Riots erupted following the shooting of Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz, who was the leader of Pride Alliance and part of the LGBTQ+ community on campus. The story of this student highlights many different controversial topics within our current society, such as mental illness, the LGBTQ+ community, and the stigma behind them.
The video released detailing the outcome of this tragic story shows Schultz in front of two campus police officers holding a box cutter. The blade was not extended, but was enough for the officer to pull the trigger. As Schultz began to scream “shoot me” at the officers, they just kept telling them to drop the object in their hands. It was a classic attempt at suicide by cop. The police, rather than recognize this, chose to give an unstable Schultz their wish.
Mental illness has an enormous stigma toward it, thus making it harder for law enforcement and others to educate those in authoritative roles. There are unsettling instances that have emerged in this case, such as the Georgia Tech’s spokesman, Lance Wallace, stating that Georgia Tech campus police had not shot anyone “in at least 20 years and perhaps never.” Also, the behavior shown by authoritative figures who feel empowered to do these things because of our justice system.
Just like many other instances that highlight the current divide within our country, riots and protests broke out over the shooting. Another minority — a member of the LGBTQ+ community — fell at the hands of a police officer playing God. The constant lives being lost could have been completely avoided with less ignorance of human beings and the use of non-life-threatening force. A person, who clearly was in the middle of a mental break, should have not been handled with two guns pointed at them.
Law enforcement and our justice system are lacking regarding the treatment of minorities, and yet these injustices continue throughout history. Scout Shultz — being a leader who had their own inner struggles — had a huge chance if they had survived to teach us more. Unfortunately, their life was cut short by the people who are supposed to protect us, creating more confusion and anger within our already torn country.