Christmas is less than a day away, and there are parents mourning the loss of sons. Not because of prolonged illness or freak accident, though. No, these mothers and fathers have lost children due to police violence.
Whether you believe that racism is a factor or not, you cannot deny that police violence towards civilians is increasing. Law enforcement has always had the characteristics of a gang, banded together at first by the title of “other” and “less than”.
Now, the gang has grown more powerful and insulated, never breaking rank even as some of its members question the validity of the mission of the gang and leave. The gang has become bolder and more volatile, picking and choosing to mete out deadly justice based on 400+ years of violent bias toward Black people–but also years of violent bias towards their forefathers who were mostly Irish and immigrant and treated unfairly.
On the other side, the loss of a police officers life is just as bad. Their families fear their demise every day at the hands of random faceless criminals. When that fear becomes reality, they carry the anger and frustration and bitterness of senseless death. The extended family–cops, families of other cops–carry the pain with them as well, acting out their grief in ways that do not match the duty to protect and serve anyone outside of the gang.
When violent retribution and death become the norm, we all must take 2 steps back and consider the ramifications of our actions. This holiday, whether you are a police officer or a simple citizen, I pray that you take a look inside yourself and appreciate your humanity–then give that benefit of humanity to others around you.