I generally reserve my voice solely for addressing the church. And I often feel very conflicted about addressing things outside of that realm. But this is very important. I don't feel right ignoring it.
I lost sleep thinking about Jacob Blake last night. Imagining what it would be like to be shot in front of my children and to have the world tell my family that it was my own fault. To have my children grow up having to defend my name as everyone around them used my every mistake to prove my guilt.
I saw an unarmed man be held still while a police officer released eight rounds into his back. And then I saw people on social media telling his community that he deserved it, that their anger made them animals, and that they all needed to be caged or put down.
I saw a police officer (who had not committed the crime) be struck with a brick in the head. And then I watched as people cheered and applauded and threatened to do the same to the rest of the police in the area.
I am genuinely devastated that this is what “progress” looks like.
I am not criticizing the call for change. Change is clearly needed. I am questioning the louder voice that is adamantly insisting that a problem doesn’t exist.
A man may die... not because he was in the middle of a violent crime and couldn’t be stopped otherwise. Not because he was attacking police and they had to defend themselves. And not because anyone’s lives were in danger.
He is lying in a hospital bed because a man held him by the back of his shirt, aimed a gun at his back, and fired over and over again...and instead of being arrested for shooting a man in cold blood, he was joined by a swarm of police, meant to control the crowd of “violent criminals” that were angry about him probably murdering one of their neighbors.
I feel deeply for the officer that was struck. There’s no reason his life should be in jeopardy for a crime he didn’t commit. And I am looking forward to the day when our justice system cares more about protecting people than it cares about protecting itself. Because it didn’t just fail Jacob Blake. It also failed that officer.
If our police departments and justice system were working for the people, then crimes like this wouldn’t need to be escalated. Families of victims could call the police and rest in their assurances that investigations will take place and proper accountability will happen. Instead, a community once again felt absolutely sure that no justice would be offered unless they forced the issue aggressively. Which—if we are being honest—history proves is true.
- This is why women kill their rapists instead of turning them in.
- This is why fathers kill pedophiles instead of turning them in.
- This is why “evil, violent protesters” set themselves against the police.
Because justice can not be subjective. It must apply to everyone if it is going to be a standard for anyone.
I am in no way suggesting this officer deserved what he got. He didn’t. It wasn’t his fault. He didn’t pull the trigger. What happened to him is a crime and his attacker belongs behind bars. What I am saying is that it’s important that we look at what happened to him for what it is... the result of a system that has absolutely convinced people that it will not protect them.
You want protests to end? You want riots to end? You want people to be peaceful? You want people to respect the police? And most importantly--you want our nation to actually be worthy of the reverence so many of us are offering it unconditionally?
Then demand that our justice system fight for its people, and not just to protect its image.
Rioters, looters, murderers, rapists, pedophiles, cops who abuse their power, judges who reserve their "example setting" for minorities, soldiers who rape and steal while occupying foreign lands, government leaders who abuse the law and ignore the voice of the people... stop letting some of them off the hook. They are all the exact same thing: criminals.
While I understand why so many of us are upset about the way people are responding to their anger right now, it is very important that we don't confuse why the anger exists. We live in a society where justice is not promised. A society where serving your country is synonymous with not being accountable to your country. A society that claims to be governed by the voice of the people, while ignoring our voice.
Last night a man walked away from a police officer and that officer responded by holding him by his shirt and emptying half of his clip into his back in front of his children while another officer stood by, also holding a gun on him. And the part of the story that most of us were bothered by was that his community responded aggressively. I'll leave you with the task of figuring out why.
#JacobBlake #BreonnaTaylor #GeorgeFloyd #AtatianaJefferson #StephonClark #BothomJean #PhilandoCastille #AltonSterling #FreddieGray #JanishaFonville #EricGarner #AkaiGurley #TamarRice #TanishaAnderson #ElijahMcclain #WhoNext?