups of people in different parts of the world have experienced discrimination. The Indians in East Africa, the Lebanese in West Africa, the Ibos in Nigeria, the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, and the Chinese in South East Asia all serve as examples of groups of people that have been discriminated against. Discrimination and prejudice is not limited to black-white relations.
Others may even suggest that one “should see how it feels if this were their child or loved one”. Situations such as these should be assessed based on the available facts, not feelings. This is the same reason why surgeons do not operate on their family members. Emotions have led to some unintended consequences. Even the Spanish priests, who had good intentions of helping the Western Hemisphere Indians unlike the conquistadors, killed more Western Hemisphere Indians than the conquistadors due to the diseases they brought over. On a personal note, around 10 years ago, my childhood friend’s boyfriend was murdered right outside of my home. The shooting was due to a planned robbery the victim orchestrated under the mask of a drug deal. It was a tragic event, as my family had to clean up a lot of the blood and gore that ended up getting onto our driveway during the incident. However, the family of the victim held memorial services insisting he was a “good kid” and “never hurt anybody”, yet no one spoke of the mistakes made that day and how these lessons can be passed down to our youths in hopes that they do not continue this cycle of “street culture” that is so prevalent in our society. Avoiding unpleasant truths about a situation or act due to emotion does more harm than the situation or act itself.
Racism is alive today, but it is kept on life support by race hustling politicians who only care about minority votes and media journalists who pay no price for ruining race relations and potentially creating a race war.