On December 20, 2019 in Lawrence County, Indiana, a bald eagle was shot out of the sky. An investigation was launched almost immediately and a $500 reward was offered to anyone with information on the culprit. The event made national news, allowing countless Americans to see their symbol of freedom outstretched and lifeless on a piece of pavement. To kill the national bird is to violate two 50-plus-year-old federal statutes, being the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the offense could result in up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. So, it is worthy of arrest to kill this bird, but not for public servants to trespass on private property by use of bogus, unjustifiable warrants, go on to kill an innocent person on that property, and then falsify the information in the resulting report, all of which happened in the case of Breonna Taylor this March. Something like that, killer and former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison can tell you, is merely worth losing your job, which, in the police business, doesn’t mean much anyway.
Critics: I beg you to reconsider before attempting to argue that the embarrassingly lackluster “Breonna’s Law” is a legislative protection akin to those that bald eagles enjoy, which are, as previously stated, federally mandated. A city-(and, at most, state-)wide motion to ban no-knock warrants does not mean the end of Black Louisville residents being unlawfully murdered by the police when they are still free to shoot at them once they’ve left the house. One may think twice about killing a six-figure bird whose life could cost you your freedom. A crooked police officer doesn’t need a no-knock warrant to murder a Black person and make off like they won the lottery.
What does it say about America that its courts are more concerned with protecting the symbols of freedom than ensuring that the freedom those symbols represent is enjoyed by all Americans? The blissfully ignorant crowd may say what they will about us all being protected equally under the law. I apologize that I cannot consider Black people to be as free and protected as others when they can be murdered in the dead of night in their own homes without serious repercussions for anyone involved. But that is the ongoing legacy of the racism Black Americans have always known.
Glenn Kessler, the editor and chief writer of The Washington Post‘s “Fact Checker” section, tweeted “Irony is dead” after retweeting a video of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lambasting the Chinese government as “incapable of being transparent, of accepting criticism, of allowing reporters to ask them questions that they find uncomfortable,” which, of course, sounds absolutely nothing like his own Commander-in-Chief who ignored a reporter that made him uncomfortable less than a week ago. Yes, Glenn, it is. There is no irony left in the land of the free and over-incarcerated, where you may be thrown in prison for shooting a bird but not for shooting a 12-year-old of the accursed hue.