July 10, 2016
This has been a week of conflict. Our country woke up every morning it seemed to more bad news. How does one justify any loss of life? There is really no reason kill another human being unless you are fighting for your life. These cases were not those situations. Not even the blowing up of a trapped man who would not give up. Just wait him out, shoot him with a dart gun, starve him but blow him up??? What did someone have a new toy they were just dying to try out?
I worked with inner city minority youth for about 11 years in various venues. Law enforcement worked very hard to be there for these kids, to mentor then, let them know that they did not need to fear the police and to build hopefully lifelong relationships so the kids would know there was someone they could go to if they needed help. I don’t know if we were successful at all but I know some of those youth know if they needed something they could come to me, at least I hope they do. The ones I have stayed in touch with have asked me to write support letters for them for jobs, or take phone call references for them. They always get back to me if they got the job or not.
I live in fear for them. Why you ask? I have seen what you read about in articles about stopped by cop for being black. I was leaving a meeting with youth one evening and my co-worker was driving ahead of me a bit through what some consider to be a not great neighborhood. All of a sudden an officer turns on his lights and stops her. I pulled over to just watch the interview. He got out of his car and saunters up to her car. She rolls down her window and I can see his body language as not very friendly. He is asking her questions and she is answering him. It becomes obvious he did not run her tags before he got out of his car. All of a sudden as I expected his body language totally changed. She had told him who she was – the wife of one of his fellow cops. He told her he was sorry and walked back to his car, but his walk was not quite so jaunty. The next day I asked her how he reacted to finding out who she was. Guess it was pretty funny but prior to that not to amusing.
I believe law enforcement needs training. In an interview the other day on the radio they talked about the progress Dallas has made in turning those attitudes around. They have reduced complaints against law enforcement for inappropriate stops and attitudes, they have reduced crime, arrests, and have improved community relations. They had to partner with the communities they work with and put cops on the streets and reduce their fear factor by getting to know those they are charged with protecting.
Yes, it will cost some money and some effort but it will be worth it. We are one of the lowest taxed countries in the developed world and a few extra dollars to save lives and communities would be worth the expense. And as many have stated on Facebook this week it is time for the white folks to stand up and be counted and not just accept the behavior. If we don’t what can we expect from our children? They need to see positive role models working to promote community change, not just staying in the primarily white suburbs and thinking this is an inner city problem that does not affect them. Do you really want to live in a divided country? Do you really want to say to one group of citizens your lives can be lost to police overreaction? Do you realize that one day we will be the minority and the same could happen to our children or grandchildren? In a few years the tables are going to switch and if we cannot learn to live together then expect a huge change in the way things go down.
I have great hope because of the statements being made by so many of the 40ish folks I know. They really talk like they are going to stand up and say something this week. I hope they follow through. If you see something say something is a two edge sword but I believe in this situation it is a good thing to stand up and protect another person if wrong is being done.
The dry weather up here seems to be calming down. Had some good rain over the weekend but now it is going to get hot again. Will get the laundry done and do some outside work this week. Hubby heading home for a few days this week. Might go to the library to work on some genealogy this week since it takes up too much space on the computer with downloads etc. The wifi is space limited and gets costly if I am on for too long. A couple of hours in the 90 degree weather in an air conditioned library might be nice.