The Men in Blue

I can’t say that on some level I didn’t expect it. I just prayed that it wouldn’t happen.

But it did.

People, being (rightly) upset over what appears to be incredible racial injustice and flagrant abuse of power, do the worst thing possible and retaliate.  Five police officers were killed and many more were injured.

They are calling it, “the deadliest day for United States law enforcement agents since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.”

I am prior Navy and have a strong solidarity with the men and women of other uniformed services, including our police force.  I respect the job that they do, recognize their sacrifices, and know that it’s not an easy life.

Note that I said, “not an easy life,” instead of “not an easy job.”  This is intentional.  Some jobs are just jobs.  Others define who you are.  Police work is more like the latter.  I had an opportunity to meet with some of the police officers in my city at the library’s Summer Kickoff.

P6180005

I went to each of the areas and spoke with the officers there, asking them what they did and what they liked best about their jobs. To a man (or woman), they all said that public outreach events like this one were their favorite parts of the job. Too often, their interaction with the public is a negative one. Usually when someone encounters a police officer, it’s because they’ve either done something wrong, or something bad has happened to them. It’s rare that people get to see them for a happy occasion.

The reality of their life is a lot different that what we might expect from our brief interactions with them or how they are portrayed on television. I know after the reports of late, most people are tempted to think that all police officers are one bad day away from a horrible abuse of power. But this is grossly unfair. Most officers that I know live a life of sacrifice. They don’t command a great salary. People, even friends, can act weird around them, expecting them to judge their every action for “rule-breaking.” They are not thanked for the job they do. They put their lives on the line every day. They are always “on,” even when they are off. Their personal lives and those of their families are put under closer scrutiny and are expected to live up to higher standards of integrity and moral behavior.

These are our protectors, but so often they are cast as the villains.

Yes, there may be some bad people who abuse their position and do horrible things. This can happen in any profession. But we do not wholesale slaughter an entire group of people based on the actions of a few. Isn’t this exactly what we were trying to say at the rally in Dallas? That treating a group of people differently, and making them fear stepping out their door in the morning, and killing them for no reason, is WRONG and HORRIFIC?

Where is this going to end? What are YOU going to do to end it? How can we fix our broken society?

Certainly, we cannot let violence and persecution continue against black people.

Certainly, we cannot kill the people who work so hard to protect us.

Certainly, we cannot live in a society where there is so much fear and hatred.

What CAN we do? What can YOU do?

I don’t know. But I will listen, and I will pray, and I will love.

Thin Blue Line Peacemakers

#BlackLivesMatter

Okay.

I’m a white female. Or, technically, I’m bi-racial, being both Native American and Caucasian. But I look white and people generally treat me as such, and I typically identify as Caucasian.

So.

Can I even enter into this conversation with any sense of legitimacy?

I don’t know.

I certainly don’t know what it’s like to be black in our culture. Or Latina or most any other minority group. I can’t talk about their experiences, or the prejudices they face, or the struggles that they have, or even the best way to fix these problems.

I don’t have any answers.

What I know is that every person is made in the image and likeness of God, and because of this we are all equal in dignity, have a right to life, and need to be treated as what we are: the holiest thing you will ever encounter in your life apart from God Himself.

Every person.

Doesn’t matter your skin color, religion, able-bodiedness/disability, mental acuity, or whatever.

I don’t spend a lot of time reading the news or catching up on current events, but I have heard a lot lately about cases of suspected [I say this because I think they are still under investigation] police brutality and unjust use of lethal force against some African-Americans.

If this is true, and it seems like there is pretty solid evidence that it is, at least in this most recent case, my heart is breaking.

It’s unimaginably horrible to think that there are people who are afraid of going outside their homes. Afraid of being pulled over or stopped in the street. Of paying for a small infraction with their lives because of their skin color.

While white people who are seemingly guilty of horrible crimes beyond a shadow of the doubt are being acquitted and their good attributes are touted in the media; whereas for the black offenders, every rule they have ever broken since that time when they pulled Susie’s hair in 2nd grade is being published for the masses to see and use to justify whatever was done.

I don’t understand.

It is too easy in our society to marginalize people for the reason of the day.

Right now, it seems to be skin color. But tomorrow it could be Catholics, or Hispanics, or obese people, or whatever.

If I were persecuted, I would be afraid. I would be enraged. I would not understand why every other person in society was not on my side, fighting with me for justice. I would seek out other members of the group is was in which was being persecuted and I would identify with them perhaps even more. There is strength in numbers. There is a voice in numbers.

I am just a white girl. I know nothing. But I do know that #BlackLivesMatter

Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice. You may not like people of other races. You may have prejudices. Your heart could not be where it needs to be. But it’s what you DO, and how you ACT which really matters.

Choose to love people the same.

We are all people.

We all deserve love.

I typically stay silent on matters because I feel that my voice is not welcome. Or that I’ll offend others. Or that it’s not really my place to say anything.

Well, I think too many of us are silent. These are our brothers and sisters. These are MY brothers and sisters. And I am angry, heartbroken, and repulsed by what I’ve seen and heard.

Discussion is welcome. Please comment below.

black-lives-matter

Petition Aversion

I admit it. I really hate to be asked to sign a petition. I think a lot of it comes from a dislike of having my name attached to something on the public record. Like I think The Government will come after me or something. LOL!

The other reason, is that I like to sign ONLY if I can do so with integrity. What this means is that I will ask 1,000 questions of the person administering the petition to make sure that I understand the issue at hand. In my experience, these people either (a) don’t understand the issue that well themselves or (b) get visibly irritated at my questions. So, I tend to not sign.

Just a couple minutes ago, a woman came to my door asking for me to sign a petition to have an issue put on the ballot in November for the people of Troy to consider recalling our mayor.

Now, I don’t really know our mayor, but she made some convincing arguments that led me to think that perhaps there was enough there that the people of Troy might want to revisit the issue and determine if there is sufficient cause to recall the mayor.

As I was signing the petition, I noticed in the wording at the top that some of the reasons that they included for asking for the mayors recall were not issues that I agreed with. However, this petition was to put the issue up for examination on the ballot — not to actually vote her out of office. So, I did sign.

And I took their flyer. So that I can examine their arguments, and as a reminder to take a look at the other side of the story. Because, if this does make it to the ballot, I’d like to be informed so that I can vote with integrity.