The Problem is Systemic… and it Must Change.

Is there any DOUBT? After this week… how can anyone NOT see it?

C05647AA-8F15-4DEF-BC9B-FADB4DE2E9D8
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/more-bubbas-no-black-pastors-attorney-man-accused-killing-arbery-n1284089

14BDD283-0458-41BF-8267-7A932981953C
https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/03/us/ahmaud-arbery-jury-what-we-know/index.html

2FAAD01A-4232-4664-83BA-32A2A1610200
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/17/nyregion/malcolm-x-killing-exonerated.html

The problem is SYSTEMIC. It permeates the entire Judicial System. From the way LAWS are created to the way they are enforced, to the way Justice is carried out… how much more PROOF do we need?

7CDE8525-0184-439B-B86F-8651E28B5A06
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/18/nyregion/christopher-belter-rape-sentence.html

09943F0F-08C5-4C5E-866A-D31A925EADD3
https://www.kcur.org/news/2021-06-03/missouri-governor-does-not-pardon-kevin-strickland-who-prosecutor-says-is-wrongfully-imprisoned

On January 15, 2021, James Comey was on The Beat w/ Ari Melber, talking about possible charges being brought in connection with the January 6th insurrection. While speaking about potential investigatory strategies that might be pursued by the FBI, Dir. Comey spoke about “prosecutorial discretion”.

C5D50049-83A9-4F9C-8F78-4CC0A8A24DE0

I tried to find the footage from that interview but… apparently it has fallen down the memory hole.

As an example of the potential unwarranted collateral damage the FBI could cause simply by bringing charges and issuing warrants for arrest, Dir. Comey suggested a hypothetical case of two parents being charged with drug trafficking.

IF there were multiple children in the home, prosecutorial discretion could be used and charges might only be brought against ONE parent instead of BOTH… for the well-being of the children.

Prosecutorial Discretion… boy, if that’s not a euphemism then I don’t know what is.

1AA0FF7F-D647-47F4-9C5C-623C781105A4

73BB4D4A-ADC0-4FB6-876B-744F8D47DD17

9D46180D-DB2C-4FEE-97EA-E7FD507169F8

When I was seventeen, I think it was the winter before my senior year in high school, me and three buddies all piled into Jason’s 86 Buick Skylark… alcohol may have DEFINITELY been involved.

We stopped at a brand new gas station that had just recently opened. It was fully automated. Back in 1997, this was something we’d never seen before. As soon as we realized there were no gas station attendants on-site… we decided to trash the place.

Window squeegees tossed, paper towels all thrown out, gas pump handles unholstered… I don’t know why, male stupidity fueled by Mad Dog 20/20 I suppose. In the moment, all four of us thought it was a GOOD IDEA.

Three days later when the COPS showed up at Jason’s house, we realized we’d messed up… apparently we forgot surveillance cameras exist.

After school that day, Jason’s Dad told us what happened. Since we only caused superficial damage, the owners of the gas station decided not to press charges… the Officers just wanted to let him know it was his son’s CAR they saw on the footage.

We spent the next three Saturdays raking leaves and doing odd jobs to “pay off our debts”… instead of being arrested.

And that’s just ONE example.


My roommate and I threw a party one night when I was living in my first apartment. As more alcohol was consumed we got louder. Some time after midnight, my roommate challenged one of his friends to some Greco-Roman-style wrestling (as he was known to do) in the living room of our
second floor apartment… and shortly after that, the COPS arrived.

They confiscated some questionable paraphernalia and poured out the bottles that were on the kitchen counter. After a search of the apartment and a promise that none of us were driving anywhere the rest of the evening, they issued us a citation for Minor In Possession of Alcohol and left…

Ignoring the THREE OUNCES of MARIJUANA I had sitting out on a pizza pan, lying on top of a pile of dirty clothes on the floor of my closet.

7A80895E-980C-447B-8D9A-5A9125D3853E

https://www.aclu.org/gallery/marijuana-arrests-numbers

My roommate and his buddies liked to drink… a lot. I liked to smoke pot like it was going extinct… all of us were amazed that no one was arrested that night.

At the time we chalked it up to the idea that they were just looking for something else… harder drugs, people with warrants, etc. I don’t think the idea that we were a bunch of WHITE KIDS ever crossed our minds, it may not have even crossed those Officers’ minds. But I can’t help but think… would that night have turned out differently if we were BLACK?

Every piece of evidence I’ve seen over the last twenty-some years since that night tells me, yes… it would have been different.

While I am grateful for having been given the gift of a second chance, I feel guilty about the way in which it was given. How many of us can point to a particular point in TIME where compassion was shown; where if it had not, our lives wouldn’t have turned out the same? Traffic stops, speeding tickets, random encounters…

How many of us cannot?

372D8DF1-43B4-438C-9169-E3738C5C3296
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driving_while_black

I was GUILTY of possessing a CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE… what crime did Philando Castile commit? What crime did Jacob Blake commit? Where is the BALANCE… the EQUITY in that?

I don’t want things to change because I believe more WHITE PEOPLE should be arrested and sent to jail. Things need to change because I believe EVERYONE should be treated with the same level of compassion and respect that I was shown…

Regardless of the color of your SKIN. Regardless of the clothes on your BACK. Regardless of the numbers in your BANK ACCOUNT.

It seems like a futile endeavor, attempting to establish EQUITY within a system that is inequitable at its heart. To ignore the fact that EQUALITY is absent and still continue to pursue EQUITY is like offering someone a BRIBE. A PAY-OFF… a SETTLEMENT.

Sorry the system screwed you and will continue to do so in the future… here’s some MONEY. Now we’re even.’

The system is UN-EQUAL. Why continue to work to lift up downtrodden parts of our society if the system continues to be UN-EQUAL in its operation? Without Equal Protection Under Law, any progress that is made will simply wash away with the passage of TIME… under a different Administration. During another chaotic period in time.

It seems like it would require more effort and resources to make an UN-EQUAL system more EQUITABLE, than it would if we were to simply ensure EQUALITY is what the system is based upon from the start. Once we’ve established a foundation of EQUALITY, then we can work to ensure it is equitable for EVERYONE.

The problem is SYSTEMIC and it must CHANGE. If it can happen to ONE of us… then it can happen to us ALL.

-JC

Author: jackcharbonneau

Husband, father, housewife, musician, theoretical astrophysicist, (FMR) Presidential Candidate in 2020, and all-around human guy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: