For me, the meaning of life is life. I place such a high value on living that all of it (the good, the bad and the ugly) is a privilege. I would do just about anything to stay alive.
As a young woman, my immense respect for life extended to the unborn, as was demonstrated when I became unintentionally pregnant at the age of twenty-four. My parents put enormous pressure on me to have an abortion but I refused and my daughter Jemesii was born nine months later.
I abhor capital punishment and am a fervent pacifist; believing that neither war nor violence is ever justifiable. However, even given my strong beliefs if I needed to kill another person in order to protect someone I love, I wouldn’t hesitate (a personal amendment to never justifiable).
So what does this have to do with anything?
The events of the past week. Two more young black men slain by police officers and now five officers killed in supposed retaliation. Tragic all the way around.
Much hurt, lots of questions and more anger to come. However, if history is any indication, one thing is certain. The killing of the five officers is undeniably homicide–an ‘atrocity’ according to the New York Times. I don’t disagree. Had the sniper not already been killed by a police robot, he would almost certainly face capital punishment. But the police officers who shot the two black men? It is unlikely they will face any charges whatsoever.
A badge should not be a license to kill. Anyone who has watched either of the videos should be shocked and appalled; this too is an atrocity.
I don’t condone the killing of the officers in Dallas and my heart goes out to their families. Knowing that they were targeted, police officers across the country are probably feeling pretty vulnerable right now.
However, there’s the rub. That’s exactly how young black men have been feeling for, well, as long as they have been in America. Vulnerable, disrespected, disregarded and certainly not protected. Profiled. Targeted. It sucks. The situation needs to change stat and frankly, this time love is not the answer.
I agree with most of what you say. My son is s police officer in a small town in Louisiana. He has many black friends not only on the police force but also all over town. When he is called out to the “hoods”, is he more afraid and edgy?- hell yes he is. This his where 90 percent of the local crime is committed. This is where he has the greatest chance of being wounded or killed. Does this make him more likely to draw a weapon when confronted with young black males who curse, spit on him, put there hand in their pocket or shirt to get something ( quite possibly a gun).
As for the Baton Rouge shooting – this so called wonderful man who was killed was a convicted felon with a very long rap sheet. He had a gun -which in his case was illegal because of being a convicted felon. The police did not randomly show up there. They were called because the gun wielding “wonderful person” who was also selling pirated CDs was using the gun to force customers off the premises.
Of course there are bad apples serving as police officers just as in any profession. But let me tell you there are a lot of bad apples in the hoods and most of them happen to be black.
The answer – I don’t pretend to know. I do know that this ambush killing five police officers has set back race relations a long way. It seems that as soon as a black person is killed by law officers – the media, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson etc. jump right in to portray the “victim” as a saint and the police officers as murderers, skewing the events to incite violence and hatred. I know some of the killings are not justifiable – but, my God, get the facts first and that may take some time.
Just had to vent😡😡😡
Mary, with a son who is a police officer you must be feeling very protective. I have my own very personal reasons for feeling the way I do. I knew that by voicing my viewpoint on this matter I might offend and or incite powerful emotions in others. But as this is my blog and my forum I decided that given how strongly I feel about this matter, I would take that chance. No, all the facts aren’t in yet. But the videos speak for themselves. Police officers need to be held accountable for their actions just like any other citizen. I wish your son the very best.
So many tragedies continue to occur and I appreciate your voice on this, Linnea, including how you feel about the value of life. I am intrigued by your last line. I’m not assuming you have the ultimate answer, but I would be interested in hearing more of your perspective about why love is not. It is trite to think that love is THE answer, but it feels like compassion for others would go a long way to resolving some of these atrocities. More curious than anything as I always learn from you!!
Robin, I do believe in the power of love but I think in this case, it is far too tepid a response and actually inappropriate. It is time to get angry—to truly confront and address this ongoing injustice. I am not suggesting that hate is the answer but sometimes love is not enough.
I am without words in the face of your brave telling of the truth that many won’t heart…
Thank you for this post. It is truth.
And, it might absolve you of all the other posts where you remind us that you never smoked.