Zachary Hammond’s murder is only the most recent example, not of institutional racism, but of the increasingly blurry line between our civil and military authorities, likewise the dug-in adversarial, even predatory, relationship that now exists between law enforcement and the public it ostensibly serves.
This phenomenon transcends race, although race admittedly can be a factor in how it plays out in the field. But so can gender. So can apparent social status and national origin. The massive auto-immune response triggered by 9-11 has become so virulent that almost no one is safe from it. Not even unarmed, white, male teenagers sitting in their cars.
For those who don’t know, Zachary Hammond was such a teenager, gunned down July 26 by Lt. Mark Tiller of the Seneca Police Department when Tiller reportedly “felt threatened” after blocking Hammond’s car in a Hardee’s drive-through. Tiller claims that Hammond had begun to drive toward him, so he opened fire, hitting Hammond once in the shoulder and once in the chest.
Hammond’s death has been ruled a homicide, Tiller is now on administrative leave and an independent autopsy obtained by Hammond’s family seems to contradict Tiller’s exculpatory tale. Meanwhile, some people are asking why Hammond’s white-on-white murder hasn’t inspired the same degree of outrage as recent white-on-black police killings. Good question.
Why has #ZacharyHammond been subsumed by #BlackLivesMatter, as if Hammond were a casualty in a war that had nothing to do with him?
I submit for your consideration #NascentPoliceState.
Or if you prefer, #CytokeneStorm.