Haven W. Arkansas

Hands Up, Don't Shoot

All lives do matter. It's time that the country acts like it.

Dear Future President,

Congratulations! You won the biggest popularity contest in the nation! Now that the cider has been corked and the party streamers have been put away, it’s time to start focusing on the real issues plaguing the country. Spoiler: There are a lot.

Like, a lot.

Crime of all kind is on the rise. Gun violence is at an all time high, and rape is a well-known horror story of many Americans. Each day, black and Latinx people are shot by the same people who are supposed to be protecting them. The wage gap between men and women continues to grow. There are literal, honest to God clowns roaming the streets. Pumpkin spice frappuccinos are too expensive at Starbucks.

It’s clear to see that entropy is enveloping the nation. Fortunately, there’s a bright side; you have the power to fix these problems! The future of your children and your children’s children is in your hands to shape into something wholly different. We, the youth, are rooting for you.

Perhaps the biggest issue our country faces in today’s day and age is the sheer amount of black people being killed by the police everyday. Over 800 African-Americans have died due to the police since the start of 2016. I think we can both agree that this phenomenon is far too widespread and common to be merely a “mistake” by an officer who feared for their life, especially considering the suspicious circumstances surrounding many of the victims’ deaths. Terrence Crutcher, for instance, was stopped on the side of the road in Tulsa due to a car breakdown. The next thing anyone knew, he was tased and then shot to death by cops who found him. The officer who personally shot him claimed he acted as if he was under the influence of drugs and that she feared for her life. Citizens immediately rushed to defend her, stating that self defense is an officer’s right. In toto, this is a very interesting rendition of the events, considering the fact that there was no evidence that he was on drugs, and Crutcher had his hands up. This clashes with the officers’ statements that the man wasn’t complying.

As you’re well aware, the video footage of the shooting went viral. The truth of what happened permeated the internet for weeks. It’s as clear a sign of injust policing and brutality as it is a symbol of tragedy. This event should have been a call to arms across the nation. Instead, people jumped to the side of the officers with symbols like #AllLivesMatter and #FriendofthePolice. For many black people and activists, this is exhausting.

I wish it didn’t need to be said, but the amount of confusion regarding the #BlackLivesMatter movement warrants explanation. Yes, all lives matter. Unfortunately for us as a society, however, it is black lives in particular that are being ended prematurely and without cause. Yes, the police should be protecting us, and they have a difficult job. This does not mean that the actions that led to the deaths of Eric Garner, Terrence Crutcher, and Travyon Martin are excusable. All lives matter. We just wish the country would act like they did.

As stated earlier, there are numerous problems concerning the state of our country right now. I hope you, as the newest commander-in-charge, will take action against injust death and corruption in the nation. Our future is in your hands. We only ask that you don’t let any of us slip through your fingers.


Haven W.

Searcy High School

Ms. Simpson's PAP American History Class

Searcy High School Searcy, AR

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