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Let It Go
9/17/2014 5:12:20 PM

By Barney Blakeney

Sometimes you just have to let it go. Every now and then things swirl out of control. I can’t stand it because I’m a control freak. We live in a world where things don’t always go your way and I find that hard to accept. But after more than six decades of life, I’m getting used to losing some battles. The losses still are hard to swallow, but I’m learning to let go things I can’t control. Looking back at my week I came to the conclusion I just need to let some things go.

For a lot of people, that’s going to be a lot harder to do. Four families were tragically changed with the Sept. 8 death of three guys West Ashley after Charleston County Sheriff’s deputies confronted a man barricaded inside his apartment.

Dep. Joseph Matuskovic was killed and Dep. Michael Ackerman was seriously wounded when they confronted Michael Oswald who was inside his apartment. Cops determined Oswald shot through the closed door when the officers knocked in response to complaints about a man disturbing others. Matruskovic and Ackerman were hit by the gunfire. Deputies returned fire. Oswald apparently was killed in the exchange. Later, emergency responder Larry Britton suffered a heart attack at the scene and died.

I know a lot of cops. As a police reporter for many years, I’ve gained some sense of what they go through. I remember once while covering a shooting in North Charleston, my assignment editor implored me to get closer to the action. The shooter still was loose in the area. I told that chick to go fly a kite.

I figure I'm a decent reporter with as much passion for the job as the next guy, but I’m also a product of the streets - you hear gunfire in one direction, you run in the other direction. It ain’t rocket science. One night while in college I walked into the old Club 555 in Columbia. As soon as I got in the door the guns went off. I hit the floor and got under a table so fast, I was proud of myself.

Cops don’t have that option - cops and firemen. Those guys run into trouble. So I winced a little Wednesday hearing one of my mentors make the comment that more cops should be killed. The guy has had some bad experiences with police officers. He talked about how Michael Brown was gunned down in Ferguson, Mo. recently and how countless Black men are murdered every year by police officers.

The list seems endless. I recently read a story about several Black men who reportedly committed suicide while handcuffed in the custody of police officers. Each story was unbelievable. Hey, that’s why I work in the Black press. I read stories in Black newspapers I’d never see anywhere else. I know there are racist thugs out there who use the badge as a shield to protect them from the consequences of their racist behavior. But I also know most cops are regular guys who do what they do because they want to make a difference. They have families and want to go home at the end of a shift just like every other worker in America.

I know that Black folks have gotten a raw deal from law enforcement in this country. Decades ago some regular cops used clubs and sometimes bullets to subjugate Black folks. It was cops who in 1964 followed, cornered, and murdered Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney as the trio worked to help Blacks obtain civil rights. Historically the law and henchmen masquerading as police officers terrorized Black folks, often violently.

Still, I cringe at the thought of anyone losing their life in such tragedies as that of September 8. It’s hard to forgive people when they do you wrong. Often, people will do you wrong for no reason. Sometimes, they’re so foolish, they’ll do you wrong, and turn right around and ask you to do them a favor.

My preacher talked about forgiveness. Reb was talking about how many times we should forgive. Ya’ll, I ain’t got enough fingers, toes or hairs on my head to count the times I have forgiven folks for doing me wrong. But you know what? I ain’t got enough fingers, toes or hairs on my head to count the number of times folks have forgiven me.

My passion for this writing thing grew out of a militance I embraced as a young man. I learned to love my people and our culture long before I learned to understand them. And when I realized that there are those who don’t share that love, I committed to doing what I can to change some of that. Thanks to Irene, I never learned to hate. She taught me although people will do you wrong, don’t hate them. Don’t just stand there and let them hurt you, but don’t hate.

I’ve found that I can’t always control what other people do, cops or anyone else. I’m learning I don’t have to because there’s someone bigger and badder who is in control. And I’m learning sometimes I can just let it go. My Man’s got that.

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