Police Shooting and Protests

I think I’ve been quiet on the issue for too long.  The issue is not going away on its own.  Me speaking on it won’t make any difference either, but I have friends on both sides of the police shooting issue.  I think I need to throw in my two cents.  Hopefully it can help at least one person consider things differently.

Both sides feel that they’re right, and want the other side to change.  Both sides are meme’ing each other down, or saying some of the craziest things.  Neither want to meet in the middle or step in the other side’s shoes to see it from another angle.

Now these are my thoughts on this.  Most of my friends have been down range.  I was down range during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.  Look at these shootings case by case.  Not what was found afterwards during the investigation of the shooting, but the shootings themselves.  If a Marine or Soldier shot an Iraqi or Afghani in the same exact situation, what would happen?  Investigation and jail time.  Well, sometimes coalition forces got off, but other times?  They got sent to jail.  Put the shootings in the lens of the military.  Would a Soldier or Marine have taken that shot?  I would think not for the most part.  We were highly trained and didn’t feel at war with the people.  We were there for the people, and out to fight the bad guys.

Yes, there are cases that are justified.  You can’t look at every shooting and deem them all wrong.  Some of them?  It’s obvious that they’re wrong, and the police need to get arrested.

Now this comes to the issue of what’s happening today.  People get shot and there’s differing accounts from both sides.  Some have guns, some don’t.  To me, it doesn’t matter what a person’s background or arrest history is.  A person without a gun who resists does not deserve to be shot.  There is no case in which you can justify shooting an unarmed person.  I don’t care if a person was running for a gun that was in their car.  You run after them.  Taser them.  Pepper spray them.  Take a  baton to their knee.

Now do I believe rioting is right?  No I do not.  You don’t meet violence with violence if you want to create change.  You lose the moral high ground, and you look no different, if not worse than the other side you’re trying to bring around to being sympathetic to your side.  Don’t be a punching bag, but don’t loot, burn, or attack.  Do a sit in at a police station.  Have the whole community stay home from work for a day or more.  Have a candle light vigil and prayer session while they point guns at you behind their body armor.  That should cool even the most hot blooded person on the other side.  The higher you are morally, the lower the other side is morally.  Just like the Civil Rights movement, no one could argue with peaceful protests.  Look at the change they brought to our society…

Do I believe that kneeling during the National Anthem and not putting your hand on your heart for the flag is a good protest?  I think it’s ineffective as a protest to be honest.  I believe that if people want to protest that way, they can do whatever they want without hurting others though.  Protesting the flag is kind of hard for me, because I’ve seen that flag draped on coffins.  I remember the first time I saw the flag after getting back from Iraq in 2003.  It meant that the war was really over.  I was home, I could finally let my guard down.  I was alive.  It represented everything that I was important to me.  Now if someone else sees that flag differently, that doesn’t effect me.  I’d hope that they saw it differently, but that’s something they’ll have to deal with.  They can see it however they want to be honest.  That’s their right.  Rights I fought for, and rights I defend.

So does taking a knee work?  I don’t think it will change anything, but I don’t think that’s the point.  The point by taking a knee is, things are bad for that community.  Until things change, they won’t stand.  It’s not protesting against the country or the flag.  To me, it’s not participating in the celebration until the fear of having their rights violated ends.  I actually think its a statement.  A powerful statement actually.  You believe things are so wrong that you kneel during the National Anthem and don’t see the flag or the country representing something positive.  That made me think, what is so wrong that they won’t stand until it changes?  Whatever is so wrong should at least be looked at and discussed right?  Maybe that’s the point of kneeling.  Not to disrespect you, the flag, or the country, but to draw attention to an issue that they feel is very important.  An issue that they think everyone is ignoring.  Why not consider the message or request behind it?  These are Americans doing this.  All Americans are my brothers and sisters.  Why let some of our own people feel that they’re suffering so much?

