We have witnessed the worst of America over the last few days. Violence, rioting, and looting has been occurring in Charlotte, N.C. This has been an ongoing trend across our great nation. The question is, why? The trigger to every one of these incidents has involved police officers and the death of, in many cases, an African American male. Whether it is an officer-involved shooting or attempting to transport a prisoner, all have led to mayhem on our city streets.
Racism is a problem in our nation. Admitting that it exists is the beginning step in resolving it. Some believe that flags, building names and monuments are offensive and must be removed as a step towards reconciliation. Others state that living conditions in our cities are deplorable for some. I have never lived in an urban setting, so I can not speak about living there. I have begun to spend time in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Baltimore, working with a church-based ministry there. Jobs, affordable housing, public transportation, and educational opportunities seem to be a few of the answers to the issues that people face.
My problem with this whole issue is that we want to blame our police. Police officers are men and women, many times living in the locality that they protect, who are sworn to uphold the laws of the land and do everything possible to ensure the safety of all people. Police officers go through rigorous training and then spend a number of weeks with Field Training Officers to ensure that they are ready to begin their career or to be weeded out if necessary. I sincerely believe that our problem is not our police officers, but a constant lack of compliance on the part of the citizens, due to a lack of respect for authority.
When you are stopped by a police officer or you are involved in something involving a police officer, you must fall under their authority. A police officer has a difficult job. Whatever the situation, you must follow the orders of the police officer. There always seems to be an inaccurate dialogue or rhetoric that follows a bad outcome to a confrontation between a police officer and a citizen.
Why would anyone want to be a police officerwith the scrutiny that they are placed under? I believe that the reason people put on that uniform is calling and passion. Back to the compliance issue, whenever a person chooses not to follow the orders that a police officer gives, the outcome is not going to be good. When the officer fears for their safety or for the safety of others, the outcome may be even worse. In my years as a medic, I dealt with people who had to be shot by officers as well as officers that were shot. This is a significant problem in our country and the solution, as I see it, is to simply comply.
This will not end in Ferguson, Baltimore, or Charlotte. I will say this: I do believe that the people doing most of the damage in these incidents do not even live in the city that they are destroying. I really have no factual data on that, just my belief. Last night on the news, they talked about what to do if you are in your car and get caught up in a riot; stay in your car and lock your doors. My recommendation is that you avoid getting caught up in this. In Africa, I have always been taught to avoid large crowds and protests. Until this is over, I think it is I-277 that should be avoided. Do not make the problem bigger than it is. Use common sense and avoid problem areas.
My prayer is that peace will return to our streets and our nation.