Word on the streets is a man was captured on Google Street View holding a shotgun, as well as another angle where the man can be seen pointing the gun at the Google vehicle. Four other people can be seen in the snapshots, and it has caused somewhat of a buzz lately. The image was taken on the 18800 block of Brinker Street in Detroit, so you can check it out for yourself. The images are being used to bring attention to how dangerous cities of the United States are today–especially places like Detroit, a place that has been under economic strains for decades now.
The coverage given to the picture of men on a porch in Detroit is tainted with all kinds of baseless assumptions. First, how can anyone say the people on the porch are indeed men, with all certainty? However, it does look like a group of males standing, and possibly a female sitting. The group of people could be teenagers, but since they happen to be Black/African American, labeling them as men without confirmation is accepted. They do, however, appear not to be not. When it comes to criminal activity and law, Black teenagers are considered adults for the purpose of stringent punishment for acts attributed to them. Charging Black adolescents as adults is always the goal, so getting people to believe they are of adult age beforehand is a good tactic–it solidifies the idea of adults already being involved in the minds of the public, so any thoughts of innocence can be evacuated immediately.
Secondly, how can anyone say, for certain, that the object is a gun? How can the object be more specifically identified as a shotgun? It’s an easy leap from “object” to “gun.” The group of people are said to be young Black men. So, what else would young Black men on a porch in Detroit hold besides malt liquor, drugs, and guns? The preconceived notion is that young Black men in Detroit are all criminals, so telling the public that the object is a gun is believable. It is called a shotgun because a barrel can hardly be seen, so a rifle is ruled out. And, since it has been determined that young Black males in Detroit carry guns, it must be a shotgun! Could it not be a mini statue, stick, or some other object that could be identified as a gun when held by a Black male? Could it possibly be a toy gun? Since most people automatically link young African Americans to criminal activity, they’ll say it’s most definitely a gun. And, that’s just what is reported about the images, without verification.
When I came across the images on Facebook, via a supposed news site, I asked the question, “How do you even know that gun is real?” and suggested that it be reported as “what appears to be…” Unsurprisingly–because news organizations have a tendency to reply to my comments on Facebook–they responded, “It doesn’t matter. It is still a crime and [sic] it was a police car or someone with their REAL GUN do you think they’d ask if his was real or not????”
Actually, IT DOES matter whether or not the item is really a shotgun or not. If an organization claiming to deliver news “for Black America” doesn’t understand that, they know neither what news nor journalism is. If the object at the focal point of a story is not verified, then it should be reported as such, not written off as “it doesn’t matter.” All details matter if your objective to is deliver reliable information, but I suspect that is not their goal. Nevertheless, I digress. It is not a crime to hold an object on a porch that someone may claim to be a firearm due to your age, gender, location, and complexion. A non-lethal object is, to some, is a deadly firearm to people who stereotype and berate a certain class of people based on simple characteristics. This brings me to, “[if] it was a police car or someone with their REAL GUN do you think they’d ask if his was real or not?”
Should news stories be based on whether or not someone with a real gun believes a fake gun is real? Not at all. News stories should be based on facts, not assumptions. Should articles be based on whether the vehicle passing was a police car or not? Most definitely not. All too often, police murder Blacks and claim that an object that the person held or was nearby was a gun. Feeding into the idea that police officers should be judge and jury helps to fuel and justify the killing of young Black males all around the U.S. Plus, It WAS NOT a police car.
A Google Earth and Google Street View vehicle is pretty easy to spot and identify. Google cars have huge mounts with a camera on top. The words “Google” can be read on side, and in many cases, a map design appears that covers nearly the entire vehicle. So, another assumption is that the people on a Detroit porch are too stupid to recognize a huge contraption on top of a vehicle, they cannot read, they are too ignorant about the world to even know what Google or Google Maps is, or they are dumb criminals who wanted to break the law by pointing a firearm at the Google car driver. At the same time, it is reported that the driver did not file a police report after the incident. Does that mean that the driver was unaware of his/her surroundings, or he/she did not feel threatened by the incident? Maybe–just maybe–they were close enough, in REAL LIFE, to identify the object as not being a real gun. But according to popular belief, the grainy images are proof, because young Black men carry real guns–never anything other than that–and randomly point them at people passing on the streets. Yes, many Black people fall for this as well.
Has anyone ever stopped to think that maybe the people in the picture knew that the vehicle was capturing images to be placed online? This total fiasco could simply be a group of young people seeing a camera and posing for a shot–not TO shoot. There are a slew of people who observe Google’s vehicles and pose for the camera. It would not be very difficult to go and look up the images and share them with your friends, or even have them go viral to a point where they are being reported in the news–like in this case. Check out this image below of someone saluting the vehicle that intrudes on the privacy of citizens without their permission. Is anyone going to tell me that that individual was simply doing what he always does–salutes every vehicle he finds himself behind?
All attention surrounding the “thugs in Detroit” is for reasons we have seen and continue to see–demonizing Black males. It is very clear that most fall for the propaganda, and even defend it, by making statements that the facts of what actually occurred do not matter. They believe, and want to spread the message, that young African American males are stupid, ignorant criminal savages. The most despicable thing about the coverage of these snapshots is the confirmation used by the ill-advised Black media organization that “Ziya Turner, the little girl who was found dead there in June.” And even though the address may be the same, and the picture was taken years prior, it is said “her death was not ruled a homicide and there is no known connection between the girl’s case and the photos.” Even though there is no connection between the pics and Ziya’s death (I’m still trying to figure out how a picture of an incident with a Google vehicle and a girl being found dead are linked.), it is mentioned to cause readers to make the jump from “dumb, criminal Black men on a porch” to “dumb, criminal Black men on a porch where a little girl was found dead.” That way, the unverified story of criminal Black men on a porch in Detroit can be more believable, without the existence of pesky facts. Even though her death was not ruled a homicide, these unfortunate Black males can be blamed for causing Ziya’s death in the minds of ill-informed readers.
All I ask is that people analyze the available information and not blindly accept the assumptions of people who are supposedly presenting reliable information. The individuals could be adults; they could not be. This could very well not be a gun; it could be. It could be a criminal act; it could not be. If these were white teens in Green Bay, WI would it be called a shotgun or “possibly a shotgun”? Would we even know they were captured by Google’s intrusive cameras? I default my thoughts that Black males are not stupid–adults or teenagers. I believe it is possible they knew exactly what the vehicle was and probably posed for a photo-op after seeing the vehicle in their neighborhood. I think the driver did not feel threatened, and thus did not report it. What do you think? Do you think this is just another case of a gang of stupid and ignorant, young Black savage men who have no regard for human life because a fortune 500 company took pictures of them while one of them held some unidentified object? Let me know.