In the last two days we have heard stories of police officers being shot. Two NYPD Officers were ambushed and assassinated while they sat in their patrol car. Another officer in Florida was gunned down. The motive and suspect identity are not yet released in the Florida case. Motive does not matter. No motive of any kind would justify these brutal acts of violent cowardice. If you are going to stand up and be heard, stand where the police can see you. Do it with passive nonviolence. Be there with your voice and your presence. Words are lost under a barrage of gunfire.
I was quick to voice my opinion regarding the issues of race and justice in this country that have been all to common, especially recently. All too often people are still judged by the color of their skin and what that color “means” in relation to bias and perception. We know that the systems in this country are unjust and we have a long way to go before we can even see equality on the horizon.
However, we cannot support acts of violence from anyone. Violent acts toward the police make a hard job even harder. Frankly I worry that now it is going to be more difficult for police to be fully present in their work if they have reason to look over their shoulder more often. We must be able to rely on the police to be there in crisis, times of need, or even for the mundane work. It is the work that keeps order. We trust these professional with our communities and our lives. We have to. Once upon a time long ago I was a correctional officer. You don’t make many friends of inmates in that job. In fact there were always veiled and not so veiled threats from those who were just mad they were incarcerated and needed a target. We were the target of words, but it still dictated where we spent our time, who we spent time with and even where we sat out in public. For instance, in a restaurant we didn’t sit in a booth and made sure our backs were against the wall. That way we weren’t trapped should someone become hostile toward us. I cannot even begin to imagine the fear and paranoia about doing ones job when the words become bullets.
You can stand up for justice while standing up for the police. On Facebook Sean Coffey said “If you make an entire group look bad, it is easier to dehumanize the individuals within that group and do harm to them.” This is truth. We need to change how we deal with each other and start working together. We need to offer a hand before pulling a gun. No violence, of any kind, will further the conversation on race.