Junk Radiating from my Brain
I just heard a good joke from my friend Nigel in San Diego :
"I guess you could say that a good sales pitch is like preaching to acquire!"
But, when acquiring, how much is enough? Some preachers, like the con man tele-evangelist, or some salesmen, like the greedy real estate tycoon, want to acquire the world. From business to religion to politics....it all comes down to ethics and reasonable balance. Otherwise, get too greedy, you may be telling it to the judge in a court of law... that is say , "preaching to esquires."
Today at the pool, I met a very friendly little 4 year old east indian boy named Shawdon. His accent was a little difficult to catch but his wit was amazing, as was his energy. As his grandpa looked on, he and I played for an hour in the pool. While Shawdon reminded me of how to have fun again, I was able to teach him how to throw a nerf football and how to respect the lightening of the approaching storm. When I got home, memories of such times with my now grown boys strangely overwhelmed and saddened me. Then, my teachings from recovery lifted me from the depths:
- Gratitude - Instead of sadness of past days, I should feel joy from those beautiful memories of my boys' childhood - God's gift.
- One Day at Time - Instead of focusing on the past, I should focus on the present - the fun I had just had sharing time with Shawdon's joy and positive energy.
And as the dark thunderstorm now raged outside, I could draw light and warmth from my fun afternoon and the beautiful soul a 4 year old little boy.
Police bullying and brutality is horrifying and unacceptable...but it's not just a race thing and it's complicated [as usual].
To begin, let's face it, most slaves were freed after the Civil War and many migrated to cities ...and ghettos developed - most with no money and no rights. Despite the civil rights movement of the 1960's, many remain poor and pockets of racism remain...some blatant, most low level - yet prejudice in America exists on all sides!
WITH THAT SAID, in my lifetime, I've traversed the landscape of humanity. I've found myself in the hood in southeast DC [don't ask] to trashy trailer parks all the way to exclusive mansion communities in Florida. I've been broke ass poor, well to do,...and then back down many times. And throughout, I've observed law enforcement and seen it all.
First, PROPS TO THE COPS. Poverty sucks and poor areas are, unfortunately, very dangerous. These poor socio-economic conditions spawn desperation, desperation breeds crime, and crime leads to violence...so it's obvious that "mean streets" cause high anxiety for everyone. High crime and low income areas also tend to generate ignorance, hardness of the soul, distrust, and disrepect - more anxiety. Add to that the fact that foolish people (of all color and money class) often run and resist arrest violently to desperately avoid jail... there goes some real high anxiety. With all this anxiety and danger, the reality is that anxious cops of any color tend to over react...whether they're city, county, and state. War zone conditions force some area police into agressive and military tactics for their very survival. Some are forced to make split second decisions in the blink of an eye...and sometimes make poor decisions. What's more, I've personally known or encountered plenty of decent cops of all color and many are pleasant, kind, and smart keepers of the peace - brave people with a job to do, just looking to go home to see the family. Some cops are just awesome.
BUT THEN AGAIN, I've also seen far too many law abiding citizens of all color get harassed or hurt by mean cops or over-amped up cops of all color. And I've personally met or known plenty of such jerks as well. In fact, myself, a middle aged white, well educated professional, was thrown to the ground, beat, pepper sprayed, and laughed at by some white "Nazi" state troopers during a traffic stop a few years back and continue to be randomly harassed or followed by over zealous local cops. Hence, SOME cops, of all color, are straight up reactionary, para-military, skin head thugs and bullies on a power trip. For that matter, a university study years ago suggested that such abuse of authority is actually a human tendency. And, yep, some are racist AF or just look down on the poor. And, some cops are just plain assesl to begin with. What's more, profiling is common throughout law enforcement ...especially in downtown areas. Heck, ask any arab dude at the airport. In fact, I've seen white guys in an inner-city ethnic neighborhood get jumped by police because they're assumed as being drug buyers. Heck, I get pulled just because I drive a Buick with fat tires and tinted windows [you should see their face]. Regardless, profiling is pre-judging people...i.e. PREJUDICE, it's not cool, and the rest of us certainly want to know about it!
Maybe what's new in all this is that cell phones and body cams nationwide have exposed hidden truths, but it also has provided the mass media with ammo for their over sensationalized news programming. Big media and big money just loves to whip up hysteria for big ratings.
THE BOTTOM LINE: First, we need more respect in both directions. Second, police brutality is real and has many systemic causes. But whether its over-reaction, racism, sadism, or arrogance, it's just plain unacceptable and hurts all of us. The solution is management - better training and strict discipline of abusers. And solution is in penal system and jail system reform. And the solution is legal revisions, where by minor crimes result in minor time and "stop and frisk" is seen unconstituional. And, the solution is the end of lifetime persecution for felony sentences that are satified. We, the citizens, need to insist on it NOW...but by peaceful means, because that's how social change best happens. Rome wasn't unbuilt in a day. Too rapid of social change and angry revolution leads to hate, riots, and anarchy. As President Obama said, changing the country's course is like turning an aircraft carrier - we need patience. Still, we need to peacefully demonstrate. We shoud call or write our local police, elected officials, and media. We need to demand change and threaten with our votes and tax dollars. These are our night sticks...and it's up against the wall MFs!
More importantly, the solution lies in addressing the true cause of high crime and that is high poverty. Whether it's trashy little white towns or urban black or hispanic ghettos, few jobs, poor resources, and poor education will result in desperate conditions and desperate behavior. Until proper resources and conditions exist, crime and heightened police anxiety will prevail.
Peace and love to all....it's not disrepect - all lives really do matter!