Unequal Justice: Sheriffs and the need for ‘soft’ Tyrannicide

Go Lean Commentary

The need for justice can never be undermined, undervalued or questioned.

People will abandon everything else – culture, family, home and comforts – in pursuit of justice, for themselves or their children.

This is a familiar cause in the Black community – African descended people – in the New World. The 2013 book Go Lean… Caribbean spoke of the mental disposition of the previous generations that transcended from slavery to full civil rights. The book quotes (Page 21) this as the “community ethos” or “underlying sentiment that informed the beliefs, customs, or practices”:

The African Diaspora experience in the New World [was] one of “future” gratification, as the generations that sought freedom from slavery knew that their children, not them, would be the beneficiaries of that liberty. This ethos continued with subsequent generations expecting that their “children” would be more successful in the future than the parents may have been.

The “success” that these ones sought were for justice first and prosperity later. Consider the example of the Great Northward Migration in the United States. This refers to:

… the movement of 6 million African Americans out of the rural Southern United States to the urban NortheastMidwest, and West that occurred between 1916 and 1970.[1] In every U.S. Census prior to 1910, more than 90% of the African-American population lived in the American South.[2] In 1900, only one-fifth of African Americans living in the South were living in urban areas.[3] By the end of the Great Migration, just over 50% of the African-American population remained in the South, while a little less than 50% lived in the North and West,[4] and the African-American population had become highly urbanized. By 1960, of those African Americans still living in the South, half now lived in urban areas,[3] and by 1970, more than 80% of African Americans nationwide lived in cities.[5]

The reality of southern rural life for African Americans was that justice was impeded by one institution, often one character: the County Sheriff. (See the academic journal in Appendix A below).

The Sheriff is a legal official with designated responsibility for a local jurisdiction in countries with historical ties to England. In the United States, the scope of the elected Sheriff is most often identified as the chief civil-law enforcement officer and administrator of County jails. [There were 3,081 Sheriff’s offices as of 2015.[4]]

The County Sheriff was often a Bottleneck for justice for the local Black community. This was well illustrated in the classic reggae song about Sheriff “John Brown” by Bob Marley  – see here; (and the lyrics in Appendix C below):

VIDEO – Bob Marley “I Shot The Sheriff” Live at the Rainbow – https://youtu.be/Xa0HOpQRpLM

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  • Category: Music
  • Song: I Shot The Sheriff (Rainbow, 1978)
  • Artist: Bob Marley
  • Licensed to YouTube by: Aviator Management GmbH (on behalf of Bob Marley)

(People sought refuge and succeeded in their quest for relief and justice by fleeing the jurisdiction of the Sheriff, that State and the whole oppressive racist region of the American South).

There is the concept of the Bottlenecks in production design …

… a bottleneck is one process in a chain of processes, such that its limited capacity reduces the capacity of the whole chain. The result of having a bottleneck are stalls in production, supply overstock, pressure from customers and low employee morale.[1] – Source: Wikipedia.

How do we eliminate bottlenecks? By eliminating non-value activities …

In removing all non-value activities, you reduce the amount of redundant tasks performed by the bottlenecked machine [process or person] and hence maximize efficiency.

So it is a quick and easy conclusion that in order to be efficient and effective, bottlenecks must be removed/streamlined from any process. This case-in-point about bottlenecks is a submission from the movement behind the Go Lean…Caribbean book. This book was not designed to address bottlenecks, but rather the Caribbean societal engines: economics, security and governance. It is no doubt that this subject of bottlenecks aligns to each one of these engines. This is because they relate to:


