An uncomfortable discussion
There’s an old saying that goes, “perception is 90 percent reality.”
For the past year and half or so, the perception of life in America has been that of a country cut in two.
With the advent of video, which includes police body cams, surveillance video and also personal cell phone videos, Americans have had an unfiltered access to the brutality that is policing and life in urban America.
I’m a cop.
I have lost brothers and sisters to senseless shootings by the very citizens we have sworn to protect. Some have even been caught in pre-planned ambush executions.
From New Orleans to Dallas to Anytown, USA.
It’s an ugly, disgusting part of how it goes down in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
After the Dallas Police ambush shooting massacre and others around the country, cops everywhere were on edge. Never in my 23 years on the job had I ever imagined that our own citizens would use these tactics on us.
Just writing that sounds absurd to me.
But in America?
A cold reality
America is the most violent country on earth.
Don’t think so?
A co-worker of mine, who also happens to be an Army Reservist, recently made a comment on social media that jarred me.
While communicating through Facebook while deployed in Afghanistan, my fellow officer made the comment that he feels far safer in Afghanistan than he does as a cop in the jurisdiction where we both work.
And he was dead serious.
“But Sarge, violent crime stats are down and so are murders…”
A more manipulated and misleading claim has yet to be uttered in my lifetime.
I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
I saw it as a violent crimes/homicide detective.
And I mean up close and personal.
I have been there and watched the last words and dying breath come from shooting victim after victim.
And I have seen modern medicine, time and time again, bring these same lost souls back from the dead.
Murder rates are a lie. Author and American Bad Ass, Col. Grossman spoke at length on this topic several years ago during a seminar I attended.
The violence is real.
And what’s worse is the fear of violence. Cops feel fear and act on those fears just like anyone else.
Not all together different than how black people fear the police.
Remember, perception is 90 percent reality, even if the perception is not justified or warranted.
No one thinks they are the bad guy
If you were to ask any cop who has ever been involved in an officer involved shooting, every single one will say the same thing.
They were in fear for their life (or feared for someone else’s life).
The police shootings that make the national news are not ones where the decision to shoot was not in question. The media has a way of inflating the issue and manipulating the masses into a group think of their choosing.
If you don’t believe me, just ask Hillary.
The same goes for police shootings.
Last year it became cool to hate the police for many Americans. The actions of a scant few painted a broad brush for the almost 700,000 cops who put their asses on the line every day.
The same can be said about the Black Lives Matter movement. When you do the math (which I hate) you will see the same thing.
The actions of a few idiot protesters, like the ones in Charlotte, tainted the much larger black population with the same brush as well.
Most black people want peace with cops, to include peace within their own race.
Many prominent black Americans voiced this same sentiment. Charles Barkley, former NBA basketball player and now basketball analyst, contended un-apologetically that black people had a much larger problem with each other than with white policemen.
He caught considerable backlash for this stance.
Instead of treating BLM as a thorn in the side of law enforcement and the communities they protest in, we should consider our tact.
In the jurisdiction where I work, we have had several BLM protest marches that resulted in no violence or civil unrest. (This, in now way shape or form, excuses the lawlessness that occurred in protests in Charlotte or other cities).
Maybe if we just listen, and let them vent their reality, in a peaceful manner, maybe we can both come away with a new beginning and change of heart.
A new perception, one that doesn’t put each in tiny box that we call “our” reality.
A reality that is inclusive to all sides and takes the time to listen and be empathetic to what each is saying.
A reality and understanding for both sides.