Empathy. A lot of us seem to be lacking it lately.
We lack the empathy to understand why it’s a terrible thing for a black man to be brutalized on the streets by the men and women that are paid to serve the community.
We lack the empathy to understand the toll that a job where many men and women absolutely risk their lives daily takes on a person’s mind. How being told that they are in a “war for the streets” slowly, but inevitably can change them to the core.
We lack the empathy to understand that on the other side, a criminal element does promote a hard-lined aggression against community peace-keeping by those charged and those who choose.
So what’s at fault?
Our media feeds us 24 hours of aggressive outrage without context.
Nothing of substance is ever introduced to solve problems, we only ever bandage.
People have lost the ability to understand that disagreement is not an absolute – meaning just because we have different opinions, it doesn’t mean we’re enemies.
Mike, Eric, Tamir – all the others – we should be devastated.
The 46* gunfire related officer deaths nationwide this year – we should be devastated.
Yes, there is a abuse. Yes, there are bad guys. The answer isn’t drawing a line. That’s how those assholes win. That’s how those assholes slink back into the shadows and continue to rot all of us from the inside. We need to get to the root of it. Open communication between communities and precincts, better training for officers, better recruiting tactics, more cooperation from the unions that seem hellbent on keeping the status quo in favor of continued collection of their dues.
We need to hit the bad guys where it hurts. Their money. Sue like hell. Stop buying from sponsors of ALL illicit activity, corporate and street level. Concerted effort – effort being the key word. It’s so damn easy to “like” and retweet.
But again, it starts with empathy. With the ability to take a fucking minute and put yourself in someone else’s shoes. To stop thinking about only you.
If we can do that just a moment, I think we’d be pretty fucking amazed at what we can accomplish once we get beyond the “I got mine, fuck you” mentality so many cling to.
*(Edited, the filter for “year” I chose on Officer Down didn’t provide me JUST 2014 stats. Thanks to Chad Eagleton for a link to a better source: http://www.nleomf.org/facts/officer-fatalities-data/)