Another One Gone: The Death of Spencer Lee McCain

There is no perfect victim. Of course the media has proved that time and time again throughout the years. Spencer Lee McCain, a 41 year old man in Baltimore, Maryland, was one of those imperfect victims. Amidst the tragedies going on, the police have yet again taken the life of an unarmed black man. From the details out this far, this took place on June 25th, 2015, when they received a call from Rochelle Byrd, the grandmother of one of the children in the house at the time who was scared. Their mother had said that he had threatened to beat her. Since 2012, there have been 17 calls made to the police for reasons including fighting. Due to that, there had been a protective order placed against McCain restricting him from coming into the home at Owning Mills and to the children’s school. Though violating this order, it was not necessary to kill McCain, as he was not armed with a deadly weapon. The officers who shot McCain said he had been positioned defensively, which is was caused them to shoot, believing he was armed. Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson said that 19 casings were found in the home in Owning Mills, but is still unclear of how many times McCain was hit. The officers who shot McCain were placed on administrative leave.


McCain was not the perfect, respectable victim that the media usually defiles anyway. His life resembled ours, colorful, full of mistakes and faults that shaped him into who he was. According to Byrd, he had been a good father who had needed to turn his life around, a narrative that rang true to many people around the world. The media loves to pick and choose what we see about victims of police brutality. We continue to see the dehumanization of black people, especially in Baltimore, especially in Ferguson, and throughout the country. I’ve had people tell me time and time again that these victims were doing wrong and deserved it, and that the police used the perfect amount of force. These victims continue to die, their loves permanently ceased and the lives of those entertained with theirs changed forever. McCain’s kids will now grow up with no possible resolution, no conclusion of this chapter in their lives because their father is gone. They will have to hear people turn a man they loved into nothing more than dirt. And just because he held a defensive stance.
For those who argue that he was guilty, that still doesn’t not merit his death. If that were the case, then how come people are so quick to defend Roof, who killed 9 defenseless people? He’s guilty, but in the eyes of the law and this country’s justice, we must give him a fair chance, and see him as not guilty because we are told that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

Spencer McCain will never again take another breath because he was not given that right. He was seen as guilty. The police and society tells us that the police are here to serve and protect, but in the past years we have seen that they like to be selective with who they serve and protect. Maybe McCain took his stance because he, like the rest of this have seen this story played out, and the police have been spared. It has been time for far too long for this country to realize that despite the efforts of Martin Luther King, Fannie Lou Hamer and many others, we still live in a racial state. We still live in a time where the color of your skin affects many aspects of your life, and that some groups of people are treated better than other. Instead of attempting to cover things up with fancy words and apologies, it is time to wake up and address the issues that we wish so badly to disappear, because no good is coming of ignoring race away.

-JW

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One thought on “Another One Gone: The Death of Spencer Lee McCain

  1. I tell myself that people are getting the message, but it’s so damned slow–when I was your age, before the Rodney King beating, these stories were simply buried. As a young person I assumed a considerably more harmonious nation than was actually the case. If some positivity is to be drawn from the deaths we see on an almost daily basis, it is that public opinion is slowly turning against authoritarian brutality. You will assuredly see reform in law enforcement in your lifetime–sadly, not soon, I’m afraid. History may look back on some of the kids who lost their lives to “true thugs” in uniforms, and remember them, but only a fool would find any consolation in martyrdom.

    Liked by 1 person

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