My heart is punctured, and my mind is twisted after hearing of the horrific events that took place the week of Independence Day. Myself and so many others are devastated and offended by the hostile actions taken by police. Like many of you, I’m wondering what happens next after the slaying of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, not to mention the mysterious lynching in Atlanta reported as a suicide. So I guess tasers, batons, and mace aren’t sufficient to subdue suspects or criminals anymore? Just as abortion is not a contraceptive method, murder is not a form of punishment.
The disturbing current events have evoked fear and doubt of protection here in the United States. The same citizens who are supposed to serve and protect us are killing us at an alarming rate. I know all cops are not corrupt, just as all black people are not criminals. Thus, we need a resolution, and the use of force is not the answer. At one time, the majority of police officers were able to identify with the community members they served. They were relatable, not retaliatory. They were dependable, not detestable.
Who are these monsters we pay our tax dollars to? Now I’m not oblivious to the fact that there have always been crooked cops, but in my 37 years of living in America, I’ve never heard of so many black people being murdered by cops. Did they apprehend us? Yes! Did they harass us? Yes! Did they beat us? Hell yes! But did they kill us? No! – at least not wrongfully and at such colossal rate.
I am appalled, heartbroken, and shocked at last week’s heinous events. I’m also confused because the modern-day police are starting to mimic the military. I don’t know whether to salute or surrender, respect or resent because who knows who is really hiding behind that blue suit and badge. They are playing cops but day and KKK by night. I never knew having freedom could come at the cost of my life.
My people, men and women, are being murdered for doing things people do every day. To add insult to injury, law enforcers and reporters insist on highlighting the victim’s background or past, as if it justifies the brutal actions taken. Who doesn’t have a past? Most people in this world are not law abiding citizens. Some have never been caught. I know I am not the only one who has changed lanes without using a signal, flew threw a light after it had just turned red, made an illegal turn, failed to fasten my seat belt, or went above the speed limit trying to get somewhere on time. Sometimes, I wasn’t even in a hurry. I was just impatient. Does that sound like you? Let’s not talk about “model citizens” who lie on applications, embezzle funds, commit forgery or fraud, take objects from their jobs without permission, and get away with so many other infractions. I’ve lived long enough to witness that no one’s past is as squeaky clean as his or her criminal records, which can often be altered by knowing the right people.
This mess have gone too far for too long. It is time for people, black, brown and white, to rise up and support something greater than self. We are living in times where people fear the police, and police fear the people. Cops are killing people, and people are killing cops. Either action taken is the beginning of a problem, not the answer to one. Everyone can have a role in this reform. You either play your part or become part of the problem. Just because you are not suffering, that does not mean people in your community aren’t.
Prayers are always needed, but action is required in order to promote change in our neighborhoods. If you are an evangelist, practice what you preach. If you are a parent, teach against racism and rebellion. If you are a teacher, serve as a mentor as well. If you are a nosey neighbor, make sure you report everything you see. If you are a lawyer, don’t accept cases that exonerate a killer or wrongdoer. If you are a civilian, obey the law. If you are a cop, don’t shoot unless you absolutely have to.
“Make sense of what you do, and make every cent count.”
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them.
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Photo. Alton Sterling & Philando Castile
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