Troubled Waters: On July 8, 2016, during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dallas Texas, the world paused again on what has become too normal in the American experience, the attack on police. This incident left five officers dead, and eleven injured by a lone disturbed army veteran in retaliation to the death of two black men by police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana.
If one were to ask, what can the police do, immediately few would push back; what should these communities do?
These questions in my opinion are a call for a frank conversation and collaboration to discuss these issues.
Although we do not have control over everyone’s action, we do have control over our own behaviour. A majority of us who work in public safety for the good of people in general do not engage in serpentine venom on race, class, religion, wealth, disparity and other divisive issues.
Simply put, several communities have been disturbed by an increased shooting of black men during law enforcement encounters.
These communities have to move forward to create cohesion despite different views to discuss easy access to weapons, radical ideology, mental health, culture, intolerance, poverty, as some argued that led to this tipping point.
More importantly, transforming policing into the 21st century in an ever-changing and more diverse world that is interconnected and to cut barbaric ideology that targets officers from frustration.
The hidden tides: Sadly, the rationalization current of policing, crime, culture, race, and political discourse on all sides only build on this social toxicity wave.
The reflective history woven in fear and suspicion of others’ differences has bred distrust that diminishes upward mobility for many.
Even when intentions are good, whether a doctor; a trash collector, an advocate or other public servants who share information for the safety of many changing communities, through holding an offender accountable, victims support, or other vocational development, after one exits the gated building, often some are seen as a sub-group of the problems.
Nevertheless, one has to continue serving for the greater good of the community, stay positive even to prevent more victims, and make sure that the overall community remains safe.
We have to listen more and talk less to learn something:
These concerns even stretch to the Caribbean and beyond, such countries as The Bahamas who openly warned visitors that they should be careful when visiting the US, citing racial tension. Quietly, this nation is not alone, but made it official. However, it is very rare for a visitor to be killed by an officer in the U.S.
As a visitor, one is less likely to be pulled over and if that occurs, one would more than likely receive direction and not handcuffs. Despite the African heritage, some view themselves different from the American experience. These visitors have an advance guide from friends and relatives of dos and don’ts while visiting.
Finding an anchor: There are many Dallas, Louisiana, and Minnesota incidents happening in the region, but seldom get the media attention. The role of law enforcement struggles along these blue waters are normally due to different culture, classism, and that is just as dangerous.
Today several families still mourn unsolved crimes against police officers and civilians, and they are of the same African Voyage:
This is not to convince or change opinions about safety or where to visit, or analyze other political or law enforcement systems and concerns but an urge for more solidarity while addressing the internal damage in the vesicle.
The heartfelt compassion on all sides is healthy and what appears as abandoning today’s police, visitors’ safety to the US and other places relies on the presence of an officer on the road, at the mall, restaurant, and even a coffee shop.
The ongoing geopolitical turmoil occupying the headlines daily of new barbaric actions against humanity as if these terrorists are competing about who can inflect the most pain, leaders must cut isolation that only creates a future wish to destroy.
Violence is ubiquitous: While I writing this opinion within two hours as reported, I tuned into my local news, (1) another woman became a victim by her husband, beaten to death, (2) another shot, and (3) police officers searching for two shooters and this is with 25 miles’ radius.
From my simple view, many lives are saved every day by the actions of officers, and community in general. Despite few bad apples, majority goes to work because all lives matter: And there are plenty other marches that could be done within communities throughout the US, the Caribbean, on other issues, such as corruption, drugs, violence against women, sexual exploitation, etc.
Balancing the shifting tide: As many scholars have noted, the concept of policing has gone through several eras since the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829 in Britain, and even dated back to King Edward VII’s approval to the design of clothing to differentiate themselves.
Today it is more complicated balancing perception, reality, and even a struggle to break old habits, culture, and belief that requires tremendous communication and collaboration skills with all stakeholders.
Even since August Vollemer’s leadership in 1909 as Berkeley’s first chief faced obstacles seeking college-educated applicants and the ongoing struggles selecting sometimes the right officers for the job.
Police leadership has to work like a chief executive officer of a Fortune 500 company with constant updates to the community as its shareholders.
It is much easier to stoke fear than call on each other to come together: What is missing, regardless of place, people’s culture, or economic status, all have to live together.
A few bad apples should not be the reason to target others as the sacrificial lamb.
Such as any other social issues, from alcoholism, domestic violence, stress or suicide, society has to step back, and see how one change can course.
The steady captain: Democracy needs peace and prosperity, and must find ways to create a new generation of police officers, and cut the idea that a young black man has to be given a separate life lesson on how to deal with an officer, or an officer wonders if he or she will make it home after each shift.
The complex relation between the minority community and the difficult policing task has taken on a new front and, sadly, it seems like they must now go through some form of restorative justice such as an offender, or working with victims in some form of mediation.
Regardless of the arguments surrounding policing, politics, resources, strategy, race, culture, and other issues as the system transitioned, they are interrelated.
As this ship sails: Today these ships have both a delicate and difficult waters ahead, but with the right compass, hopefully one day all can reach shore safety, and see everyone as simple part of this ocean, those outside looking in can welcome this ship up-close for the better good all communities because the voyage continues
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