What do these individuals have in common?
One was a young black male human and the other a young male gray wolf. Both of them were killed this year in February. Both of them belonged to groups that have been historically “treated like animals” and are still today targeted through suspicion of acts of violence.
Both of their groups experienced a taste of what Bryan Stevenson calls “the age of terrorism” (a specific time in African American history during the Reconstruction Era where local white men targeted black families and black men in particular through acts of terror and violence and murder, which fascinatingly paralleled in time with the Europeans’ mass extirpation of Gray Wolves in North America) where they were hunted and terrorized and murdered by the good innocent white folk just trying to protect what was rightfully theirs. By the way, I highly recommend watching Bryan Stevenson’s TED talk on racism and the prison industrial complex if you haven’t already.
Both individuals were accused by their killers of wandering into territory where they did not belong. Their killers claimed they were out of place, “suspicious”, looking like they were up to no good, ready to commit a crime at any moment. Their killers claimed that they mistook them for someone else that deserved to be shot, someone legal to shoot, someone who had already committed an act of violence. These two young males are naturally violent, after all. It’s in their genes to be predators. And the white men must control predators to the extent of their power.
And worst of all, neither of them received justice. One was counted as a misdemeanor and the other wasn’t charged at all! You can’t help but wonder if there’s any justice in this country for being black and male and animal deemed out of place. My eyes can’t help but swell with water.
What do we do?