A “wickedness in society” caused shootings in Louisiana, Michigan and Texas last week and the solution is more positive relationships, according to the Rev. Howard Jones, pastor of Fairfield Baptist Church, owner of Kingdom Restaurant.
But in the wake of two shootings of black men as portrayed in widely distributed videos, Rev. Jones plans to publicly commend a Nashville policeman — beyond what’s reported here — for restraining himself by not drawing his gun while he was being punched and kicked at a public housing neighborhood.
“I must applaud the police here because they have used great restraint,” Jones said. “They have been in positions where it was justified to kill.”
Still, Jones is not blind to criminal acts by police.
“Police have been killing black men on a wholesale level for decades and now our black men are tired and if we don’t stop this it’s going to be intensified,” Jones said.
“Social media is pulling the covers off of it just as the news media did in the ’60s, helping to reveal the aftermath in the cities after the killing of Dr. King.”
News reels and social media can’t “reveal the atrocities of the heart,” Jones said.
A divided federal government exacerbates the atrocities.
“When the conservative leadership is blaming it on the president, it’s as if they’re blaming fire on the president. He did not start the fire.
“Social media is causing the leadership of conservative America to see how horrible it is to just shoot a man down in cold blood, as if a man is not worth of life liberty and happiness; African American men in particular.
“We have video of police officers talking about fighting a white man who had a hatchet,” Jones said. “He ran away and they didn’t chase him. It’s on my Facebook page. It’s incredible. He punched them and ran.”
Then there’s the East Tennessee politician’s billboard with a message riffing off Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
The billboard says, “Make America White Again.”
“It’s a wickedness in humanity,” Jones said.
“The concept of the color line came is a result of the divisive nature of classes… going back to slavery,” he said.
“Black-white is not international, it’s a western thing….
“The problem is the mis-education of people about pigment of skin being indicative of character … and now there is … somebody who’s black in the White House … [so it would be said that because he’s black] he must have done something bad.”
Jones suggests three ways to prevent violence here.
“One is to build and nurture positive relationships with the police department and have more community policing and keeping Nashville, Nashville, because it has not been reflective of the national situation” such as the shootings in Baton Rouge, Orlando and elsewhere recently.
“We’ve got to build positive relationships with business partners for restorative justice so that those who have committed a felony … [can get] a second chance.
“Lastly, we need to nurture and build positive relationships with the schools and arm African American boys with proficiency of the three R’s.”