By now everyone knows the name Sandra Bland and everyone has an opinion on her story and her life even though there is very little in the way of facts to go on. She was found dead in her jail cell and the initial assumption is suicide, but the final opinion is not yet forthcoming.
In the absence of information conspiracy theorists are beginning to make themselves known and nowhere do they flourish more than on the internet.
I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I do have my opinion on what happened to Sandra Bland and I think its scarier than anything any armchair detective can come up with. I think she committed suicide.
Here is what we do know:
- Ms. Bland was on her way to a job with her alma mater, an opportunity that would be life changing for her.
- She was an outspoken critic of police brutality and a proponent of the #blacklivesmatter movement.
- In her encounter with the police officer and her arrest she knew she was in the right and that she just encountered a police officer that is the epitome of everything she fought against.
- She’s arrested, thrown in jail and left there for three days because she has trouble raising the bail money needed to get out of jail.
- She’s found dead in her cell with a plastic bag around her neck. An official autopsy would later confirm it was suicide.
This should scare people more than any potential murder investigation or federal inquiry into police conduct. Ms. Bland was a strong person. We all saw the video; she was strong, but the circumstances were against her. She was moving to Texas to work at her alma mater so that she could be a part of changing the lives of the next generation of Americans. She’s stopped by a police officer and thrown in jail on trumped up charges. She’s left to rot in jail for three days and risks losing her job and everything that she’s worked so hard for. She’s having trouble raising bail money like many other struggling black men and women who become part of the system. It doesn’t matter that she was right and that the officer was wrong. She knew she would never get the chance to be right. She wasn’t going to escape this arrest nor was she going to escape future harassment and arrests at the hands of corrupt police. She was living in a world not of her making and not in her control. She realized that in America, black lives don’t matter. And after three days she hung herself with a plastic bag finally taking control of a game she couldn’t win because society stacked the deck against her and her strength would not be enough to change the system of brutality against people of color.
This scares me more than any other scenario because this is just the first of many. I fear that men and women all over the USA will come to lose hope and take their own lives rather than live in a system that fails to recognize them as whole persons. We still live in a world of 3/5s democracy and that has got to change.