Yesterday was a dark day in our city.
If you don’t know what I’m referring to then just skip this post altogether because I don’t have the energy or desire to recount the story.
After reflecting, reading, listening, and praying for our community there are a few points that I can’t seem to shake:
1. After the killing of Walter Scott and planting of a weapon to try and cover it up (which thankfully was caught on video and exposed) AND after the lies by witnesses regarding Michael Brown’s killing, it’s almost impossible for me to believe ANYONE’S account when it comes to police shootings and black men anymore. I just pray there’s footage of this event that surfaces to either vindicate or incriminate those involved and bring the light of truth into the pain of doubt.
Photo: NBC News
2. There are deep-seeded issues of generational and institutional racial bias that have poisoned our nation for centuries and which continue to flow like an underground river up to the present day. I believe incidents like these serve as pipeline leaks which enable this toxic flow to burst up through the surface like an oil spill damaging and destroying everything in its wake. However…I also believe we must DRAIN rather than PLUG this flow. Even if it means enduring a lot of pain and mess in the process.
3. I believe ANY position of authority–particularly those in which people are given lethal killing power–automatically entails an exponentially higher degree of scrutiny, accountability, and discipline when such power is misused. There is ABSOLUTELY a greater burden of proof on someone in authority who kills a person to demonstrate conclusively their guilt than there should be on the person killed to have demonstrated their innocence. To suggest otherwise reeks of totalitariansim and is 100% antithetical to the freedoms our soldiers and law enforcement risk their lives to uphold. It actually entails a HIGHER respect for the badge to hold those who wear it to a much higher standard.
Yes, law enforcement risk their lives daily. Yes, their families often fear for their safety. Yes there are kids who grow up without a parent because their mom or dad was killed in the line of duty protecting a community that often resents their very presence. However…that is the duty one accepts when one seeks to wear the badge, is it not? That is what you sign up for in advance. Is it fair? No. Is it easy? No. Is it honorable? Absolutely. It is, in fact, the essence of what it means to live in a free and lawful society. Thus those who condemn a football player for kneeling during the national anthem, which they feel is a dishonor to the military, law enforcement and our nation’s freedoms they serve to secure, should be the FIRST to condemn the extrajudicial killing of citizens in our free society at the hands of authorities–no matter what color their skin is–when they occur. Unfortunately, I rarely see such a level of consistency exhibited by my more patriotic friends when the citizens killed (including those killed while exercising their 2nd Amendment rights in an open-carry state) are black or brown. It is a blind spot I believe many people have, even if they don’t consider themselves racist or prejudiced against minorities. And it’s something that even some Conservatives
have been pointing out for years.
4. Social media feeds, mainstream media, blogger celebrities, and political figures will continue use large-scale generalizations to divide and pander to their respective audiences for ratings, votes, or clicks. We must focus on real life, flesh and blood relationships between actual community members in order to counteract this phenomenon. We must seek out, and lift up, examples of goodness, reconciliation, repentance, and public accountability when we see them. In other words, WE must be in our small circles what we want SOCIETY as a whole to look like, regardless of what others choose to do.
5. Love must be without hypocrisy.
Show family affection to one another with brotherly love.
Outdo one another in showing honor.
Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction;
Share with the saints in their needs;
Bless those who persecute you;
Rejoice with those who rejoice;
Be in agreement with one another.
Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble.
Do not be wise in your own estimation.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes.
If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone.
Friends, do not avenge yourselves;
instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written:
Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord.
But if your enemy is hungry, feed him.
If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head.
Do not be conquered by evil,
but conquer evil with good.
^I didn’t write this last one, obviously. It’s from someone much smarter who was on numerous occasions beaten, imprisoned, and eventually killed by government authorities despite being an innocent and unarmed minority male, in fact. And it deserves the last word in this post.
Pray for our city and for our nation, Dojo readers.