The Facts Ma’am. Just the facts.
This is what Sgt. Joe Friday told every distraught witness he interviewed on the TV show “Dragnet.” It was a cop show while I was growing up. Friday reminded me a little of my dad, serious, to the point, never dilly-dallying around. A good trait in the late 50s and early 60s. It was inherently clear who the good guys were and who the bad guys were. No chance of mixing them up.
In the late 60s up until now, the lines are so blurred. Many cops have done bad things. Very bad things. Kent State. Selma, Alabama. Omaha, Nebraska. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Do you know who hates bad cops the most? Good cops. I know they exist. My uncle was one. He was the Sarge to Larry Minard, who was killed in 1970 by a booby trap bomb in a suitcase. Jimmy Wilson, Jr. was one. Jason Tye Pratt was one. Kerrie Orozco was one. My uncle retired in the 1980s. With every news story of wrongdoing by cops or by perps, he commented how glad he was no longer on the job. That people had changed too much. Cops and citizens.
One of our sons is in Federal Law Enforcement. I know most of the cops are good cops. Unfortunately, the few bad ones and the reactions that follow are what sickens all of us. Us, the good, help out a neighbor folks who aren’t racist. Or hateful. Or vengeful. We are the ones who make masks for the first line responders. We are the ones who buy lunch for an entire shift of nurses. We are the ones who SHOP at Target, not loot it because we can. Mob mentality is terribly dangerous in the wake of this good man being killed by a police officer.
To the people protesting, I say yes, please protest. Keep it legal. Keep it civil. You have to live in the neighborhood someone has burned it down. What does activity like that promote except violence. What good does it do to destroy stores your neighborhood may never have open again? Yes, it sends a message, but what message do you want to send? More violence and destruction of property just makes everything worse.
George Floyd was a good man. He did not deserve to die, especially not in the way he did. What in the world was wrong with the cop who knelt on his neck, compromising his airway? How did he think that was a good idea or even necessary? Why did the others stand by and do nothing? Was he their superior? Why in the world didn’t someone intervene? We wouldn’t be discussing this again if they had? Or called a medic to assist?
I am sickened by what we have seen this week. Were tempers flaring because of the quarantine? My heart breaks for the Floyd family, and for the family of the firefighter who put his life savings into the bar that was torched by a mob before it could even open on June 1, 2020. I am sickened at what human beings can and do to each other. Repeatedly. My heart is heavy and sad.
I do believe we need to be civil to one another. Cop or not. I believe no one is above the law. Cop or not. I believe this has made it harder for the good cops out there with their lives on the line every shift. They must learn to trust the black people who are not breaking the law. Who are not resisting. Who are within their God-given rights. How can they do that? Their guard must stay up when talking to anyone they stop. Black or not. White or not. Hispanic or not.
Is it a question of training? I have no idea, I am not a Police Chief or advisor. Order needs to be returned. We need to be mindful of many, many things. Start at the neighborhood level. Don’t tolerate or join anti-black conversations, or anti-cop conversations. Get to know your neighborhood police officers. They are where you should be able to go for help. You should be able to trust them. Trust needs to come from both sides. Communication needs to come from both sides. Respect needs to come from both sides. Talking smack is part of hateful behavior. Just stop it. NOW.
I believe it was part of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream to end this kind of event in America. End the hatred, indifference, bias, and destruction of life and property that starts with a bad act. A bad act by a cop, no less. I am embarrassed for America. How can we pretend to know what’s best for the world when we behave so badly ourselves?
God help us. God help us all.