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If Some Of Y’all Think Ma’Khia Bryant Deserved To Die, Then I Shouldn’t Be Here Either

A protest for Ma'Khia Bryant
Audio of a broadcast on the muder of Ma’Khia Bryant from the Luqman Nation.

In the wake of the horrific murder of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio, at the hands of Columbus police people, and by people here, I mean Black people largely, are surmising that the police had to stop her because she had a knife. Really? She had a knife is your reason for siding with the cops in murdering this child?

Let me tell you a little story. I was a quiet, little nerdish kid in school. Loved to read, wasn’t good at making friends. Even worse, I was chunky, and, well, already developed for my age. And I’m talking about middle school here. So, I was around 12 or 13 years old. So, you know, I was picked on quite a bit. One day a bunch of very mean girls followed me home, heckling me, calling me names, throwing rocks. And I put up with the name-calling for a minute. I won’t repeat what they called me here. And, even, I put up with poking at my body, these folks poking at me because I was very differently shaped from other 12-year-old girls and the accusations of being, well, you know, fast because I was shaped a little different, I put up with all of that silently. Until the day these little girls followed me home and harassed me. We got to the park across from our apartment building. And honestly, I had had enough. I dropped my books and I picked up a jagged piece of broken brick. I stood there with tears rolling down my cheeks, rage building in my chest. And I said some things to those girls that day that I cannot repeat on the air. But basically, my little 12-year-old self dared them to keep messing with me because somebody was going to get cut if they did. 

Now, do I know that Ma’Khia Bryant was defending herself with that knife? No, I don’t know for sure. But I do know that we’ll never know the whole story that people love to talk about they don’t have so much, and we won’t have it now because Ma’Khia Bryant is dead. One of the neighbors is quoted as saying that he thought the commotion he heard outside was just a typical girl fight with a group of kids calling each other BS and scuffling and such. Well, who was fighting whom? Who was scuffling with whom? And at what point did the knife even appear? We don’t know because Ma’khia isn’t here to explain what happened. After all, Ma’khia is dead. The neighbor who quoted in an article in The Columbus Dispatch defending the cop-killing Ma’Khia said, “I believe in truth and facts. Video doesn’t lie. She was in full attack mode. She was literally aiming a knife at this young lady. She needed to be stopped. At that point, that young lady’s life was at stake.”

Well, what if the person who needed to be stopped wasn’t Ma’Khia? What if she wasn’t attacking anybody? What if she was defending herself? But we’ll never know because Ma’Khia is dead. We’ll never know because rather than come on the scene and try to assess the situation, try to talk everybody down, try to defuse a confrontation, try to figure out what was going on, the cops showed up and just shot first four times, center mass, and killed Mi’Khia Bryant. And honestly, like I said, in regard to Adam Toledo, I don’t care if she was attacking someone out of pure spite, because haven’t we seen the police in several different scenarios, have no problem taking people into custody who are wielding knives, machetes, guns, having literally just killed people over and over again? The videos all over our timelines of the amazing ability that many cops seem to have to not shoot someone wielding a weapon to death. Sure, the cops can use deadly force to stop someone in some instances, but how many times have we seen them choose not to use deadly force when they have so many other allegedly non-lethal options to end the threat? You mean to tell me that this cop didn’t think a taser would stop a 16-year-old girl as effectively as four bullets to the chest one? At least with a taser Ma’Khia would be alive to explain why she even had the knife. And trust me, I don’t even think she should have been subjected to a taser, especially since it seems that the cops didn’t even try to talk to her.

She was a 16-year-old girl who apparently had been fighting with some other girls and she had a knife and somehow under some bizarre and honestly hateful (and it stinks of misogyny, to me) reasoning, people think Ma’Khia deserved four bullets to the chest— that that was the appropriate response to the situation. So now 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant is dead. And it’s a doggone disgusting shame that Black folks are defending her killing as something that had to be done because she had a knife. Well using that reasoning, I shouldn’t be here talking to you right now if I had been treated the way so many people are perfectly fine that Ma’Khia was. Think about that. 

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