Is it race, or something more???

ferguson-riots

The issue of tension between police and minorities in this country is a double edge sword to be sure, with roots on both sides of the argument. But first the facts, as supported by all available evidence.

On July 17, 2014 – 43 year-old father of six Eric Garner, resisted attempts by several NYPD police officers to take him into custody for “selling loose cigarettes”, and apparently died as a result of positional asphyxiation and “neck compression” caused by a choke hold applied by one of the officers during the arrest.

On August 9, 2014 – 18 year-old Michael Brown refused a police officer’s directive to move from the roadway to the sidewalk and subsequently attacked that officer in his vehicle as a result of an argument which ensued. He then refused additional directives to comply as the officer attempted to arrest him and was charging at the officer when he was shot and killed. In both instances, the suspects were black males.

Now I’ve purposely left out all the pundit opinions and media hoopla, most of which are ratings driven and designed to illicit an emotional response. I do believe however, that we mustn’t miss this opportunity to vet an issue that dates back to the 19th century, and has “deep roots” as the POTUS has promoted in several interviews recently.

For the purposes of disclosure and the accusations of bias which are sure to fly, I’ve worked in uniform most of my career and I have an obvious appreciation for the men and women who enforce the law. However I feel this is more a product of my experience rather than my opinion. I would add that I’ve been fairly active in training and policy development over the years which I believe gives me some unique insight beyond the uninformed and/or ill-intentioned characterizations of any opportunistic/anarchist protesters. Nevertheless, it should be noted.

Firstly, and I think most importantly, when the President of The United States speaks from the “bully pulpit” of the Oval Office on the topic of “racial divisions” between police and the minority community, he does so by way of his own interpretation of history, and through the somewhat privileged eyes of a young man who went to private school, and struggled primarily with his identity/appearance as a “bi-racial” youth, rather than as someone who was caught in the throes of gang violence, lacking opportunities, and/or burdened by extreme poverty. Granted Young “Barry” experimented with many of the temptations of youth and grappled with his family identity and faith, but this is a far cry from the plight of those living on the blood stained streets of Chicago, Illinois. My point is that Mr. Obama is simply too quick to draw correlating lines between his own personal experiences and those of a particular demographic he truly has little in common with. In fact, many within the Black community don’t believe the president necessarily “feels their pain” if you will, and understands little if anything about their lives. The resentment which always comes from this type of careless pandering is harmful to any legitimate discussion or debate as well, and can actually fan the flames of real bigotry and racism. Subsequently, the causes and effects of racism will never be fully and honestly debated so long as politicians like the president attempt to manipulate voter blocs absent the whole truth. Going forward, education should always precede any legitimate debate, not matter the debater.

indexSecondly, I believe the single most detrimental cause of America’s decline has been, and continues to be, the redefinition and destruction of the nuclear family as defined by a mother, father, and their children. To be clear, from this singular collapse of what most reasonable folks understand to be the traditional family unit comes many of our societal ills. Moreover, and if we look at how this affects the African-American families in our communities for the moment, we can identify things like inner city violence and murder, drugs, excessive crime rates, and the corresponding lack of opportunity and lopsided joblessness that comes along with these things. We also see a far greater number of teen pregnancies, sexual assaults and abortions, and significantly higher rates of alcohol abuse in those same neighborhoods. Ironically this was not always true, as the early post emancipation black households were the model of law-abiding, decent, and hardworking and deeply faith based families. Is this an indictment of only black neighborhoods or families? Of course not. But if our intention is to debate the issue of violence affecting black men in our country, and whether or not that violence is rooted in “racism”, aren’t these statistics and the reasons for them vital to the argument? Moreover, should the question be the how and why, or must we finally affix a historical tag to the sins of the past and go about the business of promoting the American dream for all who seek it, no matter the color of their skin?

