It is sad to see life come to an end, regardless of the circumstances. Life is precious. We who are here in this life value the breaths we are taking. Our hearts break a bit when someone dies, when it is someone close to us we feel like there is no possibility for future happiness.
What has taken place here in St Louis over the past couple of weeks is indeed sad. However, the focus is off of what seems to me to be healthy and helpful. The sadness ought to include the reality that law enforcement is necessary and that it is now in a position of negativity and blame from public outrage in a case where there has not been a trial but one involved party is assumed to be cruel and guilty regardless.
There was a peace festival in Forest Park over the weekend. However, it was not as much about peace as it was about making a racial statement as the result of a death that occurred between a police officer and a citizen. Outrage ensued. Yes, death is sad, no argument there. But why are we not as outraged when there is a domestic violence death, a drive-by shooting, and gang activity deaths that are awful and deserve the attention of every person who has turned out to protest, attend the peace festival, be present at the funeral of Michael Brown, and watch the news from the quiet of their home the past couple weeks?
As an American citizen, my sadness is for my country and the division that is so apparent among us as citizens here. We have a world exploding, literally, and yet we are fighting here about race. My plea is consistent that we take the focus off of race and place it onto behavior. We do not yet know what the behaviors were between Michael Brown and officer Darren Wilson. Why are we turning this into a crime about police brutality? What are the consequences if the police are so afraid of the public outrage that they stop doing what they are trained to do? How lawless will our society become at that point?
Make no mistake here. I grieve for the parents who lost their son. However, I also grieve for the officer who is now in hiding because of publicity and presumptions of guilt not founded in our judicial system. I grieve for him, his wife, children, and parents. Did he enter into law enforcement to be brutal and cruel? Our training of officers screens for that factor so that we don’t release maniacs onto the streets. During these protests, I have seen the police taunted, attacked, disrespected. I’ve heard the pleas for respect coming from the crowds but this is not how it happens.
There needs to be a coming together of people, all colors, all decent, all willing to talk calmly, all willing to listen, all willing to own that prejudice exists on many levels for each of us–we are humans, not angels. We need to be open minded and genuinely compassionate with one another. Imagine if we could do that, make that happen minus drama and theatrics. We might engage one another and hear and learn some things that would lead us to unite respectfully and productively. Imagine if everyone showed up with the intention of a collective wellness and management of societal stress. Imagine if everyone showed up with positive intention and a genuine desire to love our neighbor as we love our own self. Imagine if we had to unite as Americans because we believed we had to in order to preserve our country. That would be beautiful–how many people would show up for that?