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.