Concern Over Recent Events
By Alvin Mason
All leaders should be concerned over recent events where shootings were involved. We should all be concerned over shootings where police officers were the shooters. We all should be equally concerned about shootings were police officers were the victims.
What is mind boggling is that police involved shootings have been and still are happening at such an alarming rate. One would think that when a police officer observes the video broadcast on national news of another police officer shooting an unarmed person, and seeing the community reaction that all police officers would try to eliminate such an incident from happening that could embarrass themselves, their department and their family. When commentary after commentary publicly criticizes what appears to be unnecessary or excessive force. It seems that most police officers would want to avoid being in the center of a similar incident. The one thing I try to equate this to is in football when a player releases the ball before crossing the goal line it is replayed over and over on sports shows, yet it has happened more than once after the first embarrassment.
But such incidents keep happening. The African American community reacts by alleging racism when the incident involves a white police officer and a black who is viewed as a victim.
From the African American Community’s prospective which police and white society should try to understand, these types of incidents are happening too frequently. Deadly force should be the last resort. Deadly force against an unarmed man is murder. The number of times an African American has been shot is evidence of racism and excessive force.
To further complicate the problem there are times when investigations are slow and/or closed to the public. Many times when charges are not brought against officers, the community is outraged. When a police shooting that is caught on video and viewed on media outlets does not mandate swift justice, then you have the community outcry.
Unfortunately that outcry is seen as segmented or limited to the black community. Most of society might be appalled but the focus of the outcry is shown within the black community.
The perception of the lack of justice was the nexus of Black Lives Matter. It is possible that one or more of the police shooters rationalized their actions from their perception of the lack of justice. I cannot defend such actions and it is similar to a terrorist event in my eyes. It is possible that one reaction to Black Lives Matter was the election results of November 2017.
Many in the black community including the well-educated believe that being a police officer can be a very dangerous job. However men and woman are aware that being a police officer carries danger. Therefore, the officers assume some risk, similar to a person who joins the military. The concept of assumption of the risk even goes as far as cigarette smokers.
The black community has a perception that police officers have a mentality amongst themselves similar to the mentality of some criminals. That being let’s get them before they get us.
People in the black community should attempt to look at the life of a police officer.
First many police officers have beautiful families. Officers with children want to share all the events and milestones of life such as birthdays, graduations and marriage. Police are human and they give and receive love like all of us should.
Can anyone fault someone who wants to live? Also consider black on black crime. When a black person kills another black person for whatever reason (is there ever a good reason) can a police officer feel vulnerable to such senseless behavior? Come on if a black man could kill a brother, is he capable of killing a white police officer?
One thing the black community does not consider, is when a black person kills a police officer in a senseless murder, not to mention the many attempts that don’t result in death. Do we in the black community realize the effect including fear such incidents have on the police community? It is very similar to when a soldier is killed at war and the effect on the entire platoon or company.
So the after effects of the senseless killing of a police officer might last for some time and could affect the patience police have with some, particularly young dudes with their pants hanging below their butt.
A police officer who is not gifted with instincts might not be able to discern a good person from a bad person. Can an African American look at a white person and tell if they are prejudice or not? One necessary ingredient for police as with many other occupations is instincts.
One obvious issue for me personally is when an unarmed man is killed by a police officer I wonder if the officer involved had to use deadly force? Police are trained to kill. Police training should consider shooting to wound. However, every police officer I have discussed shooting to wound with, strongly disagreed with me. Remember once the shot is fired you cannot turn the clock back.
I wonder how much environmental factors such as cell phones, previous use of video games and the additives in the food we eat could play on such incidents particularly the ones where an officer discharges multiple shots, in what appears to be more shots than necessary. In more than one incidence it appeared the officer involved lost control.
All leaders should take notice that a large percentage of people who hit the street to protest are young and/or unemployed. I would bet that there was not a significant percentage of working middle class and upper middle class in the violet protest. Yes the working class attend rallies and marches but not confrontational protest.
That should alert lawmakers to the fact that the unemployment problem in the African American community is just as serious as the unfortunate incidences that have been occurring. Increasing the opportunities for jobs and education will minimize the number of incidence for one reason there will be less people hanging out on the corner.