My school has been on partial lockdown this week because a drug addict on our vicinity killed a sheriff's deputy, stole his car, and robbed a convenience store. The photo above is from the FBI's wanted poster and it is emblematic of the poor white addicts who abound in this neck of the woods.
Covered with scabs and tattoos -- one a common gun rights motto -- with a rap sheet dating back over a decade, John Williams was reportedly distraught over an upcoming court date and/or his girlfriend's recent arrest by sheriff's deputies for opioid possession.
A friend who worked with him in a town in my school district gave him a ride from the town where many of my family members live to Norridgewock, where deputy Eugene Cole was shot and killed shortly thereafter. (The friend contacted police and you can read his account here.)
Old friends of Williams said similar things: nice guy, could have done a lot of things but got into drugs and went off the rails.
The #FBI, Somerset County Sheriff's Office & @MEStatePolice are offering a $20K reward for information leading to the arrest of John D. Williams. He is considered armed & dangerous. Anyone with information should call 207-624-7076 or email https://t.co/48YS0b0hkh pic.twitter.com/9ah2W2XUM7— FBI Boston (@FBIBoston) April 26, 2018
When he and his girlfriend were arrested a few weeks back in Massachusetts they allegedly had a car full of baggies with white powder residue, one Percocet, and two guns.
Earlier this year, the father of one of my students was arrested in sight of the school for heroin and fentanyl trafficking. Some of the drugs were found in the bureau of the child's bedroom.
These are the diseases of despair: depression, addiction, often suicide.
They abound here in Maine, the whitest state in the nation.
White people are not doing well. I believe this is the reason so many of them lash out at black people, calling the police on them for playing golf too slowly or waiting in Starbucks for a friend.
White people's fear is palpable.
Many of us have family members who are in the same rough shape as John Williams.
Many older white people are raising grandchildren after the parents go to prison or die of overdoses or take their own lives. Grandparents worry over the little ones while working long past retirement at low paying jobs that can be made to fit around the school schedule. They wonder where they went wrong with their own kids and pray that they will be able to successfully raise children who have PTSD from living with drug addicted parents during their formative years.
Racism has long elevated white people's levels of home ownership and other measures of net worth. Poor white people are humiliated by their poverty, their poor health, their unemployment and lack of prospects to better themselves despite a playing field tilted in their favor.
Calling the police on black people is one of the hallmarks of white privilege.
But is that really where the (increasingly militarized police) need to respond? Can even more men with guns really save us from the road we're on?
John Williams was arrested after three days, hiding out in the woods. Here's the trophy photo being unofficially circulated by police who were present for the arrest.
|Arrest photo from the Kennebec Journal, published with this caption: "This photo taken by Maine State Police on Saturday, April 28, 2018, shows the moment when law enforcement apprehended John Williams, sought in the slaying of Somerset County Sheriff’s Cpl. Eugene Cole. This photo appeared on Reddit, and Maine State Police confirmed Saturday that they took the photo."|
Online comments suggest that many found this documented inhumane treatment of the prisoner to be ill-advised. My comment: lucky for Williams that he is white, because a black man can't stand in a parking lot holding a bb gun without being shot and killed by police in Maine. #JusticeforChance