Posted by: frkris | May 2, 2015

Common Denominators

Crime happens every day and every night. Prisoners are hauled into police stations and episodes of COPS are being filmed as we sit here. There is a world of trouble out there and law enforcement officers are continuing to do their jobs and arrest law breakers. And then we have one case which has sucked all of the air out of society creating a sense that nothing else matters and that nothing else is going on. The world is supposed to stop while a city burns. Another high profile case of the death of someone with suggestions of racism and police brutality…etc. This case has a similar ring to the ones that stole the spotlight in past months. We have an individual with a history of not making great life decisions and occasional brushes with the law, making a decision to fail to yield to police which leads to his arrest. He ran from police and others ran and even fought with police. Now we have a prosecutor who having only had the case for a day charges six officers with major crimes. The celebratory air of her political delivery had a pang of “paying the ransom to the mob” quality to it. Failure to put his seat buckle on? Clearly there are questions to be answered about what happened on the ride to the station, but to suggest that these men set about to kill Mr Gray is just nonsense. To suggest it was racially motivated……crazy…..look at the racial makeup of the six charged.

There seems to be a rising culture at the moment which condones defiance. There seems to be a confusion with the nonviolent civil rights protests of old and the stealing of Doritos and cheap alcohol. We seem to revile a police force who get busy arresting those who sell illegal drugs and commit crimes knowing that they are hated for the carrying out of the daily job. I am glad they are there. It is a shame that they are compromised in doing their job.

Imagine if a person charged with arresting another for breaking the law lives in fear of wrongful accusation. Every doctor who treats a patient is aware of a potential for malpractice and there are plenty of lawyers ready to file the suit. The same is true for police who face, with every encounter on the street, a chance to be sued for any number of charges including a violation of someone’s civil rights. Having said that, have you ever seen anyone punch themselves or mark themselves in an effort to try and implicate someone for wrongdoing. It is a terrible thing to see but someone who shows up at a police station with cuts and bruises can cause a lot of trouble.

So what does this present case in Baltimore have in common with the other cases which have made such a splash? The encounter was with a youngish African American male. Each of these boys had some history of involvement with law enforcement. Each of these boys was instructed to stop. Each of these boys failed to comply with the direct order of the police. Each of these boys ended up dead. It is tragic to be sure. The losses for these families and the burden carried by the officers involved in each case are hard to imagine. But why then do we allow grief to create blindness. Why do we allow our anger to render us irrational. Why do we cloud our idea of justice into a shape which is the very epitome of injustice…..to calm an angry mob.

I am a bit fed up. There is something rotten about a situation where stealing and burning becomes an okay thing. I feel for the business owners who lost their businesses. I feel for a neighborhood which will struggle to convince anyone like CVS to return to do business there. I am angered at the thought of insurance premiums risiing due to the higher risk categories created by this violence. There are costs, and people are tired of paying the stupid tax…..what do I mean? You want to run from the police….then there is a cost. You want to burn down a business….then there is a cost…….You throw a brick at a policeman…..then there is a cost…….you sell drugs in school…..then there is a cost……as an old teacher of mine once said, “if you dance, eventually you have to tip the fiddler”. Well folks, the day is coming I believe when folks are going to have to pay. And the day is here when hard working people are going to say we are not paying any more.

We the people…….in order to form a more perfect union………..that is us. Put your hand down and pick up a hammer. Inspire don’t require…..don’t sit there thinking someone owes you because they just don’t. Go and spend some time with some teens and show them how to be a better person with love in your heart. Thank the men in women wearing a badge today for continuing to do their job. Go find a mother and father who have lost a child and hug them.

I will climb down off my soapbox now to pray for PEACE……real peace which is base in a complete telling of the truth and the hope of a society which will look deeply into the present breach and find a new hope….a hope that fosters a world of less reactionary people who assume the best rather than the worst, but who refuse to put on blinders which would leave a neighbor exposed to harm.

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