Roger L. Simon

Who Shot the Sheriff?

“Investigators were trying to determine Sunday what may have motivated a 30-year-old man [Shannon Miles, black] accused of ambushing a uniformed suburban Houston sheriff’s deputy [Darren Goforth, white] filling his patrol car with gas in what authorities believe was a targeted killing,” saith the AP in the newspeak of our time.

Well, I can help them with that.  Let’s start with the obvious.  Shannon Miles (a black man) is a crazy guy, just as Dylann Roof (the white man from the Charleston church shootings) is a crazy guy and Vester Lee Flanagan (the black man who killed his white co-workers at a Virginia TV station the other day) was a crazy guy.  The latter two claimed they wanted to start a race war.  No word yet on Miles, but if we believe in what our grandmothers told us — that actions speak louder than words — he’s already more than half way there.

(You will note that I am not using the neologism African-American, which I think is part of the problem, not part of the solution.)

Also obvious, Barack Obama and Eric Holder (and now Loretta Lynch) are to blame for encouraging an atmosphere of racial divisiveness and, yes, hatred in our society. Anyone honest can see — and the polls have reported — a serious increase in racial tension and violence (Baltimore, Ferguson, etc.) since the beginning of the Obama administration.  The racist-to-the-core “Black Lives Matter” movement is quite simply their evil spawn.

But those are the easy targets.  We have to go back further to determine “Who Shot the Sheriff?” … way back to the dear old 1960s when the civil rights movement stood at a fork in the road.  I was there at the time and, sadly,  perhaps meekly, I took the wrong fork.

A young man of 22, I was in the Atlanta offices of SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) when I met another young man, very handsome, black, a few years older than I.  He was running for the state assembly and about to go precinct walking.  I asked if I could go with him.  For a second he hesitated, then shook his head.  He wasn’t hostile, but it was obvious he didn’t want to go with a white guy.  Almost by way of explanation, he showed me the leaflets he would be distributing.  They were for the Black Panther Party of Lowndes County, Alabama.  It was the first time I had seen such a thing.  The young man was Julian Bond, who died just a couple of weeks ago.

Five years later, as a still young screenwriter in Los Angeles, I was donating money to the Black Panthers for their breakfast program.  I wanted to be cool  My bad. My big bad.  I had taken the wrong fork.

It was the wrong fork that a lot of others took in different ways — Barack Obama, for one, when he sat for twenty years in the pews of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.  Dr. Martin Luther King sought integration. These others were black separatists — whether they knew it or not, whether they were ambivalent or not, whether they were exploiting it or not, whether they thought it was a phase or not — and, with their many white supporters in and out of the media, have brought us to the pass we are in today.

Yes, in my own way, I shot the sheriff.  Those many of you familiar with the Bob Marley lyrics were probably ahead of me on this “I shot the sheriff /But I didn’t shoot no deputy, oh no! / Oh! I shot the sheriff.” (Well, I guess it was a deputy in this case, but you get the idea.)

But all is not ill. Maybe we don’t deserve it, maybe it’s a sign of divine intervention (who knows?), but America is getting a second chance.  A man is running for president who is a true healer like we haven’t seen since Dr. King.  And he’s resonating with the public because I suspect many of us realize he is just what our country needs at this moment (with or without Donald Trump by his side).  You know who I mean — Dr. Ben Carson.

Anyway, for old times’ sake…