I have often made the point, when discussing the extreme violence and overreaction of police across the nation, that I have never heard of an unarmed White male being killed by police – with a hail of bullets that number in the dozens. I have said I also have not heard of police killing a White male that is armed in such a manner either. I may have to revise that statement.
It is now hitting the news that the cousin of the Texas Governor Rick Perry was shot and killed by police over the weekend of September 27th. The news is still being pieced together but what is known is that police received a 911 call mentioning a disturbance of some type. It is unclear whether that was disturbing the peace and/or firing a gun – news reports I’ve seen so far conflict on this.
Either way, 2 officers came to the home of Larry Don Wheeler, the aforementioned cousin. Wheeler was 74 and had been a member of Gov. Perry’s 2006 re-election steering committee (though currently Gov. Perry is denying knowledge of his cousin). He was sitting on his porch having just finished dinner. His wife was just inside the house as police arrived. The next part is completely unknown.
Somehow gunfire was exchanged between the officers and Wheeler. One officer received a wound to his hand from shotgun pellets, Wheeler was shot dead. Wheeler’s wife was amazed.
An investigation is underway. It is unknown how many shots were fired, and/or how many struck Wheeler.
If in fact Wheeler was shot some 24 or more times, potentially having been shot while lying on the ground dead or dying, then I will have to amend my claim. Slightly, since Wheeler was armed. But I believe when the facts become known, it will be far more likely that he was shot at no more than 6 times in total.
I don’t mean to be harsh, but I am trying to be fair. And I am highlighting something that so many refuse to see. The difference in police reactions, across the nation, when dealing with even an armed and possibly dangerous person that is White, as contrast to a person of color that is unarmed. If my guess is correct, and we see few shots fired, even as police were under fire, I will be left just as bewildered and angry as prior to this news by the numerous cases of police shooting young unarmed Black men between 2 dozen and halfway to 100 times.
If it takes anger by my posting this, to make the nation understand the systemic issue here then so be it. Because there is a problem. And when I can go virtually State by State from one coast to another, and from border to border, and in some extremes all in one day, and give examples of the death resulting from this police excess – its not isolated events. Not when there is no comparison that I am aware of, unless Wheeler was shot 42 times. And Vegas wouldn’t even give me odds on the chance of that happening.
I am sorry to hear of this. But at the same time, my bigger concern is the next child or parent of an Oscar Grant or Adolph Grimes, or Sean Bell, or Amadou Diallo, and on and on.