The New Symbol - Samurai Sword

Posted by Al Hathaway Thursday, September 17, 2009

An extremely disturbing occurrence in Baltimore was the killing of a African American man who broke into a garage by a Caucasian student of Johns Hopkins. The weapon used to kill the garage burglar was a samurai sword.


One will remember the Kill Bill 1 & 2 movies where the main character used a samurai sword to avenge her shooting when she was pregnant and about to be married.

When persons in the community of the killing were interviewed many expressed their anger that they were tired of being burglarized and terrorized and they where not going to take it anymore. Instead of focusing on the gruesomeness of the killing, the news media began a discussion about the African American man lengthy arrest record. State Prosecutors proclaim they need to investigate whether or not the Johns Hopkins student should be arrested and charged for his actions. Lost in the hysteria is that a man is dead for making a wrong choice of breaking into a garage.

The fact of the matter is race has to be factored into the discussion. Long ago it was thought that a Black life did not have the same value as a White life. When Whites became angered by actions of Black they would string them up and hang them from a tree by a noose. So prevalent was these actions that anti-lynching laws had to be placed on the books to makes these actions illegal.

Now we have a new symbol, instead of a noose it is a samurai sword. While the symbol may be new the actors are the same, a White Man can kill a Black Man anytime they choose for any reason they wish. A Black life is of less value than a White life.

In our current environment those of us who remember "Emmett Till" will have to be vigilant. Vigilantism is on the rise particular when it comes to assaults verbal and physical against African Americans.

Lost in our cultural context is the Biblical Mandate, "Thou Shall Not Kill."

8 comments

  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. Where do you make the connection between race and what happened in this instance? Or that any of the positive responses to this even suggest that "a White Man can kill a Black Man anytime they chose for any reason they wish"? According to the Sun article that you linked, "Rice lunged at Pontolillo". That, coupled with the fact that he was trespassing and had broken into the building, hardly supports any assertion that the killing was racially motivated or that it was done for frivolous reasons. The facts that have been released so far suggest very strongly that the student made a snap decision to defend himself in an extraordinarily tense moment. Further, the same facts (again, as they have been released so far) indicate that his decision was justified.

    The loss of life in this case is tragic. As is the psychological effect this will likely have on the student. The gruesomeness of the killing has little bearing on what happened. Would it be less tragic if it had occurred in a less gruesome manner? Would it be less tragic if another weapon (bare hands probably wouldn't have spilled blood) had been used? I don't think so.

    "Lost in the hysteria is that a man is dead for making a wrong choice of breaking into a garage."

    At least based on my reading of many of the comments on the various Sun articles, people are pointing out exactly this fact. Mr. Rice made a choice when he broke into that garage. It was a very dangerous choice, and in this case the consequences were his death. Is it unfortunate that somebody had to die? Of course! But it is still the consequence of Mr. Rice's choice.

    You point out on the Sun's site that "an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind". I heartily agree. But the concept of an eye for an eye is one that is reserved for the aftermath of a crime (or other action). When I mention consequences above, I'm not talking about punishment. Mr. Rice was not killed in any kind of punishment for what he did. And thus the mention of lynching is completely irrelevant. Mr. Rice died in the heat of the moment. He died because he lunged at person who was likely terrified, but also was carrying a weapon. He died because he did something terribly unwise. If he had been put to death as a punishment for making a bad decision, it would be terribly unjust. But that is not what happened. And as a result, what happened is simply terribly unfortunate.

    So, ultimately, the races of he people involved are irrelevant. I honestly believe the exact same thing would have occurred if the races were reversed (which is not the case in all situations, but is here). If I am missing something, then please educate me. But I just don't see it here.

     
  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. I agree with the previous poster. Your allegations of racism are more racially incindiary than the actions of the student. Take race out of the equation and the story is no less sad. One person is dead and one is damaged for the rest of his life. There are very rare instances that the killing of one human being is morally justified and this is one of them.

     
  5. Anonymous Says:
  6. Race has nothing to do with it. That student would have defended himself no matter what race the guy who broke in was. This is stupid

     
  7. oh ok if you want to bring race into it, how come so many African American males are committing crimes in Baltimore? Is that the fault of the "Caucasians"?

     
  8. Really I don't care what the races are here in this case. I am just happy that a criminal got killed. I am sick of the crime in Baltimore. Stop defending criminals. They get maybe one or two chances to turn their lives around, but after that they are worthless humans and terrorists and should be dealt with accordingly.

     
  9. Dr Hathaway Says:
  10. Let me provide some clarity to the post. (1)A African American Male with a lengthy criminal record lurking in the alley way of a neighborhood in which he does not live is a cause for extreme suspicion. (2)A Caucasian Male upset about goods stolen from his home and seeking a confrontation with any potential perpetrator can in some sense be understood. You have to factor in his youthfulness to counteract the foolishness of confronting a potential hostile person by yourself. (3)Not totally involving the police force in the surveillance of the area outside of his home gives one cause for pause. (4)To determine that one will strike out at any potential assailant/robber one may confront strikes me as a "wild wild west" mentality. (5)To kill the assailant/robber who you had already determined if I encounter one I intent to strike a blow with my sword speaks to the mindset of the student. (6) To have "career criminal" in front of you in any manner is provides one with the justification to protect yourself by any means necessary. (7) To kill that possible assailant/robber is extreme even if unintended. (8) There is an historical context of Caucasian men, in particular) taking the law into their own hands in matters related to African Americans (hence the reference to nooses) (9) To negate race as a factor in the public dialogue would cause one to think that one's hand is in the sand (10) This is an extremely sad situation that should cause the citizens of Baltimore who are of good will to express the kind of outrage required to reverse a disturbing trend toward violence as a norm. (11) Unfortunately criminality is not confined to a particular racial group but is endemic to the state of our culture.

     
  11. Anonymous Says:
  12. Maybe the stupid asshole should have stopped stealing from innocent people the 29th time he was caught?

    Good for the kid with the sword. The world needs more people like him, and more dead pieces of shit like Rice.

     
  13. Anonymous Says:
  14. Hey, asshole, maybe you should be more concerned about the dozens of BLACK kids being murdered every month by BLACK men, instead of crying about "mean ole Whitey just lynched hisself another brother."

    Typical race-baiting shit from a professional "Black victim," ignoring the reality that Black men---who make up a tiny fraction of the population of the United States---commit OVER HALF of the murders in this country.

    There's a problem with the murder of Blacks in America.

    THE PROBLEM IS THAT MOST OF THEM ARE COMMITTED BY OTHER BLACKS.

    But you own house in order before you try lynching this White boy for defending himself against a proven career criminal.

     

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