Since the release of the dash cam video associated with Sandra Bland’s traffic stop, I’ve heard a lot of disturbing things. No, I’m not talking about racially charged banter or trolling threats of comeuppance. No. What I’m talking about are the droves of people who insist on rationalizing the police officer’s reckless and unnecessary response to Bland’s questioning.
All morning I’ve been reading comments from people saying, “if she would have just done what the cop said, none of this would have ever happened.” Hell, the private citizen filming the arrest on her cell phone said this to Bland as she was being handcuffed.
As if that weren’t enough, the Internet is bubbling with commentary like this today:
I suppose we could flippantly dismiss this as trolling, but it’s not. These people believe what they’re saying. They insist that if Sandra Bland had just done everything the cop had told her to do, without question, everything would be OK right now.
Well guess what, it wouldn’t be. I’ll tell you why by repeating to you what I said in my response to the gentleman in the above comment:
It is not abusive to question authority. It is not illegal to assert your rights. Correct me if I’m wrong, but asserting our rights and questioning authority are some of the freedoms we hold most dear in the U.S. Furthermore, if we accept the logic behind statements like this:
“If Sandra Bland would have done what the cop said, none of this would have ever happened.”
Then we’re accepting that we have no freedom, no rights, and no voice. So, what would happen if we never questioned authority? Well, first of all we’d all be British because the American Revolution began when the thirteen original colonies questioned and then subsequently rejected the British monarchy.
And so, it is not simply our right, but our duty to question authority when something feels wrong and unjust. Be forewarned, however, because when you speak up, you risk being silenced. I’d tell you to ask Sandra Bland about that, but she no longer has a voice.
Full dash cam video (over 52 minutes long), editing inconsistencies and all, below.
UPDATE – 11:38 pm Wednesday 22 July 2015: The original video I posted with this article came directly from the Texas Department of Public Safety and was originally 52 minutes and (approximately) 12 seconds long. That video was taken down and replaced with a new video, which is only 49 minutes and 11 seconds long. Since the original video was removed, I’m adding the new one.