"I think the narrative that the police are on some epidemic of shooting unarmed black men is simply a false narrative," he said.
Barr's twisted and bigoted viewpoint -- knotted in a Trump-like red tie, full-scale white privilege, and Blue Lives Matter sophistry -- made me think of Rita Dove's poem, "Teach Us to Number Our Days," about a boy in a neighborhood as rough ("each funeral parlor is elaborate than the last") as it is poor (with "Low rent balconies stacked to the sky") whose dreams are deferred (and we all know what happens to a dream deferred).
"Teach Us to Number Our Days" by Rita Dove
In the old neighborhood, each funeral parlor
is more elaborate than the last.
The alleys smell of cops, pistols bumping their thighs,
each chamber steeled with a slim blue bullet.
Low-rent balconies stacked to the sky.
A boy plays tic-tac-toe on a moon
crossed by TV antennae, dreams
he has swallowed a blue bean.
It takes root in his gut, sprouts
and twines upward, the vines curling
around the sockets and locking them shut.
And this sky, knotting like a dark tie?
The patroller, disinterested, holds all the beans.
August. The mums nod past, each a prickly heart on a sleeve.
I thought of this poem not just because the disinterested (and likely antagonistic) patroller "holds all the beans" (and the bullets) but because of the title, "Teach Us to Number Our Days."
Of course, “Teach us to number our days" comes from "Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90: 12). In brief, “Life is short, so live wisely.”
But I kept thinking about that title. I kept mulling it over in my mind in relation to the racist ideology on the part of William Barr and Donald Trump against Blacks, Black Lives Matter protesters -- and now even a plane-load of "thugs" dressed in "these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear and this and that" (hmm...how did those thugs get all of that threatening gear past the TSA?).
"Teach us to number our days."
I kept going back to that title -- thinking about that title and that boy in the poem who likely lived in fear and sorrow while trying his best to be a kid (playing "tick-tac-toe on a moon crossed by TV antennae").
What was it about that title that wedged itself in my mind as William Barr spun a false narrative in a calculated and cavalier attempt to minimize police killings of unarmed Blacks?
Then it hit me.
I thought of the boy-in-the-poem's parents having to have "the talk" with their son -- "the talk" that my parents never had to have with me because I'm white; "the talk" about the dangers a Black son or daughter faces because of racism or unjust treatment from law enforcement and authority figures (like William Barr and Donald Trump); "the talk" where Black parents have to teach their children how to react in the face of racism -- so that they can, indeed, "number their days" instead of having their days numbered.
And speaking of Barr and Trump -- what about every other member of the GOP in Congress? I heard ONE GOP senator say, "Black Lives Matter." ONE: Mitt Romney. Has Romney or any other member of GOP tweeted, "Black Lives Matter"? Has any ONE of them put BLM in writing? Has any one of them carried a BLM sign in support of a march? Has any one of them made it clear to their constituency (and the rest of the world) that they believe -- truly believe -- that Black lives matter, that they oppose systemic racism and demand an end to the killing of unarmed Black men and women by white police officers.?
I don't think so.
The way things are going in our country -- especially with Trump's and Barr's sanction of White Supremacy -- it looks like Black parents are going to have to have "the talk" for years to come. Many years to come.
Today, I woke up to this news: "Daniel Prude died March 30, seven days after Rochester, New York Police put a hood over his head and pressed his face into the pavement for two minutes" (Mr. Prude's brother had called the police for help due to a mental issue his brother was having) (below left).
A few hours later, Ben Shapiro exhibited the height of White Privilege by questioning the very evidence that Blacks are murdered for just being Black (below right). Currently, he also has a pinned tweet from February 5, 2016, that says, "Facts don't care about your feelings." Sadly, Shapiro doesn't even care about facts.