“Welcome to _________” is what you see when you enter one of many small towns in Texas. Some even have the cute sign of “Come Back Y’all.”
Growing up partially in small town Texas, the sign should read, “Welcome to Racism Central. Just don’t look at the segregation.” What those who don’t live in these towns never see is we have yet to come into the civil rights that many in other areas hold so dear. Segregation of where everyone lives is rampant. Many towns will tell you about “over the tracks.” This is where they have chosen to place the blacks, surrounded by cemeteries, and impoverished. In these towns, opportunities aren’t given to African-Americans. They are forced to advance out of the town, many times homeless with children, or give into the drug trade. This is why in Texas our population of colored prisoners is so high.
You are taught that black people aren’t African-Americans, blacks, coloreds, or even humans. They are blatantly called niggers, and this is all you know. I made the mistake in elementary school of telling a friend I couldn’t go to her birthday party because my daddy wouldn’t allow me to hang out with niggers. I was in the fight of my life when I said this, unknowing that the term was derogatory.
The world turned their eyes to Hearne due to an Officer Stem shooting a 93 year old lady. Now, many people from around the world don’t know common Texas law or common Texas practice, so many state a cop should have fired at her.
The basics of Officer Stem first, if you don’t mind. Starting off, he had an early 2013 fatality on his hands. The situation screams unnecessary use of deadly force. A call came in of someone at an apartment complex firing shots out of their vehicle. Stem and other officers pursued 3 suspects, which one was armed at the beginning of the pursuit. Yet, when Stem shot, and killed, the handicapped person, he was unarmed. Now, in Hearne, on nice nights, you can see the apartment complex outside, talking amongst each other and barbecuing. In a town of 4500, you know everyone, and everyone in these small towns know how many squares of tissue paper you use in the restroom. I still wonder how he knew he was shooting the right person, and my gut says he doesn’t. Somehow, no charges were brought against Stem for shooting an unarmed suspect. Fast forward a year later to the newest fatality. The same officer who shot an unarmed man chose to shoot an elderly, 93 year old lady. At first, the police spokesperson said he fired five shots. Now, the assistant district attorney is stating four shots. This is telling me that there is a lot of dishonesty upon releases already. Out of these four or five shots, only two hit the “suspect,” and one grazed her, which means that Stem had between two or three stray bullets, and is assuredly a bad aim and a danger to citizens. Upon the arrival of Quanell X, and the Black Panthers, the town of Hearne marched, demanding the immediate termination of Officer Stem. Thankfully, their cries were answered. As far as the legality, it may be several months before a grand jury hears, and hopefully indicts, Stem.
A 93 year old lady was informed she was no longer going to have a license, as many of the older citizens have to be told at some time. Upon getting home, a male relative, I believe her nephew, decided to abscond the keys to her personal vehicle. Now, anyone that knows older people or anyone that has a home and a car, knows that when absconding her car keys, he also absconded house keys, etc. The state of Texas is one of many that has the Castle Doctrine in effect. So, if you’re 93, have a relative steal your personal property, and refuse to return it, you’re allowed to defend said property and yourself with force, up to and including deadly force. She grabbed a handgun, and once again informed her relative to hand her the keys. He refused, instead calling the police in hopes of diffusing the situation.
Here’s where things get sticky. The male relative is acting as if he’s on a gag order, and no one on the other side of this situation will say a word, besides conflicting bullet counts. At some point, before or after Stem’s arrival, the 93 year old fired two bullets at the ground, not at a person. The police will state that she “brandished the weapon after the officer arrived,” yet the only witness states she brandished it first, and that’s why he called the police. All we do know is that Officer Stem felt the need to repeatedly shoot at her. Some of the press that have been involved have stated that the witness screamed at the officer to stop shooting. If this is true, we have a blood thirsty cop that killed two black people now.
The problem isn’t just Hearne. This happens in small town Texas all too often. We shall look back at Jasper. Jasper made national headlines when some white men chose to drag a black men to his death. Jasper all of a sudden was known as a town with too much racial diversity. Yet, when a black teenager’s skeleton was found in a shallow grave in Rockdale, Texas and the white then-adults received nothing more than light sentences, the town was able to cover it up less than twenty years ago. Check into a hotel at Childress, Texas, and the front desk clerk will tell you how bad the racism is. We went to K-Bob’s in this town, and had a delightful conversation with two men from Atlanta, both African-American. These guys couldn’t get decent service to save their lives. They did what most people do, and left the bill, and money for the bill on the table. While the staff didn’t rush to every white person’s table when they did this, they raced to the blacks’ table, mumbling about how they must have skipped out on their bill. I walked out, very loudly complaining about the racism that they made no effort to hide. Corporate office the next day acted rather nonchalantly, as if they know of the issue and don’t care.
If national media would start tearing into the murders, lynchings, segregation, and overall treatment of African-Americans in the small towns of Texas, they’d be shocked at what they found. They could further continue it throughout all the small towns in the South; Mississippi where the KKK still march and lynch, Alabama where the KKK is also still strong, the Louisiana backwoods. The issue in Hearne, Jasper, Childress, McGregor, Rockdale, etc is that these crimes will continue until people are color blind, and the old white money quits making the decisions in the towns. I implore upon anyone that is not aware of how bad the racist undertones are to look closely, scream about it, and force change.