There could be a bottleneck in the execution of justice – one person can hold it up, prevent it and subvert it. When this is the case, there is the need to eliminate the obstacle. This is called “tyrannicide“. In fact, the subject of tyrannicide opens this series on “Unequal Justice” from the movement behind the Go Lean book for September 2019. While the Latin root word “cide” refers to killing or slaughter – think: suicide and homocide – we are NOT advocating any kind of assassination of political leaders. No, we are not encouraging any form of violence; rather the advocacy here is for a “soft” tyrannicide – legally removing all persons that may be a stumbling block or bottleneck in the execution of justice in the societal engines – these persons, despite their claims of being “heroes”, are really “villains”.  The full series is cataloged as follows:

  1. Unequal Justice: Soft Tyrannicide to Eliminate Bottlenecks
  2. Unequal Justice: Economic Crimes Against Tourists and Bullying
  3. Unequal Justice: Envy and the Seven Deadly Sins
  4. Unequal Justice: Student Loans Could Dictate Justice

In this series, reference is made to the need for a comprehensive roadmap for elevating the societal engines of the 30 Caribbean member-states. We need to always ensure justice institutions are optimized in the region, otherwise people flee in search of refuge. The need for justice transcends borders, politics, class and race. People feel justified to pursue justice – as a religious devotion – if not for themselves, then for their children.

The need for justice can never be undermined, undervalued or questioned. This was related in many previous Go Lean commentaries; consider this sample here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=18100 Cop-on-Black Shootings in America’s DNA
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=17667 Is the US a ‘Just’ Society? Hardly!
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=14413 Repairing the Breach: ‘Hurt People Hurt People’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=13476 Future Focused – Policing the Police
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10222 Waging a Successful War on ‘Terrorism’ and Bullying
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5238 Prisoners for Profit – Abuses in the Prison Industrial Complex
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5304 Mitigating the Eventual ‘Abuse of Power’

For the foregoing, the American South, tyrannicide was achieved by removing the racist Sheriffs from office. This was accomplished by defeating them at the ballot box – see the example in Appendix B. The people that fled – in the Great Migration – did not defeat the Sheriffs,  the bottlenecks for justice. No, it was those that stayed; thusly, the reformation took very long.

This is also the advocacy of the Go Lean movement.

Many Caribbean people have fled their homeland and this region. They cannot bring the required  change if they are absent! It is our assertion that it is easier to reform and transform the Caribbean rather than trying to fix the societal life for Caribbean people abroad in a foreign land.

This theme – urging Caribbean people to Stay Home and Return Home – aligns with many previous Go Lean commentaries; see a sample list here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=11314 The Need to Stay Home: Forging a Home Addiction
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10654 Stay Home! Immigration Realities in the US
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=15123 ‘Time to Go’ – Blacks get longer sentences from ‘Republican’ Judges
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=9216 Time to Go: No Respect for our Hair

Life in the Diaspora is not easy; and not always just. The Black-and-Brown of the Caribbean continue to encounter repression, oppression and suppression in the foreign communities of  North America and Europe. If justice is the goal – it should be – then it is easier to forge justice and mitigate institutional abuse here in the Caribbean homeland. It still takes heavy-lifting, but there is a better chance for success here.

We must learn the lessons of the history of the American South – it was those that remained that reformed and transformed their communities. Not those that left. (North Carolina now has 20 Black Sheriffs out of their 100 counties).

i.e. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was a Baptist Minister in Atlanta, Georgia, after starting his Civil Rights career in Montgomery, Alabama. His enunciated dream was for freedom to reign:

… from the Stone Mountains of Georgia,

… from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee,

… from every hill and molehill in Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

Let freedom … and justice reign in the Caribbean; in every member-state and for all the people. This is our Dream!

We hereby urge all Caribbean stakeholders – governments, residents and Diaspora – to lean-in to this comprehensive Go Lean roadmap to elevate Caribbean society. This is how we can make our homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix A – JOURNAL ARTICLE: Race and the County Sheriff in the American South 

Because of their wide powers and multiple roles, sheriffs played a particularly notable role in the region’s racial history. Nearly all white and male, and overwhelmingly Democrat, southern sheriffs were linchpins in the maintenance of white supremacy and its class-base and race-based privileges. Exercising broad discretionary powers in the enforcement of the law, county sheriffs helped reproduce the complex set of social taboos and practices that made up Jim Crow society. Sheriffs were not only empowered to arrest and jail, but to fail to arrest and jail. By acceding to the wishes of white elites, sheriffs administered the racial paternalism that helped keep southern blacks beholden to their white patrons, securing their cheap labor for agrarian or industrial capitalists and suppressing their ability to resist the reproduction of white hegemony.

