Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It's a Complex Situation

No Louisiana talk today, branching out to what's going on around us for everyone.

We've got a complex situation going on in our world. The actions of police, police brutality, racism, abuse, racial profiling are all very serious issues that people feel deeply about. For myself? I'm conflicted. I've personally known people pulled over for Driving While Black, thankful it didn't escalate to something far more dangerous. I've known people touched by police officers' overuse of power, and it's devastating. Here, a woman talks about how frightening and demoralizing these situations are. I feel her questioning, her anger, her embarrassment, her outrage, and she's completely justified in all of those emotions. There are police officers who are making decisions that affect people short and long term in devastating ways. Just as there are bad people in EVERY profession, there are bad police officers, but in their situation, the stakes are infinitely higher and far more frightening.

On the other hand, I know police officers too. I've had them in my classes, I call some friends and extended family. I know they have to go into every traffic stop, every domestic situation, every loud party with the expectation that the person they are detaining could have a firearm and is itching to use it. If they don't, they are putting themselves and their partners in infinite danger. Every situation has to be approached with DEFCON 1 seriousness, or danger could ensue. I know even great police officers can't find out information about attacks and shootings in high crime areas due to the inherent mistrust of police bred by media sensationalization of police brutality cases. Even if the cops come from. that. neighborhood. there is distrust from other community members. I know it has to be difficult and stressful to tell a superior officer that maybe someone who has had your back, saved your life, has gone too far in an arrest. When a police officer is killed in the line of duty, there should only be tears that a public servant is gone. This article spells out the sacrifices even the families make. Again, I feel her pain, her longing, the depth of her despair.

I don't pretend to know what the solution is to this issue, but I know we can't toss up our hands in question and despair. Somehow, we've got to get police officers to serve in ways that respect humanity. We've also got to get community members to respect the job officers do. I wish I knew how to make that happen.

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