I hate what I have to see in the news every day when in comes to racial issues or crime in general. It’s a rough world we live in and it’s only getting worse. Because of that I have to fear a lot of things for ALL my kids, not just my black son. When it comes to the police though I can instill in my kids, including my black son, a healthy respect for the laws and how to respond when being confronted by an officer.
Yes, I see that in the past 2 days, 2 black men appear to unnecessarily have been killed by the police. In both incidences the men had guns. Alton Sterling was on the ground and according to police was reaching for the gun in his pocket as a second video is now showing. We didn't see that in the first viral video of him being shot and we don't know exactly what the police were able to see or were experiencing on the ground and maybe they absolutely just shot that man but I can tell you if that's the case THEY DO NOT REPRESENT ALL police officers.
Philander Castile also had a gun and according to his fiancé he let the officer know and was just reaching for his ID when he was shot. However, when officers know someone has a gun and their ID on them they typically, white or black, are put on high alert. In this article by James Tarr, a former police officer, he discusses quite a few incidences he has had with current police when being pulled over and alerting them that he has a weapon on him and he was a former officer! There is a fear issue with any officer when they are dealing with someone who is armed and it doesn't matter if that person is black or white or even a former police officer themselves. There is a procedure if an officer does have a concern for their safety they may will ask the person to stand up outside the car so the officer can access the gun and/or the ID. When someone is reaching into their pocket, especially their back pocket, warned or not of a gun, there is a chance that person will pull the gun out and shoot an officer ESPECIALLY when there was already racial tension between the black community and the police. If the officer told Philander to stop reaching for his ID, whether Philander meant to be disrespectful or not, and he kept reaching for it then officer shot in fear. We don’t see that part in the video so we aren't sure what happened yet but so many are now acting in fear and hate towards all officers and it’s wrong and we are sending the wrong message to our young people and children who are watching and listening.
I know that racism is real (I’m not debating that) and that due to upbringing or personal experiences or demographics or crime statistics that it’s hard not to have some type of opinion about every race or group of people in America at this time but we can’t continue doing is making everything an “All or Nothing” or a “Black and White” situation. It’s not all like that. Just as we can’t say that every black man is a criminal we cannot lump all officers into a trigger happy murderer pot. It’s not fair to either side and it isn’t helping anyone. I personally don’t know what it’s like to live as a black man or as a police officer but I know that both are becoming increasingly more and more dangerous. Statistically speaking black boys are losing their lives far more to their circumstances and environment than to the police. Where are the riots over that? Why aren’t the snipers out shooting gang leaders and drug lords in the neighborhoods where men shoot their unsuspecting victims daily or get them so hooked on drugs that their lives spin out of control leading to their incarceration or death instead of shooting at the police who 99.9 to 1 are not the problem.
I rarely like to speak up unless I have a solution to a problem but this is an issue that is far out of my reach. What I can do though is NOT jump on the “All police are racists and just want to shoot black people” bandwagon and make sure that I teach my kids to continue to respect the law and the officers put in place to enforce the law. I have to pray for all my kids, but especially my very dark skinned son, and their futures but as much as I pray for his safety in the event that he ever has to have a negative interaction with the law, I pray MORE for the exposure he gets from his peers and what impact they will have on his future and life because they are far more of a threat to him and he runs a greater risk of being killed by his peers or while involved in activities with them than he ever will with the police.