Sheriffs, through their authority over the local jails, were generally responsible for the custody of those arrested, and played a prominent role in the lynching incidents that were so important to subduing the black unrest.

See the full journal article … at this source:

Moore, T. (1997). Race and the County Sheriff in the American South. International Social Science Review, 72(1/2), 50-61. Retrieved September 27, 2019 from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41882228


Appendix B – First African American female sheriff is woman enough to fill big boots

For now, history will not be made in Washington with America’s first female president. But, here in Texas, we have quietly made history this month swearing in the state’s first African American female sheriff.

Jefferson County Sheriff Zena Stephens took her oath in front of a packed audience in Beaumont, where she promised to get back to the basics of law enforcement with greater transparency and community engagement. Stephens spoke of being humbled by all the support, describing her November win as a team effort. “Our community made history,” she said.

Stephens is now one of only two black women in America to hold the job of sheriff. Yet, she does not concern herself much with the record books or her admission into a very impressive brotherhood of peace officers. (That includes Walter Moses Burton, who, in 1869, was elected the first black sheriff in Texas by the voters of Fort Bend County.)

See the full article here: Dallas Morning News – Posted January 13, 2017; retrieved September 27, 2019 from: https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2017/01/13/first-african-american-female-sheriff-is-woman-enough-to-fill-big-boots/


Appendix C – I Shot the Sheriff – Lyrics by Bob Marley

(I shot the sheriff
But I didn’t shoot no deputy, oh no! Oh!
I shot the sheriff
But I didn’t shoot no deputy, ooh, ooh, oo-ooh.)

Yeah! All around in my home town,
They’re tryin’ to track me down;
They say they want to bring me in guilty
For the killing of a deputy,
For the life of a deputy.
But I say:

Oh, now, now. Oh!
(I shot the sheriff.) – the sheriff.
(But I swear it was in self-defence.)
Oh, no! (Ooh, ooh, oo-oh) Yeah!
I say: I shot the sheriff – Oh, Lord! –
(And they say it is a capital offence.)
Yeah! (Ooh, ooh, oo-oh) Yeah!

Sheriff John Brown always hated me,
For what, I don’t know:
Every time I plant a seed,
He said kill it before it grow –
He said kill them before they grow.
And so:

Read it in the news:
(I shot the sheriff.) Oh, Lord!
(But I swear it was in self-defence.)
Where was the deputy? (Oo-oo-oh)
I say: I shot the sheriff,
But I swear it was in selfdefence. (Oo-oh) Yeah!

Freedom came my way one day
And I started out of town, yeah!
All of a sudden I saw sheriff John Brown
Aiming to shoot me down,
So I shot – I shot – I shot him down and I say:
If I am guilty I will pay.

(I shot the sheriff,)
But I say (But I didn’t shoot no deputy),
I didn’t shoot no deputy (oh, no-oh), oh no!
(I shot the sheriff.) I did!
But I didn’t shoot no deputy. Oh! (Oo-oo-ooh)

Reflexes had got the better of me
And what is to be must be:
Every day the bucket a-go a well,
One day the bottom a-go drop out,
One day the bottom a-go drop out.
I say:

I – I – I – I shot the sheriff.
Lord, I didn’t shot the deputy. Yeah!
I – I (shot the sheriff) –
But I didn’t shoot no deputy, yeah! No, yeah!

Source: Retrieved September 27, 2019 from: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bobmarley/ishotthesheriff.html 

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