We Can All Do Better in 2015

In 2015, maybe we should all agree to try something different. If someone posts “I can’t breathe”, instead of accusing them of being anti-cop or pro-criminal, give them the benefit of the doubt and tell them that you agree that the justice system does not treat everyone equally. Ask them what do they think can be done to make things better. The next time someone posts, “Breathe easy, don’t break the law,” assume that the are only saying that they support law enforcement and not that they don’t believe that you have the right to peacefully protest. Maybe we should all admit that crime and injustic impacts everyone, regardless of your skin color. Police Officers are human, and they make mistakes. Unfortunately due to the nature of their job, when they make mistakes, the results can be tragic. If a white cop kills a black man, it does not mean he is racists. But we have to be mature enough to admit that cultural conditioning and bias do exist. The environment we live and work in, does impact how we act or react to any given situation. Police should have better training, and it is not just about tactics. Using a firearm, and self defense techniques are only part of the equation. There has to be more emphasis on the community interaction and the psychological aspects of a high stress job. If all of your contact with the community is negative, then bad things will happen.

On the other side of the coin, we need to do a much better job in our communities ensuring that we know the men and women that chose to protect and serve. Every day they go out, they know they may encounter a life or death situation. Do you really think cops want to pull you over for speeding on the interstate? Traffic stops are one of the most dangerous aspects of law enforcement. Not only are you operating without back up, but you have to be concerned with moving traffic and the unknown of what you will find when you approach that car. How about we all agree to observe the posted traffic laws? And if you get pulled over, you should just be courteous and cooperative. If you live in a high crime area, how about working with the investigators and stop pretending you didn’t see anything. “Snitches get stitches” is probably one of the stupidest “hood” sayings that I have ever heard. I get that people want to protest against police brutality, but you must admit that your message gets lost when you accept criminals, and criminal behavior in your community.

Perhaps Starbucks has it right. Have you ever noticed the cross-section of society that you will find in you average Starbucks? You will find people of every race, religion, color, and vocation. I know it is oversimplifying race relations, but you have to start somewhere. The next time you are on line for your java fix and you see a police officer, say hello thank you. If you are on patrol, stop and that ball field and introduce you self to the kids and parents. If we remember all the things we have in common, then maybe we can start to see things from the same point of view.

No Room at the Top

They say there’s no room at the top.
Stuff like that has gotta stop.
I don’t need to make you fall so I can stand.
I’ll give you a hand because that’s what human decency demands.

You look at me and see a stranger full of danger
And can’t seem to understand my anger.
Now close you eyes and you’ll be surprised.

Make a choice to hear my voice – it’s like music.
There’s not color to the sound, it’s quite profound.
Rhythm in sections, brass and strings joining at the intersection.
Treble and bass, palatable to the taste.
Love is not a product of waste.

Seasons change but people remain the same.
Add poison to the environment and we all can’t breathe.
You won’t need to put your hands up if I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Jesus died for our sins so we would stop killing each other.
Look at that man in blue and treat him like your brother.
Simply put, that means, you have the same mother.
You can’t strike him down if you claim to love her.

Pray for patience, empathy, and wisdom to learn.
It may feel like the end of times,
But you don’t have to contribute to the burn.

Dear America…..

Dear America,

I’m sorry that my protests are inconvenient. That you were late for work and missed your latte. I’m sorry that people commit a high percentage of crimes against the people that look like them, or live near them. I’m sorry that criminals are lazy and find travel inconvenient. I get it. No really, I get it. After Cain slew Abel, if you had started suspecting every sibling whenever there was another murder, it would have made sense to suspect every male sibling, because based on your statistics, every murder had been committed by a male sibling. I know it’s not your fault that people are protesting the perceived injustices perpetrated by the systems and people that are supposed to serve and protect the people. How dare they prevent you from going about your daily lives without having to think about the plight of someone that doesn’t look like you, or live near you, or pray like you do.

Imagine if the police stopped you and searched you whenever you drove past a school because someone that looked like you slaughtered children with an assault rifle. Or if you had to be stopped and frisked every time you went to a movie theater because a madman that looked like you massacred innocent people. Would it be right for me to take my savings out of your bank because you look like someone that ran a Ponzi scheme.

I feel sorry for you when you hear people are protesting and you have to take five minutes out of your commute to ask Google or Siri what’s going on. I am sorry that the inconvenience forces you to post snarky comments that the protestors probably don’t have jobs. Or that your regularly scheduled programming is preempted so that the local news can report about the protests.

I am sorry that you are infuriated whenever a dog kills someone people say Pit Bulls and Rottweilers are too dangerous but you don’t bat and eye when politicians get on television and say that the only reason black and brown boys are profiled by the police is because they commit crimes against their own. I’m sorry that you read this and think I am comparing pets to people.

America I am truly sorry that when you turn on the news and hear about crimes, terrorism, and injustice you only see it as the inconvenience caused by other people’s problems. Those people are killing themselves, or those people need to get a job.

Dear America I am sorry that you can’t see that there are evil people in the world and good people in the world. I am sorry that all you can see is the statistics of race and not the fact that laws exist because it is in human nature to sin. People commit crimes for many different reasons, but race is not one of them. The difference between the Bernie Madoffs of the world and the common street criminal is that there is not difference. How many people are homeless or were driven to murder suicide because someone in a suit took their life savings. The criminal with a pen affects millions while the criminal with the gun only affects a few. The difference is how the legal system treats them both when they are caught. You expect the street thug to go to jail forever but you are not angry when the “white collar” criminal gets a fine and a small sentence.

I am sorry that when someone holds up their hands and says “don’t shoot” or wears a shirt that says “I can’t breathe” you instinctively see it as attack against the fine men and women in law enforcement and not the cry against injustice that it truly is. If you hit me with your car by mistake or on purpose I am still injured regardless of intent. Don’t get mad at me if I demand to know why something happened so it doesn’t happen again.

Dear America I am sorry that is nearly 2015 and we have to discuss race because bias and prejudice exist. Having a bias or being prejudiced does not make a person bad or evil. Ignoring the fact that our actions are driven by the bias and prejudices of our experiences and the experiences of our community, that’s the real crime.