My 2 Year Old Blinks A Lot While Watching Tv I Remember Terrence Johnson

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I Remember Terrence Johnson

There were many events that occurred throughout the 20th century. Many happened before my lifetime, of course, and many during. What pops into my head right now is the bleak life of Terrence Johnson. I think this one sticks with me at the moment because it hit so close to home. We follow from the beginning to the end. We know and understand many of the situations that young black people have had and continue to have when dealing with officials. And in many ways it has affected our thoughts and perceptions when it comes to dealing with law enforcement.

In 1997, Terrence Johnson was surrounded by police officers after he robbed a NationsBank in Aberdeen, Maryland, put a gun to his head and took his own life. I was driving home from work when the news came over the radio. The moment I heard it, a sense of stillness came over me. Instantly, my mind began to flash back 19 years as the news spread throughout the neighborhood: “that guy from Bladensburg named Terrence Johnson” killed two police officers. Like the blink of a slide projector, my mind began to jump through the different images displayed on Terrence’s television directed by police officers. At the time, it didn’t occur to me how new it looked. But then again, I was two years younger. However, during those first two years, I got older and watched him get older.

Continuing down the path, my mind drifted back to the time I saw him being interviewed on WHMM Channel 32 just nine years ago. That’s when reality finally set in. “He’s dead!”

From that moment on, I couldn’t help but shed tears. But my tears weren’t just tears of pain. They were hammered with spurts of anger. “But in who?” That was the question. He wasn’t sure if he was mad at him for taking that detour, or mad at society for paving that road.

The only thing I am sure of is that this situation hits so close to home that it terrifies me. To me, Terrence Johnson symbolizes a life in a time, a time I can personally identify with. See, when I looked at Terrence Johnson, I saw myself. Not just me, but a lot of people I know and grew up with. And I am truly aware that it could have been me or any other child that I knew that I had at the police station that night.

That’s why I feel that those of us who really advocated it were sincere. Deep down, we wanted to see that something positive could blossom from something so negative. So when they finally let it go, we were satisfied and watched. Even when we didn’t realize we were still watching, we watched. I feel this because every time his name was mentioned, heads turned. They still spin. But what do we really see? I, myself, see a life that ended as it began.

It takes me to a scripture that says, “we reap what we sow.” By this, I don’t mean Terrence. I mean society. What we are seeing, in my opinion, is the result of racism. Obviously that’s how it all started in the first place. What I see is an officer handling a situation based on his opinions about a young black man in the metro area. That’s why so many of us ask ourselves questions like: “Why would I do such a thing?” or “Why didn’t you go to someone if you were having problems?” or “Did he really shoot or was he ready?” It’s because we refuse to accept the label that society has planted on him as a “cold-blooded killer.”

So, in defense of Terrence Johnson’s name, I’d like to walk you through a story, while asking you just one question. Every time this question is asked, I would like you to write down your answer. In doing this, I want to embrace a stage of the movement, “A Time To Kill.”

Imagine this. You are fifteen years old. It’s at night. You and your brother are stopped by three police cars and taken aggressively to the police station. He has not been charged although he is told that his brother is suspected of trespassing. At the police station you are treated differently than the others there and you are sure it is because you are black. The aggressive treatment continues as he is questioned by one of the officers.

how do you feel

Let’s say this officer starts to get more and more agitated because he doesn’t feel like you’re answering his questions in a timely manner. In the midst of his agitation, he kicks the chair beneath you, causing you to fall to the floor (you’re handcuffed, by the way). Again, he stirs and kicks her again.

how do you feel

At this point, you are hurt. You yell at the agent that he can’t do this to you, and in response he gives you a “backhand” for “smart-mouthing yourself.”

how do you feel

You start to cry, because deep down you know there isn’t much you can do about it. In defeated rage, you decide to try to pick up the chair to throw, but are attacked by three other officers and thrown against the wall. Then one of the officers says, “Take off the handcuffs. I’m going to kick your black ass!”

how do you feel

They remove your handcuffs and put you in an empty room, where the menacing officer comes in and starts beating you up. You feel the blood start to rush out of your head. how do you feel

You try to fight back by biting his chest, but he’s bigger and stronger than you. He then knees you in the chest causing you to fall backwards.

how do you feel

As you fall back, your hand grabs his gun and it rips from its holster.

how do you feel

He gets up off the ground and realizes that the gun is in his hand. The officer notices too and starts charging at you for having the gun.

