Not Mutually Exclusive

In this world of “Us vs Them” so many think that you have to be on their side or the wrong side. I just don’t see it that way. I kind of sit in the middle of the things as shown in the graphic above. I realize that if you are not white or if you are poor or any of a number of other things you are treated quite differently than others when it comes to matters involving a police officer specifically and justice generally. The brutality that is totally inappropriate to the incident is very disturbing. It seems to be happening daily now. To me, that is an indication that police academy training and entrants needs to be much more thorough in weeding out the rouges. I’m sure that a big majority of police officers are good people trying to do a difficult job. The three issues above are not mutually exclusive.

I know that there are always some who are on the extreme edges of any topic. They look at the issue they support and don’t consider anything else. Black Lives Matter and that is it. The police are just murdering racists who love brutality. The fringes see only their topic. I, and I expect most of you who are reading this post aren’t like that. Instead of fixating on one thing we look for how to solve the problem in a pragmatic way. We look at the forest and not just individual trees. We don’t want to disband all law enforcement agencies as that would be insane. But we do recognize the those agencies can be improved. Our country trains its officers for duty for less than one-third of the time of their European equivalents. We should learn something from them. One solution is to do a better job of training. Another realization is that there are simply too many of the wrong type of people in that line of work. The cause of that would likely be eliminated by the better weeding out those in the training process.

Yes, black lives matter, but we must also recognize that all lives matter. This inequality is not limited to just one group of citizens. It spans across a much wider berth. It is also not limited to our police force but seems to be prevalent in all our judicial institutions. There are many solutions out there that can bring a better level of equality for all of us. We just need to quit looking that things with blinders on.

The sooner we realize that “Us vs Them” is not a fix for anything. If we treat everyone who disagrees with anything thing we believe as the enemy then we end up with almost no friends and a HUGE number of enemies. Of course, that leads us to where too many are today and that is in a fortress mentality that it is a big bad world that we need to fear. That path leads to nothing but a Mad-Max type world.

55 Days

2 comments

  1. I agree with almost all of what you have said. But I would like to add a couple of small points. First, I think we white folks need to be careful with the concept of “All Lives Matter”. I don’t doubt the sincerity or truth of the sentiment, but “all lives” can have the effect of distracting from the issue of systemic racism, which is deserving of our full attention, particularly now. Second, while I agree with the need to do a better job of selecting and training our police officers, I think we also need to take a broader, more comprehensive look at how we do policing in our communities. IMO, our policing too often becomes confrontational and escalates into violence (frequently with the police doing the escalating). I believe standard police practices should more frequently lead to alternate means of intercession that diffuse and de-escalate, rather than devolving into wrestling matches and/or the use of weapons like tasers and firearms. But, I fear that getting to this point would require a significant change in philosophy/approach.

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    • Thanks for the thoughts Mark. Yes, we are very much aligned. I agree that BLM should be the primary focus right now as that is the most abused group. But eventually, it must then meld with the idea that all lives matter.

      Some are saying tht defunding the police means to restrict their activity to law and order and turn over the domestic and other cases to someone more qualified to find a solution.
      Right now the typical police academy training is between 13 and 19 weeks compared to Europe which is 52 weeks and 6 months probation. A huge difference!

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