Enough is Enough!
July 7, 2016 at 2:20 p.m.
Like most things I weigh in on, there isn't much rhyme or reason to why this and not another topic. There also is no expectation on my part that I'll change yours, or anyone else's mind, nor change the world with mere words on a blog or Facebook post.
However, I'll share the following thoughts in regards to recent events inundating our pages, televisions, radios, etc. The recent OIS, or Officer Involved Shootings in Baton Rouge and Minnesota. The two are indeed different as far as context, but both held the same tragic result.
It's time that no matter what movement you're with or against, we all demand higher accountability from both the citizen and the law enforcement officer. It's also apparently time that we make it clear to all law enforcement that deadly force is the absolute last option and only to be used when the lives of innocent people are clearly in danger.
We don't have all the facts. Even videos provided so far don't paint a clear enough picture, but that doesn't change the fact that enough is enough. When you swear an oath to serve and protect, that actually means the public and citizenry above your very own life. It's part of why being in law enforcement should deserve and command respect, because they risk their lives for us. In difficult situations they cast their own well-being to the side for the greater good of those they're serving, sometimes even those guilty of a crime. I'm sorry if you don't like this, but this is exactly what law enforcement is meant to be. It is their job, duty and honor.
Does this mean that we shouldn't demand our fellow citizens show respect for law enforcement and our laws? Hardly. This is in fact, why they deserve respect.
In regards to the shooting of Philando Castile, 32, in Minnesota I will offer this: No matter what details emerge later, this officer did not act, nor respond properly. Short of all witnesses and information now available being fraudulent, this officer is guilty of a homicide and should also face charges of child endangerment and endangering the life of Castile's girlfriend who was also in the car.
No officer should EVER fire a weapon into a vehicle where a woman and child are present. They should be willing to take a bullet themselves or run before firing in such a situation.
No, I'm not in law enforcement. No, I don't know what that moment is like, but I'm not the one that's trained nor willingly chosen to be in that situation either.
My conservative friends, you better stop burying your heads in the sand and ignoring that we have a problem. This problem happens to affect black males at a disproportionate rate. Sure, there are many reasons that include but are not limited to education, poverty, culture, etc. but that doesn't justify nor excuse the clear problem we're facing.
This is so much more than a political talking point or line the in the sand. This is our country. These are our people. These are the very people our Constitution and Bill of Rights were designed to protect, just like us.
Our law enforcement officers should absolutely, unequivocally be trained to always DIFFUSE first. Period. Slow down. Take time. Call for backup. If there is any doubt whatsoever, put yourself at risk over others, because that's what law enforcement does. They protect and serve. They put their life on the line, FIRST.
So although I don't agree with the BLM movement and their tactics nor rhetoric, I can understand the angst. I can understand they feel they need to be heard in whatever way it takes.
Enough is enough. America this is an us problem we need to own. We need to demand changes to the way our law enforcement agencies do business. How they train, how they respond, the method of force. All of it. We're at a boiling point and it's time to acknowledge that although some cases may have warranted deadly force, many of these have not. We are all intelligent enough to understand this.
Stop choosing sides based solely on emotion, cultural bias, or cloaked hatred. Let's be honest with each other and ourselves. This is more than just ratings for the media and a soapbox for racial division. This is part of a downward spiral.
The same system we witnessed just this week provide leniency and shelter from criminal prosecution simply because the perpetrator has wealth, privilege and political power is the system that allows us to devalue those with criminal records, poor behavior, or the opposite skin color. The sides may be divided, but the winners continue to be those with wealth and privilege.
It may be too much to ask for us to be more mindful of loving one another, but that should still be our goal. Love always. When it hurts. When it's hard. When it's not warranted. Love. Always love.
I cling to the knowledge that we are all better than this. Why? Because I know whose image we were created in. It's time we live like it.