Why The Case of Korryn Gaines Is The Horror Show That Played Out In Secret Because Gun Violence Is The American Way
As the nation continues to accommodate yet another bloody massacre that ended the lives of 17 students and school officials in Parkland, Florida — the great debates have already erupted as lawmakers offer prayers and blessings to those who have suffered imaginable loss — while maintaining the tragic stance of inaction in order to secure the much needed donations — from organizations that have turned the Unites States into a wasteland of embattled souls.
The non-stop coverage is tragically redundant at this point — as you absorb another episode of the screen filling up with the smiling faces of youngsters who were born at the wrong time. Seasoned anchors are strategically placed in an effort to capture the climate of urgency — that echoes through the stationary emergency vehicles and the fields that are still littered with the evidence of chaos.
The generic queries are issued to eyewitnesses or those who barely survived what was supposed to kill them. In this case —visibly-rattled high schoolers are commissioned to share harrowing details as they state their case to adults with all the power to save them — but not enough fuel to outpace their cowardice and greed.
A week a later, the roaring thunder will be reduced to the normalcy of the aftermath of another mass shooting, which produced nothing but dead American children and the promise that the exact same thing will transpire — sooner rather than later.
Gun culture is the American Way, whether it’s a young White man armed for battle with an AR-15, as he heads into familiar territory to take down a slew of bright-eyed teenagers, who up until then had the American dream within their grasp. Or an outfitted SWAT team that arrives at the premises of a young Black woman with the sole intent of brutalizing her chances of walking out alive — the ending to this horror show is always the same.
In the case of Korryn Gaines, the twenty-three-year-old African-American woman from Randallstown, Maryland, who somehow required a squad of Baltimore County Police Officers to deliver a warrant of outstanding penalties to her door, as if she were a serial killer on the run, the toxic mix of police brutality, gun violence and her frail mental state proved to be a lethal combination with dire consequences.
Gaines was in her home with her five-year-old son on the afternoon of August 1, 2016, armed with a gun and the phone she was using to film the unfathomable events as they were unfolding. Portions of the footage ended up social media and went viral almost immediately. The image of a young mother being threatened by a gang of men, who were inching their way into her home with weapons drawn against her, was a frightening realization.
What the fuck did this woman do to warrant such a violent invasion?
Her past encounters with law enforcement had been expectedly unpleasant as it always is when people of color are subjected to biased cruel treatment that is never unleashed on their White counterparts.
When I watch the footage of Sandra Bland and the state trooper who yanked her out of her car and threw her onto the concrete ground with righteous force — I relate to how that pretty much could’ve happened to me or any Black woman who has to answer to thugs-in-uniform with shiny badges.
Before her killing, Gaines had been stopped for a traffic violation, and like Bland she was unwilling to compromise her smarts or her rights in an effort to assuage the guilty pleasures of cops who appear to enjoy the torture sessions of citizens who’ve been targeted for such practices. She was apparently threatened with a taser when she refused to exit her vehicle and ended up spending a couple of days “in isolation,” before being released with a roster of charges, including “disorderly conduct” and “resisting arrest.”
Gaines used her Instagram page to share the details of that incident with her followers as a way to expose and document the brutality at the hands of those who took the oath to “serve and protect” individuals at all cost.
The traffic violation ultimately got Gaines killed on that summer afternoon in August of 2016, after she failed to appear in court. We can argue that she got what she deserved by not diligently following the rules of conduct or we can be maddened at the sheer audacity of armed men shamelessly tearing into the home of a citizen, and blasting the occupants with machine guns, with murderous rage.
Gaines wasn’t perfect and it was later revealed that she suffered from mental issues that included “a history of problems with anger and impulsive behavior.” She also had a hard time “concentrating” and eventually dropped out of college when she became pregnant — opting to work as a hairdresser to support her household.
Her trajectory definitely left her vulnerable to the elements, which made it quite easy for her to be viewed as a threat by officers who have been trained to subdue rather than kill on sight. The first officer who was dressed in plain clothes knocked on the door before kicking it down. Other officers followed suit as Gaines remained in place with her young son by her side and her gun clutched to her chest, as she readied for war.
What ensued was a gun battle that didn’t have to happen, as Gaines was shot multiple times with such fury that her poor little boy was also wounded.
When it was all over — the lifeless body of a young Black woman drowning in her own blood with her bloodied son next to her — served as the canvas of what the American dream looks like when you’re not White or privileged enough to bullshit your way out of petty crap like traffic violations.
The hours-long standoff that featured an intelligent young woman who was born at the wrong time being placed in combative mode against the militia — is now playing out in court, as the family of Korryn Gaines seek justice almost two years later.
I’m currently based in Maryland, so the ongoing case is visible enough to provoke my unrelenting interest. I’ve also previously expressed my dismay and frustration at the ultra-violent method that was applied to Gaines, simply because of her less-than-stellar circumstances, enhanced by her racial makeup. She was deemed “threatening” enough to encourage the ignorance that led to her not benefitting from a mental health specialist at the scene to help de-escalate an already fiery situation.
Only White people get to be treated with care and compassion — even after they perform hideous crimes. The nineteen-year-old murderer who gunned down former classmates on Valentine’s Day — has been massaged by the media with glaring headlines of his mental state. And of course — Trump chose to settle on that fact in his remarks as a way to avoid discussing the issue of gun control.
But when a young Black woman is riddled with bullets in her home after being the victim of a staged massacre it’s reviewed with pitiless attention, and we move on to the next item on the itinerary of a country that has been set up to kill us all, either in our damn living rooms, or in the halls of institutions.
A jury deliberated after hearing closing arguments in the Korryn Gaines wrongful death civil trial that took place in Baltimore County, and the verdict was announced, on February 16, 2018.
The family of Korryn Gaines was awarded $37 million, which in my opinion is too low when you consider the fate of the little boy who watched his mother die, while nursing his wounds.
But this is more than the comfort of monetary compensation when you consider how the Korryn Gaines case will finally force law enforcement to take a cold hard look into their operations, and hopefully begin the task of disciplining thugs dressed in uniform, who’ve been given way more power than they deserve.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Council Chairman and Woodstock Democrat — Julian Jones had a strong reaction to the verdict:
“I just think we should review our policies, not just Baltimore County Police, but all police…in terms of when it’s necessary to shoot and is there an alternative to shooting.”
Money can’t bring back the dead, but since we as Americans have to contend with the overpowering indulgence of gun culture, we might as well get paid for our troubles, while the politicians who are faithful to the N.R.A. — continue to fund their careers with the blood of those who were born to die in vain.
That’s the American Way.