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We Have to Be Better!

I’m shocked. I’m horrified. I’m sad. I’m disappointed. Yet I’m not surprised.

I don’t know all the details that lead up to what I witnessed on that video, but I know what I saw. I watched a man lose his life. I watched a man plead for mercy and receive none. I watched as arrogance and posturing ruled a situation instead of common sense. I watched George Floyd lose his life needlessly, and those involved should be ashamed of themselves, rigorously investigated, and then prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

I was an officer, for a short time, many years ago. I remember going through the training and getting the hell beat out of me in the process. But I learned valuable lessons, that to this day, I continue to use in my life. I learned respect for the uniform and those who wear it. I learned to understand the depth of responsibility of taking care of those whom officers are commissioned to protect. I also learned to despise those who disrespected the privilege, responsibility, and honor of wearing that uniform.

I personally worked with some great officers, many of whom were career law enforcement. On the other hand, I also worked with some of the scum of the earth, that should have been wearing a prison uniform rather than that of an officer. The latter is a majority of the reason I didn’t last very long. I just didn’t have the stomach for it. Most followed the letter of the law as best they could, but then there were others who never should have passed the psych evaluation. I also have family members that are officers who do an amazing job. They follow the rules. They protect and serve. They put their lives on the line every day for the betterment of their community. I believe most do… But you know what they say, “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch”. Too often we hear about those “bad apples”; maybe even more so because the bad stories get people worked up, and they should. I know we cannot turn a blind eye to the bad, but I’d also love to hear more of the good stories of the cops saving the day while truly deserving the recognition. Quit giving all the attention to the scumbags.

As far as the “bad apple” police are concerned, I’m not sure what the answer is. I wouldn’t even know where to start. Better training could be a good starting point, but that’s not enough. A lot of good cops had the same training as these “bad apples”, and choose to do the right thing every day. Maybe better psychological evaluations is the answer or maybe a longer vetting process. How about a zero tolerance policy for undue force, brutality, and racially motivated profiling? I don’t know. Perhaps some have just become so jaded by crime and violence that they don’t realize they’re starting to cross the line. Whatever the answer, it’s time to try something new. What I do know is this: it has to stop. People are tired of hearing these stories. People are grieved by these unnecessary losses of lives. It keeps picking open the scabs that are trying to heal. For many, this hits in their own backyard. For others, these events invite passion to fight the injustice. Still others may feel very unaffected. Regardless we are all ultimately affected when we cannot trust our law enforcement to act responsibly and fairly.

As for the violence that has followed, it is very disheartening that some people have felt the need to resort to such extreme violence and destruction. Romans 12:17-21 says “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay, ‘ says the Lord.  On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

I know many are upset, but destroying property and stealing things that don’t belong to you is foolish and does not actually solve anything. You’re hurting your neighbors, as well as yourselves, by destroying the very neighborhood you live in. If you want to protest injustice, do it. Have rallies, go where the laws are made, and command change. We have platforms for it, and our constitution calls for it! Do it the right way and expect change; demand it. I know that it’s difficult and has taken forever, but doing it the right way, in the long run will help truly end racism and bring healing for everyone.

Racism. Is it real in 2020? Yes, unfortunately, it is. I read an article today that stated it was worse today than it was in the sixties. Anyone who’s read accurate accounts of the civil rights era knows it was horrible then. I personally wasn’t alive in the sixties, so I called a former coworker and friend (and yes he’s black) and decided to ask him about it. He simply said “no it’s not worse, not even close. It’s just different. But it is still very much alive.” He said a lot more and gave me a deeper perspective of the lives of black people. I even read him this post to make sure I wasn’t being offensive. I want to be better, so I did what I thought would help; I talked to someone who knew better than me. That is one many ways I believe we can move forward.

My hope is that justice will prevail, and that change will occur. I pray hearts will open up to love, and that all the hate will be swallowed in that love. As a society, we have to be better. I say that as an absolute fact. We have a responsibility to be better, not just for now but for the generations that are following us. Be the change you want to see. Don’t just quote those words, put them into action.

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. Proverbs 10:12

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