There's a problem with pendulums.
The not so good thing about their swing in a few moments.
(CNN)You go for some target practice, look down the firing range and see at the other end that one of the targets is -- your brother, an old photo of him.
National Guardswoman Valerie Deant was devastated to see her brother Woody's image pierced by police sniper bullets, she told NBC6 in an exclusive report.
But his photo wasn't the only one of an African-American being used for target practice last November. There were six bullet-riddled mugshots of black males at the range.
No, says North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis. Two of his snipers were using them for target practice -- one of them is Hispanic, and the other a black male of Haitian descent.
Their target, a row of black men, which the snipers left behind at the stand, was one of many. There are also groups of white males, Hispanic males and white women.
There are 22 images in all, including a white man holding a gun to a white woman's head and one of now-dead al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. "The same target inventory has been used for more than a decade," Dennis said in a statement.
The idea is to have an array of photos with faces that look similar, so the sniper can practice exactly picking out the right target and avoid killing the wrong person in a real-life situation, Dennis said.
The department uses mugshots of people they arrested 10 to 15 years ago, and Woody Deant was one of them. Deant told NBC6 that he was booked after a deadly drag race. He has walked the straight and narrow ever since, he said.
"I can sympathize with the family discovering their brother's photo on the target," Dennis said.
Dennis became aware of the family being upset in late December and ordered an investigation. It turned up no violations of law or department policy.
But things will change. "We realize how important this issue is during today's climate," Dennis said.
Snipers will no longer use mugshots of people they have arrested, but instead will buy practice pictures from commercial vendors.
And they are instructed from now on to destroy their targets after they're done.
There was, of course, a time when racism, in whatever form it happened to take, was not only prevalent but, arguably, intrinsic in the American way of life.
And, although all that needs to be overcome has yet to be overcome, we continue to hope and believe that it shall be overcome some day..
Not to mention that which has, to date, been overcome.
Given the history, so far, though, it's inevitable that society would have to experience some backlash, payback or, in a more family friendly term, a little swinging of the pendulum when it comes to racial
It may be neither pleasant or appreciated, but when a group of people is required to shut the hell up and stay in the back of the bus for generation after generation, it's equally inevitable that when those shackles come off, there's going to be a lot of making up for lost time and diatribe.
To wit, the pendulum swings.
Martin Luther King articulated it very succinctly in 1955
And you know, my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled over by the iron feet of oppression. There comes a time, my friends, when people get tired of being plunged across the abyss of humiliation, where they experience the bleakness of nagging despair. There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life's July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November. There comes a time.
That was 1955.
It's now 2015.
And you know, my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of every little stumble being trumpeted as yet another trampling by the iron feet of oppression. There comes a time, my friends, when people get tired of being plunged across the abyss of anything and everything, no matter how minute or trivial, being associated with some new attempt at racial humiliation, where those who read and hear those associations experience the annoyance of despair at being nagged. There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the sunlight of cooperation and humanity and left standing amid the piercing chill of yet another attempt to cry racism where none exists.
And there comes a time when those who make big deals out of absolutely nothing, who exploit every opportunity, who, in fact, even create opportunities where no reasonable person would think to create one, do a grave injustice to not only those who are still working tirelessly to eliminate that which divides us but to those who spent their entire lives doing just that.
There comes a time.
A time to take matters into our own hands.
And, even perhaps, grab a hold of that pendulum.
Stopping it's inevitable swing.
Because there's a problem with pendulums.
They simply cannot swing one way without swinging the other.
And, at some point, enough is enough.
There comes a time.