Some thoughts about recent events

Some thoughts about recent events

All over social media I see posts about how we all should just love each other, stop hate, stop the killing, racists, bigots and on and on and on. What I don’t see is anyone actually defining what the problems are or solutions on how to fix it. “Well its racism” and “Just stop hating” aren’t defining the problem or solving the issues. They are cop outs and oversimplifications. If things were as simple as that then we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in, which to me feels like one small step away from falling off of a very high cliff. 

Black people, males predominantly seem to be getting shot left and right lately by white cops. This is a problem. Is it racism? If you define racism in the following way, “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.” than I say no. I don’t think most white cops get up in the morning saying, “Man I can’t wait to get out there today and find me some black people to arrest cuz they’re no good and I hate them.” I just don’t think it works that way. Maybe for once I’m the one who’s being overly optimistic about human beings but I don’t think so.  I think it is more out of fear of someone different than themselves and buying into the stereotypes that the media and the world around us has created. I don’t know if it should be called racism or something else but it is a fear and or bias based on something being unfamiliar. Is it right? No, it absolutely isn’t. Does it happen all the time? Yes, unfortunately it does.

One stereotype of young black males is that they’re thugs and that they must sell drugs, steal or have an illegal weapon on them. Unfortunately, most stereotypes have a some basis in truth and reality. I am in no way saying that the majority of young black males fall into this stereotype, but some do.  That in no way means that I think that they should be shot and killed. I’m just defining parts of a much larger problem. I don’t have any easy fixes for this massive problem. Smarter people than I have spent decades working on it and we’re still a long way away from solving it, if there even is a way to solve it. I think a simple way to at least help the issue a bit is to teach people not to jump to conclusions quickly and actually think for themselves instead of buying into stereotypes that you hear about. I know that even that would be a huge endeavor but its all I’ve got at the moment.

Now we can move on to cops. They have their problems too. Back when I was younger it was almost unheard of that a cop would draw his gun. Most would go through their whole career never having drawn their weapon. I don’t know what changed or if anything HAS changed and it just seems to happen more often because of media coverage, but if I had to guess I would say it had something to do a couple factors. First I think having an all inclusive hiring policy is a horrible idea, some people are just not meant to be cops and if you cant meet the mental and physical demands of your job than you shouldn’t have it. I don’t know if the standards have changed or not but it seems to me that cops are a lot more jumpy than they used to be. They should be deescalating a situation not making it worse. The last thing a cop should be doing is grabbing for his gun. I think police patrolling in pairs, body cameras and better training in deescalating stress filled situations would help. It probably won’t fix the problem but I’m just looking for BETTER at this point not perfect.

Secondly I think the media plays its part as well. It used to be that you mostly heard news about your town or nearby areas that you lived in, where as today the world is a much smaller place. Just watch any of the 24 hour news stations for more than five minutes or check your email and you can see current events from all around the country and even the world. Communication now is easier than ever but it can also overload a persons brain very easily. Instead of just hearing about your sleepy little town or the bad parts of your massive city, we now hear about whats happening in every major city and even the small towns. It makes it seem like the world is a much smaller and more dangerous place than it actually is and that causes fear. It causes fear in the average person and I would think it would cause fear in police officers as well. Every time a traffic stop goes bad and a cop gets hurt I would put money on the fact that almost every other police department then warns their officers to be even more vigilant and wary when pulling someone over or going to a call because…you never know. Those words, you never know. They’re terrifying because they’re true. We never do know. Something horrible could happen to any of us at any time. The difference between the rest of us and the police though is that they have to put themselves in a lot more situations that could go bad than the rest of us do. So to be honest I can understand a higher level of fear on their part because of everything they hear in the media. It doesn’t excuse it or make it right. I wish I had a viable answer to the problem of the media, but I don’t and even if I did the people who control the media wouldn’t want to hear it I’m sure. Fear mongering gets them ratings and makes them money so unless something huge changes that they’ll continue to do it. The only sensible thing I can suggest to combat the media would be to stop paying so much attention to it and make your own decisions. In some ways its much like a bully or an internet troll. If you ignore it long enough it’ll go away on its own.

I don’t think that most cops are bad. I don’t think most cops or even most white people are racist, at least not according to the way I have defined it above. I don’t think that most black males are thugs or criminals. I do think a lot of these problems are much more based in fear than hate. Fear of going to jail or back to jail, fear of being shot for doing your job or just a general fear of the unknown. To me the best way to fight fear is to think for yourself and to try to not let fear control you (that’s a tall order I know). Fear is a horrible thing and it can easily cripple the strongest of people. Find out about stuff, learn about stuff, don’t just take the media or social medias words about it, don’t jump to conclusions and just assume things, get out there and figure stuff out for yourself. Get to know different people, different cultures. You’d be surprised at what you may find I think. Don’t give in to the easy way out of just following along and always, always keep an open mind.

In no way am I saying that any of what I’ve just typed will fix the problems or even covers the problems completely. These are just some of my ideas on the subject because they’ve been rattling around in my head for awhile and I wanted to get them out so I could free up a little space in my brain for some other things. If you found anything I said helpful or insightful than by all means please feel free to share this to all your friends or just leave me a comment. If you found them to be off base or have anything you’d like to add also feel free to comment. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed a peek into my skull.

Back to work with me now,

Don

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