how do you feel

You are panicking. The anxiety grew to enormous proportions. You start to run out, but are thoroughly beaten by several other cops. Even though you’re fifteen, you’re on your way to being tried as an adult for the murders of two police officers.

how do you feel

Time has passed, but the horror of that nightly window sill remains. It’s everywhere, especially in the media. You’ve aged a little. You are now 17 years old. So far, he’s been shuttled in and out of court, fighting $1 million bail, called a liar on your side of the story, shuttled from jail to jail, put in adult prisons, and treated like the lowest scum of the earth. Contrary to your beliefs, your name has been all over the media as a “cold-blooded cop killer.” Schools have refused you to attend any classes. You are being threatened and beaten continuously. Your family and friends have received numerous death threats. And, in conclusion, he is found guilty of murder and sent to prison for 25 years.

how do you feel

It’s ok. Many years have passed. You are now 31 years old. You can vaguely remember what life was like before that dark night at the police station, like: hanging out with a girlfriend, hanging out at the drive-in movies, and going to Busch Gardens with your friends. But the moments that stick in your mind the most are learning to survive inside the prison walls, being jumped and robbed by fellow inmates, being beaten by prison guards in front of your mother, constant counseling sessions trying to convince you that you are a “cold-blooded police killer” and you spend days in the hole where you were allowed nothing more than a bath and the skin on your back.

However, some light shone on you during that time and along with the unhappiness, there were hopeful moments. There were people supporting you. You were able to receive your GED, AA and BS in Business Management with a 3.6 GPA. He obtained professional knowledge in carpentry, ceramics and office automation. You could even get married.

Finally, it happened. After 17 years of utter adversity, and despite the strong disapproval of the same police department that put you here, you are free. You are free to start the life you have dreamed of for a long time.

how do you feel

Your second chance at life is off to a great start! People everywhere recognize you and express their support. Sounds like lawyers and business people have taken you under their wing. You are about to attend law school. They offered you money and a place to stay for a while for free. People want to support you constantly. You have the opportunity to help participate in the Million Man March. You even have a book and movie deal about your life.

how do you feel

It’s ok. It’s been two years since you were released. It’s not as bad as it was a few years ago, but it’s not the same as when you first came out. When trying to attend law school at Howard University, you found out that you weren’t wanted there. So, instead, you registered with the UDC. You still have supporters, but you also have those who say, “Just watch him! He’s going to show what a criminal he really is!” You’re paying rent now, and it’s become a pressure. Marriage isn’t what you expected, and eventually there’s divorce. You have been threatened with eviction. Your father is sick and your mother is not well. There’s a familiar sense of desperation starting to creep in again. Even if you haven’t felt it in a few years, you know the feeling when it hits you. Oh-oh! Wait! There is a financial dilemma at the school. Due to the city’s cutbacks, the aid you were given for classes has been withdrawn. You have to withdraw from school.

how do you feel

Take a moment to look at your life. Does the bad outside outweigh the good? There are many people watching for many different reasons. What do you have to show for it? What have you really achieved that matters at this point? What is ahead of you? How many people depend on you? And, how are you going to pay those DAMN BILLS!? That’s the problem. All you need is money to get out of this crisis and things will work again. But, we are talking about a lot of money. Don’t forget the license plates. Don’t forget to pay that rent or not. Let’s not forget that you have a new baby to take care of. Dad’s test results for prostate cancer will be back soon. You need a lot of money – now! “A man is not a man unless he takes care of his own.” I have an idea. Let’s look at the events around the way. Contact some of the friends and earn some quick cash – get on your feet. But, it has to be something quick, something that will last a while. At least until this book or movie deal comes through.

It’s ok. You and your brother agree to do a heist. A bank job. You were locked up. You know the stories of how it’s supposed to be done. It’s an “in and out” thing. Slide in there. He takes the money and “presto”, immediately slides out. No one will get hurt. Remember, you don’t want to hurt anyone. It’s not about that. And you certainly don’t want to end up in jail again. Anything but that! You and your brother leave the area to do it. You and your brother rob the bank. However, as you try to escape, you discover that it is not as easy as you thought. The police arrest you. Now, this scene here looks very familiar. You know exactly where this scene is going. face it You threw it away again. You tried the right way and it didn’t work. You tried it the wrong way and it didn’t work. what do you see It just won’t work! You just can’t win! Forget it!

how do you feel

Terrence once said that he hadn’t been happy in so long, he didn’t know what it felt like. He also said that managing a life in prison required a certain mindset, a mindset he didn’t really have. I’m not saying I agree with my brother’s decisions, but I understand!

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