Is there an expiration date to the sins of slavery? I think not. But the facts of this country’s efforts, and the time frame in which those efforts paid dividends, albeit by way of much blood and treasure, is unmatched in all human history. In fact human slavery remains even today in many regions, including inside the borders of many of the nations which oppose us. And we continue to hear zero outrage from the Left on that indisputable fact? The more significant wound for America though, appears self-inflicted. It is the wholesale victimization of an entire race by Liberal progressive thinkers, who clearly see the political benefits of affixing blame to a particular ideology, while simultaneously prescribing entitlement and dependency as the cures for society’s ills. This type of political maneuvering leaves much on table without addressing the real issues, and provides those who seek only confrontation a platform to sound off on. Even worse, it is actually intended to do just that, and breeds the kind of incomplete analysis being spoon fed to America’s youth inside nearly all of our so-called “institutions of higher learning”. Is there still racism in this country? Yes. But certainly not the kind which existed at the close of the Civil War, or in the midst of the social strife of the 1960’s. In fact, and as I’ve already stated, we have surpassed the virtues of tolerance as a nation, and replaced those tenets with the chains of misplaced and divisive political correctness, and at the growing expense of our sacred national identity.

eric-garner-killingMy third and final point has to do with law enforcement, and how many of the same issues affecting families in crises in high crime areas, are also affecting our police officers, especially those of the more recent generation. The same lack of “real education” and proper historical perspective, along with the same redefinition of family and ethical behavior, have left some police officers with a diluted and often incomplete interpretation of justice. Nevertheless, there is simply no excuse for any officer of the law who swears an oath to the flag and to his community, to stray from the constraints of that oath and violate the rights of those he/she is sworn to protect and serve. Police officers should remember, the badge they wear simply means they must comport themselves at an even higher level, and meet an even higher standard than that of their fellow citizens, in order to present as an independent and impartial professional. This doesn’t mean police officers might not be required to use force to fulfill their duties and responsibilities as outlined in their job description and department protocol. But rather it means they must understand when it’s appropriate to do so, and be ever-vigilant in the application of that force so it will stand against the necessary judicial scrutiny. And while this is difficult to say the least, it is why they receive the level of training they do, and is a product of the community service they’ve signed on for. Policing is just not for everyone, and one should consider carefully a career with such weighty responsibility. Moreover, a candidate must step from a position of ethics and moral character first, as he/she will be required to make split second decisions and should never be handicapped by an inability to decipher right from wrong.

I know this is a little more than my usual rants, but I have a young boy at home, and I see difficult times ahead for him and his friends. In fact, the manner and method of our judiciousness today will be theirs to benefit from or suffer for tomorrow. This goes for both the rogue police officer who crosses the line and tramples a person’s Constitutional rights, as well as the opportunistic criminal who dons the cape of victim-hood and loots and burns his neighbor’s store in the name of false propaganda. I would also throw in the greedy political type who masquerades as a champion of the oppressed, but is more likely a charlatan whose interests are wholly self-serving. (Are you listening Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan?) I do not use the titles of “Honorable Minister” or “Reverend” with these two, as regardless of their educational background, neither are deserving of such lofty and responsible titles.

GTY_cop_funeral_jef_141226_16x9_992It’s unnerving to witness how this is all unfolding to be sure, with the recent assassinations of two NYPD police officers as they sat eating lunch in their marked police cruiser, as well as additional “police officers involved shooting” incidents in Missouri and Texas which are in the beginning stages of investigation. I can only speculate about tomorrow as our nation seems paralyzed by the truth and how that truth can and often does change things. Accordingly, I just write and pray these days, hopeful that we may turn away from entitlement and “do what feels good” mindsets, and return to the “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” so many have died to defend. I know it’s not easy, but nothing truly worthwhile in this life ever is. And whether it’s the reprehensible and irresponsible Socialist professor who chooses to re-write the “Pledge of Allegiance” and have it reflect the very one-sided partisan crap he claims to abhor, or a university president who gets it right and then back tracts in the face of the same hypocrisy, it’s not hard to see where we’re going wrong. So while I admit the events of recent are troubling, and will have consequences beyond any presidential cabinet meetings, proclamations or photo ops, I do believe we need to seek truth first, free of the poisonous elixir of politics and propaganda. This means that politicians and media types alike must reconcile their moral and ethical responsibilities to “We the People” first, and table their own personal bias as it has no place in these critical debates. Then “We the People” must acknowledge the truth of our national decline and stop making every excuse in the book for our failures and foolishness. We must learn from our mistakes but not allow them to haunt and thus hinder our progress. And we absolutely must pass on to our posterity, the indisputable pillars of our founding, those being God, country and family! This will certainly be a long road, and I’m not so naïve that I would say it’s doable on day one. However, to ignore what is happening to these United States is to deprive our kids of a future living in the greatest country on planet earth. This would be the height of irresponsibility in my eyes…

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2 Responses to Is it race, or something more???

  1. Walt Kachanis says:

    Well said Fred, Merry Christmas to you and your family along with a Happy New Year. May it be a year of peace.

Remember, "truth and reason" first...