Technology is a great tool for us to seek new information to improve our outlook on life. Yet, technology is also abused on a daily basis by unscrupulous users. Prior to the internet, computers, cell phones and social media – we had to rely on eye witness accounts or unreliable gossip to get our updates about what was going on around us. Today, we can just open an online news website or log into our social media account and watch a video filmed on someone’s cell phone. It’s both a blessing and a curse.
It’s a blessing because there’s a ton of information available right at our fingertips. For example, today’s students are especially fortunate because researching a topic for a class assignment is much easier when you have a computer or other device to access the internet.
However, technology is also a curse because it’s a way for people to bully one another from an internet connected device. And there is a whole lot of bullying going on through social media sites, email accounts and text messages. Sadly, young people have committed suicide after being viciously bullied through a computer, electronic tablet or cell phone.
Another advantage of technology is impromptu video. We can now watch videos uploaded to the internet by amateur recorders using just a cell phone. We can also watch videos depicting police brutality. Police can no longer deny they’ve used excessive force to subdue someone or even killed a person running in the opposite direction, as there is always a camera nearby. All of us, including the police, are under constant surveillance.
In light of numerous written reports and online video depicting police brutality, along with the “justified homicide” of countless unarmed suspects, I’ve stopped calling the police to my home. I couldn’t live with myself if a relative was killed by a cop wielding a police-issued firearm after I’d called for help. Judge me as you will; I don’t trust cops.
Consequently, on Rosebud we’ve seen our share of “justified homicides” by tribal police. This country has also witnessed the brutal killing of unarmed brown or black people by police. It’s time to protect ourselves and our family from trigger happy cops.
Last week, two young girls got into a fist fight at a middle school in Rapid City, South Dakota. With today’s technology in everyone’s hands, the fight was captured on cell phone video and shared widely on social media. The video also captured the unnecessary assault by a Rapid City cop when he stepped in to stop the fight.
There is much division surrounding this incident. Some people believe the cop was justified in using force to stop the fight. Others are appalled that the cop would use such force on middle school girls. One photo circulating on Facebook shows the girl with her neck twisted at an unnatural angle. Would it have been a “justified homicide/injury” if the girl’s neck was broken? Many of us hope there is no permanent damage to the girls. I believe the cop used unnecessary excessive force.
There’s a ton of parent shaming also going on through social media posts. It’s really easy to be the judge and jury when you are posting from a cell phone or from behind a computer screen. I urge you to think about how you would respond if it were your child pictured with a twisted neck in that photo.
The black and brown people living in this country are all too familiar with police brutality. When a brown or black child is killed by a Rapid City cop, will the investigation lead to a final written report which clears the police officer of “justified homicide?”
Vi Waln (Lakota) is an award-winning Journalist. She can be reached through email firstname.lastname@example.org