I know the answer is that you can’t support because of the negative videos and acts you’ve seen that few members of that community have done.  Those make me mad too.  Its not all of the community that does that though.  Just like how not every Cop is a crooked cop.  Or how not every White person is a racist.  Some are, but that’s not everyone.  We watch videos of the other side of the issue we stand on, and we are letting a few members of a side shape our view of the issue.

I think that people who kneel probably has a high standard for what the best country in the world should be, and it’s not meeting their expectations.  Maybe they are actually protesting the flag and country.  That’s their right.  I think they can protest in a more effective manner.  Like organize a march to a local police station, and get community leaders to sit down with police leadership.  But that’s one man’s opinion.  Do whatever you can do peacefully to get your message out.  If you are right, time and history will tell.

Do I think black lives matter?  Yes I do.  Black people are just people.  They want the same things that I do.  They have the same wishes, goals, aspirations, hopes, needs, and wants that everyone else has.  I believe their lives matter. Historically in this country they have not.  Slavery, Jim Crow, Segregation, Chain gangs, War on Drugs, etc.  My father saw segregated schools, drinking fountains, pools, diners, and other things when he was a small child.  That really brings it close to home that it wasn’t all that long ago.  It’s not my great great great ancestor, it’s my parent’s life time when the US Government institutionally disadvantaged African Americans.  Yes things have come a long way since then, but things could be better still.

Do I approve of the BLM group?  Sure I do, at least the concept of the group.  They advocate the prevention of police brutality.  I don’t want police brutality.  Who wants that?  How can you be against the prevention of abuses?  Do I approve of methods used by some of their members?  No, I definitely do not.  I support advocates of peace.  Once you start putting down others, as people on both sides have done, you lost me.  You lose righteousness.

You kill with kindness.  You turn the other cheek.  If you meet violence with violence and shouting down and doing your own type of racism?  That’s just as bad as what you’re fighting against.  Remember the moral high ground.  When you’re doing what’s right, you’re doing God’s work.  When you’re hurting others or destroying their property?  You are not doing God’s work.  You’re pushing the other side further away.

What makes me qualified to think like that?  I’m half White and Half Asian.  I’ve lived in countries where White Christians are the minority.  Where Asians are treated like indentured servants at the best, like slaves or sex slaves at the worst.  Pick up the paper in the Middle East and read about how many Asian Women jumped out of windows during the week.  Makes you think doesn’t it?  I’ve seen locals push people out of way to get to the front of the line.  Take a parking spot, and laugh at you.  I’ve seen local police try to snatch a foreign girl.  I’ve seen local kids attack foreigners as the parents watched and laughed because of their perceived superiority.  Your car gets hit, and you get the ticket, not the local.

I’ve also been to countries where the color of my skin, my passport, my religion, my bank account, etc. made me and or my family a target for terrorism, kidnapping for ransom, or robbery.  I’ve had to be careful of where I go, and who is watching my family.  I hear of a Marine Veteran being killed in another country close to my heart by robbers, or their children being kidnapped?  It makes me watch my back because I visit that country quite often.  So I can see where the people who think they are under attack are coming from.  And it makes me upset when I have to think about how people feel that way here… They feel the same way here that I felt in other countries…  The world’s greatest country.  That’s a red flag.

 

That’s my two cents for that side of the conversation.  People just want to live, put food on their table, for their kids to grow up, and not get shot by the police (if you brandish a gun at the police, you want to get shot).  People just want the chance to succeed, and to have the same rights that others have.

Now here’s my two cents for the other side.  I see where they’re coming from too.  At the end of the day, some shootings are justified.  No matter how you want to see it, not every police shooting has been wrong.  So I can see how people watching the protests, and hearing the rhetoric being spouted by the media start to feel like the other side is wrong so they won’t ever change their stance…  I can see how some don’t like to be blamed and don’t like hearing the ridicule of everything they care about…  It’s hard to have everything you love and hold dear be treated negatively.  No one wants to hear bad things about their community, and it makes them want to sympathize less.  You don’t want to believe that your country, flag, or government institutions are bad.  You feel like the other side is turning it into a “us vs them” situation.  If you have a different opinion or idea, you feel like you’re told you’re wrong.

