There is a movement going on that everybody has heard about and it is a movement that is rooted in the belief that in our justice system black lives are held at a lesser value than the those of whites. That movement is Black Lives Matter — or BLM.
The BLM movement stands on the side of the fence that believe police have used unnecessary excessive force to gain control of a person. BLM organizers say their movement has no intention of taking away from any other race but instead they are trying to bring to light the specific issues that black men, women and children face daily. This movement — for the most part — has organized peaceful protests around the country in response to police brutality.
There are those on the other side of the fence who believe that the police are acting as they are trained and therefore should be cleared of any wrongdoing. Police officers are regularly faced with having to make judgment calls — usually with very little time to make these decisions — and are tasked with policing a world that has grown statistically more violent over time.
Then there are those of us who walk the path in the middle.
While police brutality is certainly not new — and many would argue it does not even exist — it has increased at an alarming rate over the last few years. Most of this can be attributed to the fact that we are currently living in the “Information Age” and so acts of police brutality are quickly exposed on social media sites and spread across the globe whereas before, they were contained.
Just this past week, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, were shot to death by police officers prompting protests nationwide. In Dallas, protesters organized a peaceful rally and march, but the night ended in tragedy when gunfire tore through Dallas. Fourteen people were shot, 12 were police officers and five of those officers died.
Violence of any kind against police and civilians should never be tolerated. We are now at a point where things have spiraled completely out of control and it is unfortunate that a lot of people felt it would come to this.
Now more than ever, we need unity. As a people, we should be banding together to end injustice. Fighting violence with more violence is not the answer. It will solve no problems. Instead, we need to combat hate with love and do our best to be the very best we can be for ourselves and for our neighbors.
We need police protection, without that, it would be every man for himself. Police have a job that requires them to be on alert every single minute they are on duty. The job they preform is not easy, and there are a few bad apples that seem intent on spoiling the bunch, but that in no way means that every police officer is bad.
Jon Stewart said it best when he said, “You can truly grieve for every officer who has been lost in the line of duty in this country and still be troubled by cases of police overreach. Those two ideas are not mutually exclusive. You can have great regard for law enforcement and still want them to be held to higher standards.”
We can hold police accountable for their actions, but at the same time, we need to be holding ourselves accountable for our actions too. People and police can live in peace, but it will never happen like this.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.