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05-27-03


          Well, I guess its finally time for me to discuss the issue of racism. Its time because locally we have an issue involving a white cop shooting a black criminal and its caused quite a stir here in Portland. Before I get into how I feel about this particular incident, please let me give an introduction to this topic.

          From the time we are very young, we are taught that "people are all the same". That's a load of crap. One of the great things about this world that God created for us is that we are all different. Every race, religion, ethnicity, and even every individual has a unique history that makes each of us different from everybody else. Our own experiences and the history of the larger groups to which we belong give us our own identity. One of the greatest contributors to our identity is culture. At one time, travel was limited so different cultures had little or no contact with each other. Africans, South Americans, Asians, Eastern and Western Euopeans, Middle Easterners, and North Americans all evolved under different sets of cicumstances, mainly the environment and the resources available to each. This all adds up to a greatly diverse society today but also creates problems because we all believe that " we" are right. I believe what I believe and I expect you to respect that just as I respect your right to believe what you want to, even if I think its wrong. Killing in the name of God, Allah or some other demi-god is a travesty to every religion.

          On to the Kendra James story. On May 5, 2003 a car was pulled over in North Portland, an area well known for high gang and drug activity. As officers were detaining 2 occupants of the car, Kendra James, one of the passengers, climbed into the drivers seat and attempted to drive away. Officer Scott McCollister climbed part way through the driver's window while another officer fired a taser at James. The taser had no effect, nor did chemical spray that Officer McCollister sprayed at James. At this point Officer McCollister fearing being sucked under the car as it was speeding away, fired one shot from his 9mm pistol striking and killing James. Further investigation showed that James was under the influence of cocaine and had a history of fleeing from and fighting with Portland police officers. One last note in this paragraph ...... After hearing from 25 witnesses, a grand jury determined that Officer McCollister was justified in shooting the criminal.

          Kendra James was an African American. Officer McCollister is white. I bet you can guess what happened next. Portland's African American community is saying that Officer McCollister shot Kendra James because she was black. Hmmmmmmmmm. Typical ain't it? What's an officer supposed to do? Was the rest of the back community at the scene? Were they in the officer's shoes? NO!!!!! If someone puts an officer's life in danger the officer has every right to shoot. Lesson - When pulled over by the police, do what you are told. All too often police officers are killed by criminals who don't want to get caught. This incident had nothing to do with race. It had everything to do with a criminal who put a police officer's life in danger and died as a direct result of that action.