We see the weed that springs forth. We feel the bite of the thorn. We want to remove the thorn and we react. It is very invasive and aggressive in it's spread. Because it is more than just that thorn. It has deep roots that spread rapidly and far.
People are social creatures. We find similarities and bond. They become we. Outsiders are just that: outside of the bond and that which we understand and have an affinity for. If you have ever spent anytime outside of the country, or to a college away from your home town, there is a strong connection felt as soon as you come into contact with someone from your home. The language, the food, the places; they all are a familiarity that can now be shared in this land of unknown. Walk around in public wearing a t-shirt that has a sports team, movie reference or musical artist that you enjoy and there is a good chance that a stranger will smile and make a comment about your attire.
The opposite can be true as well. People will find difficulty in that which is the unknown. It is human nature. We can work on making people more comfortable and changing behaviors through time. No law, social post or policy will effectively change that. That takes work by you and me. I can’t do it alone. So yes, we have to do this together. It will be a slow process and cannot be done overnight. Don’t expect people to change suddenly.
This is one aspect of what brings people to the point we are in today.
LARGER THAN RACISM
Right now, the conversation is about #BlackLivesMatter. They do. In the recent past, we were enraged about how women were treated. This was most evident in Hollywood and the #MeToo movement trending on social media. It seems as though once they had their scapegoat, they quieted. This was a daily message that is now silent. Has this issue been resolved? Are we now in a state of gender equality?
We just passed the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Shortly after this tragedy there was a rallying time frame for those of the #LGBTQ community - another group of people that has been oppressed. Recent years have seen more and more acceptance, but has the threat of violence gone away to these individuals? What about others? #Pediophilia #humantrafficking #humanrights
"And the sign says long hair freaky people need not apply
So I put my hair under my hat and I went in to ask him why
He said you look like a fine outstanding young man I think you'll do
So I took off my hat I said imagine that huh me working for you"
These are the lyrics from the covered by the rock band Tesla in 1990. The original was from the lesser known Five Man Electrical Band.
Those with long hair, tattoos and piercings have also felt oppression. There are those that have looked down on someone dressed all in black, black lipstick and black nail polish as well. Someone is looked at as different than the other. What about the guy walking around in a suit and driving the expensive car and living in the expensive house? There are those that look down upon the gentleman and ostracize him as well. A group of people finding those outside of their norm rarely welcomes them.
THOSE IN POWER.
Power is difficult to control and be well used. This is true with large corporations, the manager in a building at the time or the individual in charge of a committee. Ever see a teenager given authority and on a power trip? Ever seen the injustices of a large corporation? Watch #ErinBrokovich or more recently #DarkWaters, as examples. We try to bring about change by showing the public about the atrocities they do.
The day after MLK, JR was assassinated; a teacher did an experiment with her students on the difference between her blue and brown eyed students. The children quickly adapted to new social roles. Even though this was done to show racial prejudice, it also shows the change in human behavior when we believe one is better or superior to another, whether race related or not.
Look up the Stanford Prison Experiment(you can watch a documentary on both of these as well.) 24 people were selected as they were to be the most stable for the experiment. Within hours, those in the guard role began asserting their authority. Needless to say, the experiment was cut short.
From Genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda, the Jews during WWII or even events like Wounded Knee on our own soil, governments have used their power to kill its own citizens or those of outside people groups. It distinguishes not. We are a nation that recognizes the right to self defense to prevent that. Even with this written during our foundation, the government, at all levels, continues to infringe upon those rights. Recent court cases have even tried to fight against some of this abuse of power. See District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 and Caetano v. Massachusetts, 577 U.S. ___ (2016) for further details.
So what about the police force? Even outside of the good cop/bad cop argument, a good cop might not have the skills necessary to manage the encounters they come to face. They need to know how to properly handle erratic, chaotic and often time, violent events. Social skills and physical skills should be at the top of the list to be successful in these interactions. They have very little training to do so. They receive very little initial training overall, let alone in these specific skills sets. Most departments have little to no training during their career. If they want to learn de-escalation, firearm or hand-to-hand skills, these will most likely come from their own pocket. Most do not go that route. If you want a community to have a proper Law Enforcement, elect those that will provide for their development.
We talk about the problem of bullying in schools and yet we see that human behavior continuing in adulthood. I am sure we can all look back in our life and find times where we were helpless against authority. People abuse the power they are given. We can’t change the world but we can still fight for how people should be treated. Realize that can be you just as easy as the other guy. Don’t be that person.