Racism, police brutality or…apostrophes?

Curious choice of words from the Independent to describe the “35 minutes of chaos” surrounding the fatal shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant in Ohio last week.

35 minutes of chaos colored fatal shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, it blares unironically.

The Color of Chaos

Any suspicions regarding the British outlet’s racial overtones are quickly extinguished by the story’s apologist tone as it seeks to desperately condemn Bryant’s demise at the hands of the Evil Police.

Today we learned that flailing and swinging a knife in close proximity to people is the normal way to roll in the hood.  Police, especially the white type, should realize this.  They would be better off if they calmly accepted that there are two sets of laws in the governance of this country.


A routine day in a quiet Columbus neighborhood was shattered instantly Tuesday when a police officer fired four shots at 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant as she swung a knife at a young woman.

“She was just a kid!” a man shouts within a second of Bryant falling to the ground.

Less than 30 minutes before the man charged with killing George Floyd was pronounced guilty, yet another Black person was dead at the hands of police in the U.S., and a city facing immense pressure to change its law enforcement patterns was once again on the defensive.

Much of the convoluted logic issues from the participants or participant-adjacent parties themselves.  She was a “kid.”


Ma’Khia Bryant, just a kid
Ma’Khia Bryant


What was the deal here?

The afternoon was hardly “routine.”  The nation was watching and listening as the reading of the Derek Chauvin verdict was imminent. We stood by televisions, phones, computers, but Bryant and her merry band of rambunctious goofs chose to spend those tense moments arguing and waving knives.

Inspired much?

But almost every single witness that day stopped to film the aftermath of an incident they are now all too familiar with: the killing of another Black person in America at the hands of law enforcement.

“No! You ain’t shoot my (expletive) baby!” an unidentified Black man screams at the officer. “You shot my (expletive) baby!”

Reardon, who is white, responds, “She had a knife. She just went at her.”

“You have no respect for life,” another Black man, who lives across the street, can be heard yelling. “No, actually, you have no respect for Black life.”

Another neighbor was heard on body camera footage saying, “You ever hear of de-escalating? No, you guys just shoot.”

The problem with the ubiquity of social media and avenues of real-time expression is that everyone is an expert.

The neighbor, apparently an expert in police use of force, scolded the officers that “de-escalation” was in order.  I have have news for him/her: this was de-escalation. If you wave a knife and rush someone, the only realistic de-escalation is a bullet.  The knife-wielder’s own dense motives live in their head only, nowhere else.  A decision must be made.

This is not about racism or police abuse.  Ultimately, this unfortunate series of events in Columbus stemmed from a skirmish between

Ma’Khia Bryant versus Shai-Onta Lana Craig-Watkins.

It’s the apostrophes and hyphens!

These special text characters spell trouble.  Where you find an apostrophe or a hyphen in a first name, you’re sure to experience misbehavior and erratic behavior.

I suggest 911 operators should be instructed to ascertain the presence of such symbols in the names of subjects to incidents where police are dispatched.

It’s for the sake of everyone’s survival.

-signed, Bart’l-e-by

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