So people are like “Okay, if that’s what they say, that’s what I’ll make it then.”  If they want a bad guy, I’ll be the bad guy.  You asked for it.  They say it, I adopt it.  You start believing the us vs them, and stop caring for the humanity of the other side even though you always felt that you had been compassionate for the other side in the past.  The few bad apples on the other side color your picture of the whole side (which is happening to the other side too).  You hear about one getting shot, and then hear their criminal background, drug toxicology report, or that they had a weapon within dozens of feet of them.  You forget the actual shooting incident itself, and focus in on the after the facts items that had nothing to do with the actual shooting because you see the rhetoric coming from the aftermath of the situation.  You feel a renewed assault on everything you cherish again.

You don’t want to dehumanize a person who was just shot, but then you are told how bad your country is and how bad you are, and how your society is bad.  So you stop caring, and say they deserved it.  Dehumanizing becomes easier.  You don’t realize it, but both sides are dehumanizing each other.  We start believing the differences are real.

You turn on the news, and see what else is being bashed that you care about.  You start believing that they deserve it for resisting now.  You forget about the human being who wasn’t making the best decisions.  You see a stereotype, not the man who is a son, brother, uncle, neighbor, friend, cousin, father, husband, Human.  Or the woman who is a daughter, sister, aunt, neighbor, friend, cousin, mother, wife, Human…   You can even hear that a guy was laying down with hands up and still got shot.  You want to justify that too, by taking an off incident that the other side did, and applying it to that because you think the other side doesn’t care about you.  So why should you care about them.  They’re the ones getting themselves into trouble right?  I mean you did see videos of the other side punching people who look like you, stomping or burning the flag you love, and seeing them trash things you like during a riot.  How can you back people who do that, right?

A big problem that the other side doesn’t understand is that people don’t like to be told that they benefited from privilege.  That the country is set up for them, and things naturally come easily for them.  Especially when a person had to shed blood, sweat, and tears to get to the point where they are at today.  It discounts all of the toil they’ve been through and all of the hard work that they have done.  Especially when they see the success of others who are from the other side that they don’t have.  How can you have privilege if you lack success?  How can people from the other side have success that only Whites should have received through White Privilege if White Privilege really existed?  How can you feel privilege exists when you are still grinding it out, day after day and barely making ends meet…

Also, if you did benefit from privilege while the other side struggles like how you’re told, what does that mean for your kids?  Their hard work will be valued as lesser?  The other side is better for overcoming so much more that you didn’t have to do?  You believe that their kids and your kids all have the same opportunities and benefits, so you start to get mad.  Privilege may have existed at a certain point in time, but it’s over now right?  You don’t think the other side will let that argument go though, so it pushes you farther away.  You start to think that the other side only lives in the past, and can’t move forward.  They won’t let past injustices go, so they’ll never have positive forward movement.  You also believe that they pull cards too easily.  Things get rough, they have easy out cards like racism, or slavery.  You look for your card.  You don’t have one.  You are told that you are privileged but don’t see how you tap into that privilege.  If its true, how do I get it?

No one wants to have incidents from the past that they weren’t around for thrown in their face.  It makes the people feel mad, and not want to sympathize.  No one wants to feel ashamed for the color of their skin because of what their ancestors may or may not have done.  Especially when they feel like they’ve been supporting the other side in the past.  A lot of people on this side feel that their ancestors did what any other person’s ancestors would have done.  If the other side’s ancestors could have, they would have done the same things too.  So why not move past it, and live for the future?

I think that both sides want justice and peace.  You can’t get it at the expense of others though.  You can’t build up one community without taking from another.  You can only build up one community, so we need to all come together.  We need peace, and to love our neighbors.  We are in this together.

