Why Did They Kill Miriam Carey
Rosemarie Jackowski is an advocacy journalist and peace activist. She is author of Banned in Vermont. She can be contacted at dissent[at]sover.net.
It was a very hot summer afternoon in 1972. I was heading for home on a quiet country road in south Jersey. I was tired and hungry after working all day. My 4 year old daughter was sitting in the back seat quietly reading a book. When I saw that there was a police road block ahead, I pulled into a driveway and turned around, intending to take an alternate way home. I did not want to be delayed. Suddenly my rear view mirror was filled with a rainbow of red and blue flashing lights. Sirens blared. I pulled over and was immediately surrounded by police. They wanted to know why I was trying to avoid the road block. I pointed to a small brown paper bag on the passenger seat. The officers’ eyes grew wide. I showed them the contents of the bag. It was a container of cole slaw from the Cape May Deli. I did not want it to spoil in the heat. The officers seemed confused, but allowed me to go on my way. That was many decades ago, and in family history the Cole Slaw Caper was all but forgotten… just another fun day at the Jersey Shore.
The events in Washington brought back memories of that day. I could not help but recognize similarities… a mother with a daughter in the back seat…similar ages… a police chase. The Washington events though were very different. Imagine a mother in a car that is under attack by a large group of armed men in high tech military gear. Fight or flight syndrome would certainly influence the response of any mother with a child in the car.
Many questions remain. It appears that Miriam Carey was driving in unfamiliar territory. She was possibly lost. Maybe confused. Maybe distracted… any mother who has ever driven with a child in the back seat will understand that. Why was it necessary to shoot and kill her? Why was the car not stopped in a less deadly manner? Will the Press ever ask those questions?
Why are police departments all over the country being militarized? Is this a ploy to ‘use up’ military equipment, further enriching the MIC? Is it really necessary to send in a swat team to arrest a kid with pot?
Small town and rural police departments are being militarized all across the country. At the same time, many citizens have increasing concerns about rumors that FEMA camps are being set up to imprison all of us. Remember the lyrics: “…Paranoia strikes deep…”. Conspiracy theories abound. High levels of stress and challenges to mental health are a part of every day life. This is a perfect storm. Citizens are buying up guns and weapons. We now have a domestic arms race – an arms race in our neighborhoods. We are all less safe.
Most police officers are honorable and professional. Some are not. Some, a few, become police officers because they are trigger-happy. The police should never shoot to kill an unarmed person. It is happening with increasing regularity. And almost always, it is excused. No one is held responsible.
There is now an 18 month old girl who will grow up without her mother. Who will be prosecuted? Anyone? In a way, we all have some responsibility here for the culture we have allowed to go on unchallenged.
Police departments should not be military organizations. They should be ‘safety officers’ – keepers of the peace. Right now the United States is on a death spiral. Do we have the political will to turn things around? Probably not.