Race Relations – The 3rd Rail in Communities.

Perhaps this post adds nothing of value to the conversation about race relations or racial profiling. I want to try anyway. I’m going to say it because if anything, I’ve lived reasonably long and interacted with more than a few people who didn’t look, talk or think like me. I’m thoroughly comfortable with not everyone resembling me in speech, mannerism, culture or appearance. This may not be the case for some people and thus it changes how they react under stress.

It seems rather obvious to me, we’ve perfected the art of death in various form. Yes, we can be callous and destroy babies before they’re born and call it ‘choice’. We can see someone angry or speaking words we don’t want to hear and confine them to silence, the 1st amendment is only applicable to those we agree… or so it seems, sometimes.

Then we’ve read or hear story after story about someone killed by people sworn to protect the community in which they were hired ‘to protect and to serve’.

Many of these stories revolve around people with dark skin color. Of course we routinely read an incorrect personal description, because no one is really black or white, although we may prefer to see things in absolutes often described with those attributes. I’m currently focusing on only a few of the many situations, where admittedly, I wasn’t there, and perhaps I’m missing some key fact(s).
Walmart Shooting: Lone 911 Caller Admits Lie, Crawford Never Pointed ‘Gun’

I think if anyone truly wished to research this topic themselves they might arrive at the same conclusions I have.

The most important point I want to suggest is this; there is not enough restraint and good judgment being exercised by those with authorization to use deadly force. Any police officer, government peace keeping authority, needs to understand this over arching principle, deadly force is the last resort. I understand everyone wants to go home safe after their shift and return unharmed to their family, however, so do the people who are being killed.

If any civilian is authorized in their community to carry a concealed weapon, think long and hard about why, when, and where deadly force should be used.

Once someone is killed, that’s it, nothing more can be said to bring them back. We can have jury trials or apologies up the wa-zoo, but for that person lying dead on the ground and for their family as well as friends, there’s nothing that truly can be done to correct a mistake of that magnitude.

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson apologizes to Michael Brown’s family

I’m not an expert in law enforcement or one that routinely operates in harm’s way, but I have escorted prisoners and I was trained fairly extensively how to kill people by hand, knife or firearms. I’ve also been beaten up, stabbed and shot at, so I think I’m not your average person in the street.

Here are a few suggestions.
  1. Gain an understanding on how to talk with people to de-escalate a volatile situation. If you work with a partner or in teams, quickly assess which one of you is best for the given situation. Leverage that ability to reason where possible.
  2. If you are a civilian and feel your routine will place you in potentially harmful situations, change the conditions. Don’t put yourself into harm’s way. If you’re one of the meanest, toughest, fastest, best shooters on the planet, avoid going where there’s likely going to be trouble. I’ve been an HOA President and community watch person too. I didn’t carry a gun but I did use my mouth when necessary (tongue firmly in cheek on last comment).
  3. Acquire mental toughness. Don’t let name callers heighten your emotions to a point where you can’t control yourself. If someone calls you a ‘chicken $h1t’ or ‘candy as$’ or similar invective, so what? They ‘dis-respected you’ and you think they need to be taught a lesson…. Be the real strong one and walk away.
  4. As a peace officer, train in pairs to help analyze each others flaws. Educate yourself on how to approach a threat. Always assume a subject is potentially dangerous. If you’re tired or not feeling well, make sure you get backup for support. Police are supposed to be held to a higher standard, so set the standard and don’t allow the excuse of only being human or not sufficiently funded. When a police department is not funded or being trained well, treat it as an opportunity to work with others in your profession and set an informal training calendar. Sure, you can mix in range time, but there should be an obvious need to stay physically fit and learn non-lethal forms of self-defense.
  5. Two self-defense training I recommend – Aikido and Krav Maga. There is always a need to learn how to wrestle and control the situation. Learn to fight with larger and heavier opponents. Maybe, we wouldn’t be seeing all of the problems in Ferguson Missouri if the officer could have handled himself better. I’m not judging, I’m just suggesting perhaps this or a similar described situation may have been handled without the use of deadly force.

We’ve got to do better in our country when it comes to getting along or learning how to control ourselves. I’ve been frustrated in my efforts to address this or related headline topics with other people, but I’m not going to give up. It’s too important for any of us to not listen and learn from each other. Don’t hide behind your emotions and say, you can’t understand me because your culture or skin color is different. No gaps are bridged with such language.

Those placed in trust with the lives of their community are usually the good people where the trust is well placed. There are however numerous examples where rudeness, aggressiveness, emotion and reaction are not held in sufficient check. Their obligation and reliability isn’t supposed to be based on entertainment perception of conduct in the field, rather it’s got to be, measured, disciplined and controlled to the extent where no one in the community is routinely singled out.


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What is the real mission of your police as demonstrated by their community action? To “Protect and Serve” or “Enforce and Collect”?

How can we improve?

What are your thoughts?

 

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