Police are not bad.  Black people are not bad.  White people are not bad.  Other people are not bad.  We are all inherently good, and want the same things at the end of the day.  All communities have bad eggs, and we should punish those bad eggs.  One side can’t back everybody just because they’re the same skin color.  Right is right, wrong is wrong.  The other side can’t back every officer just because they wear a badge.  Same thing, right is right, wrong is wrong.  If someone does something bad in your community, they need to receive sanctions.

Now what can we do…  What is the solution that will help both sides of this issue?  I propose killing with kindness.  Take the moral high ground.  We’ll all stand on the mountain top together.  If both sides do it, then who will do any wrong?  Instead of Whites becoming more racist, or Blacks becoming more racist, we need to reach out.  We need to come together.  We need to hold each other and ourselves accountable.  If someone in our HUMAN community does wrong, then we need to have that person face justice.  Justice has to be universal. Don’t back the bad eggs in our communities.  Protest with peace, and show love.  Show them that you’re hurt, and beckon them to your side.  Both sides should protest injustice together.  People shouldn’t pick sides when it comes to the loss of Human life.

I’m not anti-police.  It’s insane to be anti-police.  I support the police.  Yes there are bad apples.  Just like in all communities there are bad apples.  I am for the ones who maintain order and who protect the community from harm.  Whether they wear a badge or not.  I’m against the crooked ones who do bad things to others.  Cops or citizens.

Realistically, we can do more than “reach out” or bridge the divide with love like I offered above.  I think we need to give police agencies more military like training.  Military members show great restraint in combat when it comes to civilians.  We go into a deployment thinking that we’re after bad guy fighters, and there to help the people.  So more training can’t hurt right?

There are a few things that I think should be implemented in all police departments:  More training.  Body cams.  Having more than one officer on the scene.  Using Tasers, pepper spray, and batons.  The first few rounds in a magazine are non-lethal.  Walking beats, and driving less.  Having community members and the police force come together everyday in the community.

I suggest all of this because if you are police, and absolutely everything you do is above board?  Then how can you ever be perceived as being wrong?  If you show the highest kind of restraint and compassion, no one can rally against you.  If random cameras on the street, dash cams, body cams, and witness cams all show you doing the right thing?  No one can spin the incident against you.  Take the high ground.  It may make the job harder, but you will sleep easy at night knowing that the other side will realize that they perceive you incorrectly.  If you can do no wrong, you will not be wrong.

That’s what we can do as people.  Stop the hate, start to love, having more police department improvements, move on from the past, hold everyone accountable, and don’t back the bad ones in our community.  Our government can do more than we as a people could ever imagine to do.  They can help to alleviate poverty, bring industry/jobs back to America, improve schools, and reform the drug war and prison industry.  The health industry can be revamped, and college could be much cheaper.  A population that is well fed, educated, employed, and has hope for the future is a happy population.  Strife, turmoil, and hatred cannot thrive in that kind of environment.

Oh and both sides need to realize that we are all at the bottom of the barrel.  Rich people on both sides of the issue are making money off of the disharmony.  There are people who don’t want to bring the communities together into one community because they will lose money.  They will lose support, and they’ll lose their positions in the community.  Politicians are guilty of this as well.  There are mega rich, super entrenched politicians who only care about you if you’re a casualty.  If your misfortune can garner them votes?  That’s when they care about you.  They don’t care about you when you’re struggling or trying to put food on the table.  They only care about lobbyists, CEO’s, board of directors, shareholders, huge corporate entities, and political contributions.  People don’t matter to them, only the party platform, and how many seats they hold in government.

So stop sharing meme’s and videos that disparage the other side.  Pictures, memes, and videos are highly edited with very scripted commentary.  There is an agenda guiding the creation of that piece of media, and it’s not a positive one.  I implore you to stop name calling, and stop feeling pissed at the other side.  Realize that we all want the same things, and  that we are all linked together.  This can be the greatest country for everyone in it, and we can all be proud of it.  Yes this country has had a checkered past, but it has limitless potential for everyone who calls it home.

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