From the Editor (October 2014)

OCT14coverimageIt’s October, but this issue goes to press as August closes out a long, warm season filled with hot racially charged incidents with disparate outcomes.

In Arizona, white rancher Cliven Bundy and supporters forged an armed resistance in April when Bureau of Land Management agents tried to execute court orders to seize his cattle for nonpayment of more than $1 million in federal land grazing fees accrued over 20 years. Armed men turned assault weapons on the federal agents, who backed down to “defuse the situation.”

In Staten Island, New York, Eric Garner, 43, an unarmed black father of six with his hands up, is killed by police arresting him for selling loose untaxed cigarettes in July. Police said Mr. Garner resisted arrest.

In several “open carry” states, Second Amendment proponents entered Wal-Marts and other public venues carrying handguns and loaded assault weapons in June. This frightened some customers, and some store managers asked them to leave.

John Crawford, 22, black, picked up a BB rifle off of a shelf in Wal-Mart in August while shopping and talking on his cell phone in Beavercreek, Ohio, an “open carry” state. Police shoot and kill Mr. Crawford while responding to a 911 call about a man waving a gun at customers in Wal-Mart. Witnesses said Mr. Crawford was explaining that the gun was not “real.”

In Seattle, Washington, lifelong “pot” users, some seniors, are finally able to legally buy marijuana at stores in July.

In Bronx, New York, in August, the parents of Ramarley Graham, 18, unarmed and black, sought justice for their son, killed in 2012 by police on marijuana detail who chased their son into their home and shot and killed him, police say, as the teen flushed marijuana down their toilet.

Fergusson, Missouri, became a war zone complete with tanks, tear gas and assault weapons in August when police armed as soldiers faced unarmed citizens protesting after Michael Brown, 18, unarmed and black, is shot and killed by police confronting him for walking in the middle of the street.

We are a nation of laws, but clearly race matters in the enforcement of those laws. United Methodist Women must keep working to make our Charter for Racial Justice a lived reality as we put our faith, hope and love into action.

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