I read this article earlier this morning, then I walked away from it and I read it again this evening. When I read it the first time I was instantly frustrated, my nerves were a bit raw form the past week. Every time I looked at my news feed another officer shot, BLM marching in the streets, Beyoncé glamourizing the Black Panthers, another officer shot, the president visits a mosque, presidential hopefuls spewing anti-police bullshit, another officer shot- the white house silent.
I am dumbfounded by the state of our country, divided we stand; one nation apart from one another separated and preyed upon by a machine seeking power and feeding on corruption. It only took one or two events to get here, it really wasn’t a long road. One or two incidents sensationalized at the expense of unity. Incidents which on their face and in their local communities would have gone unnoticed in the big scheme of things, but somewhere, someone grabbed onto the narrative and twisted it up and spit it out the other side creating a boogeyman.
This boogeyman was no ordinary badguy. He wasn’t a gangbanging crackhead following you down a dark alley or a faceless meth-addict smashing the glass of your back window to take your jewelry. This was the face you were supposed to trust, the symbol that brought sanity to chaos the uniform that kept you safe while you slept. The narrative was twisted and perverted to make you believe your trust had been misplaced. You began to wonder, became suspicious and then felt foolish.
Beatings, listening devices, stingrays, license plate readers, military vehicles and targeted shootings…..that’s what you were told. How could you have been so naïve to put your trust into something so terrifying. One misstep, one red light camera, one slip of the text and you could be the next victim shot down with your hands in the air, never a chance to explain your side, another pile of candles and stuffed animals to mark the spot where you were erased by those who you were supposed to trust.
It happened quick, it was easy, it was a distraction from the reality of the ghetto in your neighborhood where faceless boys slaughter one another, blameless and with no accountability. Someone needs to be responsible, someone needs to be held accountable. Guns are the problem, cops are the problem, prison is the problem, punishment for drugs is the problem and mental health issues are the problem….nobody is accountable, someone must be made responsible.
So they were. The very people who sign up to protect us from the real boogeyman have been molded into the boogeyman. The unaccountable, the racists and the faceless cowards have pulled the thread that bound the fabric of “US” and unraveled a large section. Its not a new tactic, it is a timeless effective way to control the masses. Fear and prejudice are a powerful combination they are self sustaining, the perfect fuel to keep the fires burning to keep us from seeing we are more similar than we are different.
Keep the focus on the details, never looking at the bigger picture, that’s the way you sustain it. Pretend you are in this for the noblest of reasons. You simply want to help; to help the down trodden the poor suffering people, just not in your neighborhood. Keep the focus on the diversity and not the commonality, what better way is there to sow mistrust.
None of the preceding talks directly of the article which inspired this rant. The article was just another straw on the pile. Police officers “Moon-lighting” as security, “why were they there at all?”. The medical staff would have simply use “soft” restraints to secure the subject. “they had no idea guns could be used against patients”. “I’m Manic, its not my fault” I don’t remember anything I did but I remember everything everyone else did.
We have a mental health epidemic in our country there is no denying that fact. However, at what point does it turn around? At what point do we excuse every single action? Drugs create similar manic episodes. Any cop will tell you what bad dope does to someone on the edge. Its not pretty and it can be frightening. Its not about the color, its not about the race, it is about the actions.
The world needs to stop blame-shifting. I don’t know how the hopes, fears and concerns of the welfare recipient in the ghetto anymore than they know mine. I know the basic human need to survive and be loved. I know that given the opportunity we all want to accomplish something. When the ability to provide and accomplish is taken away from us, we simply exist…..we were not made to exist. We need to accomplish we need to matter we need to something meaningful.
Don’t blame the cops when you call for help and you don’t like the way it goes. They have families too, they have just as much right to go home too. They have hopes and dreams and fears too. They will run to help you, they will do whatever it takes to save you and each other. They will go to the dark places and come out to assure you its still ok. They will make mistakes, there will be missteps. Its unfortunate, but it happens. Seldom on purpose and usually without malice. Those of us who do this job do it because we answer to a drive inside to make things better for us, our friends, our families and complete strangers. Its not glory or power and any of that nonsense. It is a desire to make things better, to find order in the chaos.
This article fans the flame of distrust, it tugs at the thread a little more, and it pulls away looking for an answer and to assign blame somewhere other than the person responsible.
I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone else, it certainly is not where I thought I was going with this post, but sometimes the words have a mind of their own.
Be safe all my brothers and sisters in blue. Let the rest of us please focus on our sameness and not our diversity. We can repair the damage and be whole again.