Yes, that is a fair point some individuals just like to stir the pot & cause controversy & mayhem simply because their life has not turned out as well as they wish it had. Like it's somebody's else's fault that they don't make enough money or have a pretty girlfriend or any girlfriend for that matter.
Look, I'm not trying to minimize any fatality white, black, male, or female & I know that being a police officer is not an easy job. I get that. I just wanna get to an atmosphere of mutual respect for human decency & dignity. The strange thing is this: The black community knows that not all cops are bad. They just want to return home safely every night & not feel singled out simply because they are driving a fancy car in an affluent neighborhood. Not all black citizens are violent criminals up to no good who couldn't possibly afford the wheels they are driving without doing something illegal. Or just because your vehicle may be run down & not new; it doesn't mean that the driver or their passengers are second class citizens to be harassed for no good reason.
I also get the police side too to some extent. Any routine traffic stop from running a stop sign to a broken tail light can turn dangerous in an instant if the driver feels threatened or uneasy given recent casualties around the country right now. I just wish more cops would be willing to talk to their supervisors about police officers too aggressive & guys who need to find another line of work since they either abuse their authority or they display anger too frequently to specific segments of society. Silence is a form of acceptance & good cops have to be willing to speak out & weed out bad cops. I don't view it as taddle telling...More like making sure that the right personalities respect the shield & protect the community on the street. I've heard the counter argument to this: If a cop doesn't turn a blind eye to bad behavior, then when you're in trouble no backup will show up to save your caboose. I'm not talking about minor infractions here. I'm referring to repeated cases of excessive force against suspects & using your gun & badge as an intimidation tool to make civilians fear you.
Community policing on foot goes a long way to the community viewing cops as a vital cog in the town or city along with attending local parades, picnics, games, & other social events. People need to see you as just a regular guy or girl not out to bust you, but a conduit to a safer & friendly community. Town hall meeting forums are good too as a way to clear the air & get to know the community whereby no one is looking to pigeonhole people into corners but figure out ways in which no segment of society feels unfairly categorized as a criminal from jump street & to not have 2 separate codes of justice purely based on a person's zip code, attire, appearance, or skin color.
It also bothers me how some police departments have access to military grade weaponry beyond basic SWAT units across this country. It's difficult to foster an air of trust among the locals when armed vehicles are being deployed & officers come out in full riot gear to get a handle on protests. I wanna be clear here. I do not want either civilians or cops hurt or killed in any way. But, when you see a cop holding a night stick with full gear on, it's not easy to approach that & feel safe & secure as a local person now is it?
I am getting ready to get off work so I will have to respond to your Post tomorrow in more detail but all great points. Racism will probably never go away unfortunately as there are just people in this world that are ignorant and violent. I am not sure how anyone can solve some of the violence talking place. It just seems to get worse and worse with groups of people getting shot in night clubs, theaters, etc. for no reason. White cops aren't doing themselves any favors either by shooting unarmed black men during traffic stops. It just makes matters much worse.
Thank you CBE for your response to my blog entry. I know how busy peoples daily lives are so I am grateful for feedback & different points of view on this subject matter.
Max Kellerman on ESPN 'First Take' has made the intriguing argument that in America anyway the Natl. Anthem standing up during it is a mandatory gesture of compliance as opposed to a voluntary one where dissent is frowned upon & even called out publicly if you refuse to stand up while the Star Spangled Banner is being sung vocally or played through a variety of instruments.
If an act is required with backlash coming if you exercise defiance, where is independence & liberty being displayed individually without fear of retaliation exactly? Didn't George Washington defy King George III & call for a revolution against Great Britain's colonization & lack of religious & economic freedom which lead to the formation of the United States in 1776?
Still other American scholars have made the argument that the red in our nation's union jack represents the blood of the many black men & women who paid the ultimate sacrifice through war & forced bondage to play a crucial role in the United States autonomy away from the cash crop economies of cotton & tobacco via indentured servitude that survived slavery, Jim Crow laws, & city & natl. prohibitions against unfair restrictions on unlawful voting practices, unlawful access to an equal education; unlawful employment restrictions, unlawful housing practices; & unlawful guidelines about separate lunch counters; restrooms; water fountains & basic dignity rights about human survival minus lynchings & other forms of physical & psychological torture.
Relax, I'm not here to lecture anybody about our country's past missteps or injustices CBE. I am only pointing out what others have said about America's right to peaceful protest earned tragically through rebellion, wars, death, & social unrest just to allow some US citizens the right to not stand during the Natl. Anthem. I like you dislike this act of defiance immensely, but that decision to not stand or kneel during the Star Spangled Banner is a choice they are entitled to exercise no matter how much others might firmly be diametrically opposed to this notion outright.
I've said this before & I'll say it again: To me, the flag & honoring it through the Natl. Anthem represents the land of opportunity where immigrants with nothing can come here & make something of themselves despite language barriers, cultural barriers, geographic barriers, & gender barriers. Yes, I know. The flag also means paying tribute to the fallen [military men & women & those who made positive strides forward as leaders of social change in this country as well].
Colin Kaepernick wants to use his quarterback clout as a conduit to convey his frustrations over so many black brothers & sisters dying over minor traffic stops when more police stations across this country need to focus their attention on how to de-escaltate volatile situations more calmly & peacefully with no fatalities at all. And when a police officer oversteps their bounds of authority...There is a heavy price to pay meaning hard time behind bars in a federal prison.
I also know we need to find a way to peel back the onion of racial bias & prejudice among different communities too. We need to start a dialogue between the black, white, & Latino communities where a safe comfort zone is established. By that I mean, create an atmosphere where all sides can ask each other anything not as a mechanism to upset or blame each other but rather to listen to everyone's hopes, dreams, & aspirations while unpacking misconceived prejudices about another community that are not accurate or truthful at all in the interest of real growth & awareness. It may sound like a far fetched pipe dream on the surface, but it can be achieved as long as different groups from different backgrounds really listen to one another & they don't get obsessed with protecting their own point of view exclusively at all costs. Yes, I know. The first thing any group needs is to know that they are safe, protected, & no bodily harm will come to them when interacting with powerful authority figures in society or expressing a POV that may be deemed unflattering or unpopular in contemporary circles. I understand completely. Trust me.
I have my first college roommate named Al who happens to be an America Indian that converse with somewhat frequently on provocative issues. I just enjoy our conversations because we respect the other person's backgrounds & life experiences & we can ask each other anything because for us it's not about a gotcha moment or look how smart I am stance. We wanna get deep below the surface & kick every rock/road block over. To quote HOF INDY head coach Tony Dungy, "are you part of the problem or part of the solution?"
Thanks again CBE for jotting down your thoughts. I respect you as a writer & thinker a great deal.
Here's my short take on Colin and what is going on: I have no problem with people protesting about something they believe in or serious matters like racism, that is everyone's right to do so. Where I have the problem is dissing the American flag. It doesn't accomplish anything and it really gets many people to dislike you and question why you are doing that. To me it's dissing the Military and the USA when you don't acknowledge the flag. All you are doing is drawing negative attention to yourself when doing so. Had Colin just went on TV or got with some politicians on TV and discussed his issues on different talk shows to get his message out and how we should go about improving the neighborhoods I would be behind him 100%. I just don't get kneeling for a flag that represents your country. Some people say it's just a song but it represents our country, where we live. If someone is that upset with the USA they can always move to a different country if things aren't getting any better for them. This country has a lot of issues but it is still gives most people a lot of leeway to say and do what they want. Colin Kaepernick isn't African American either, His mother is white, he is mixed.