If you have been on social media for any time in the last few days you've probably seen a video regarding a man being killed while in police custody.
If you haven't watched the video I would encourage you to do so, even though it will be very difficult for many to get through because of the brutality of what has happened.
I have tried to avoid politics on this website as much as possible. In fact, by and large, I try to avoid politics on social media altogether. I want to talk about the things that Unitas, the things that make us human in our collective human experience.
But this issue isn't about politics, it is about the human experience. A man was killed while in handcuffs. He was being arrested for trying to use some sort of forgery at a local store. My guess is that he was trying to use a check that wasn't his. No one should die because they were trying to use a forged check.
In the video, one of the officers says that they tried to put him in the car and he resisted. No one should die because they were trying to resist getting put into a police car. They should go to jail and spend whatever the appropriate amount of time is for such an offense.
It has been, in my opinion, rightly pointed out that we can't say for certain that this injustice was perpetrated because of racism. That is to say, these cops might've killed a white man who is resisted doing what they wanted him to do.
To be clear, it is my opinion that it probably was racially motivated. But as of this writing, that is just my opinion.
No matter where you stand on the racial motivation of this issue, we should all agree that this is a miscarriage of justice. Which brings me to the point of today's post, how do we respond in the face of injustice?
We can all agree that injustice is a regular occurrence in our society. Sadly, someone dying in handcuffs is not a new event. There are many outstanding police officers in our world. And I think it's safe to say after watching that video that these four gentlemen are not in those ranks, even if they once were.
What scares me about this issue is the people who seem to want to justify the police officer's behaviors simply because they are police officers.
I'm concerned at a deeper level that we seem to be unable to have difficult conversations about the bad things in our society. Racism still exists.
Sadly, both politicians and media on both sides of the aisle use racism to try to stock their fan base.
I was going to talk today about a comment that I read on Facebook. Someone was lamenting what Facebook does to their inner being in a friend commented that "Facebook is toxic." My original intent for this post was to discuss the reality that Facebook is not toxic; we are toxic.
We are a fragile, broken society. Because our world consists of fragile and broken people. So, at some level, I get it.
But we have to do better. I think part of the problem is we have a lot of fear to drive the narrative, and people who rightly support the blue are afraid if we call these cops out for their horrendous actions are afraid that all officers will get called out for doing their job. But this highlights a cognitive distortion known as all or nothing thinking. Vigilence in countering this distortion is needed.
We have to be able to hold two truths in our minds at once. In this issue, we have to be able to keep the fact that police officers are generally good people trying to serve their communities. In many ways, they are the best of us. And at the same time, we have to accept the reality that there are bad police officers out there. And that when they do things like kill a man, they deserve to go to jail as anyone else would.
We have to engage in uncomfortable conversations. And I think we can do more.
I think we can intentionally engage difficult conversations about what is happening in our society, whatever the issue. I have too many friends who are people of color that can share too many stories about how they have been discriminated against. Every day, we can choose to ignore the injustices, or we can choose to wade into them. We can choose to ignore those living in poverty, or we can choose to do what we can to help them. I have another post for that conversation on another day. Find people you know and ask them about their experiences of racism. Ask them about their experiences of injustice.
I am tired of hearing about how the media is just trying to race-bait us. I am tired of hearing how they are trying to divide us, so we shouldn't talk about racism and injustice. That's beyond silly. I know many men that are terrible husbands and abusive fathers, and yet, I'm not going to start advocating that people stop being a husband and a father.
I'm going to advocate that they father and husband well.
And that's what I'm trying to advocate here. We need to have good conversations about injustice and inequity. Refusing to engage the conversation is allowing the conversation to be dictated in a way that isn't helping anyone. I don't think that means you have to talk about it on Facebook, but if you're not known for talking about it at all, I think you might want to take a look in the mirror.
We don't always have to wait for "all of the facts" to have an opinion. What a man beats a woman senseless, we don't need to know what she did before he started beating her. It's always wrong to hit a woman.
If you think the media is trying to divide this country, then stop allowing it to do so by being silent. Stop using the media as an excuse to call that which is evil, evil.
Someone once wrote, "Woe to those who call evil, good and who call good evil." When we see injustice and defend it, we are calling evil good.
It will take courage to defend professions that are noble and simultaneously call out evil actions by those in that profession.
If you want to make a stand against injustice in our society, you'll need to do it wherever you find injustice. This might be something simple like saying something to someone who makes a racist statement. This might be something simple like calling murder what it is.
It might be more complicated. I doubt that we will ever eradicate injustice and inhumanity, and I believe that we must stand up and fight against it. We have to do more than the Facebook calls, I agree.
To fight injustice, live a life of justice. Call those around you to live a life of justice. Show mercy to those around you. Show love to those around you. Walk humbly in the world around you. Life is hard and can be difficult to navigate, but it really shouldn't be that hard to navigate what it means to be kind and to treat people-even people who have committed crimes with dignity.
Don't let fear run your life. Let courage run your life. Let kindness run your life. Let mercy run your life. Let love run your life.
In the end, Love will change the world.