Breaking down the root cause of the deaths of black men confronted by white male police officers is a problem with multiple answers. Here are the variables: Gender, racism and gun training.

How many female officers have we heard of shooting and killing black males? Men are quick to react, and our egos and instincts can quickly rise to deadly levels.

Men were hunters and gathers, so quick and deadly actions got hard-wired into our DNA. Females almost always engage in communication much longer than men before they react. Having more female officers in minority areas would help the problem.

Racism is real and present and has decreased significantly since the 1960s on a conscious level. Whites and blacks say very few hateful things publicly about each other. But subconsciously many of us remember the hate and the differences we were taught. Some of us still consciously hold on to it and pass it on. We remember to fear and hate each other.

When we are confronted with that other race, our fear can kick in, triggering a premature reaction. Racism is waning. We are heading in the right direction by recognizing white privilege and racially-biased laws and economics. But injuries of this magnitude will take more than a few generations to recover from.

Our police receive a lot of gun training. Probably too much training. At some point in any such regimen the trainee can start becoming too comfortable in his performance. Fear of using a gun in a fearful situation decreases with more gun training.

Officers should fear the kick-back of the gun. Each time they pull a trigger in training, they should make sure they can justify confronting “Thou shall not kill.” Some fear is healthy and necessary for safety.

Being male plus subconscious racial fear plus excessive gun combat training equals tragic black deaths.

Caine Henry

Red Birch Circle

North Charleston