I recently wrote this on my Facebook when I got some push back from people of a comic I shared. This prompted me to go down the rabbit hole of empathy and try to relate to my neighbors. I find it so sad that violent acts have happened to cops. It doesn’t change the fact or make me feel less sad for the growing list of people killed at the hands of cops for routine traffic stops. The last one, someone who worked at a school, is the most egregious death yet. Anyways, here’s my attempt to put words to my feelings and assure people I don’t challenge things out of disrespect for the police, but I do it because I care. It’s what we should ALL be doing.
An exercise in empathy…
Imagine you’re a gay person who considers gay bars, as many LGBT people do, as a community center type home. Imagine a bar hosting Latin night like that, being attacked during the worst massacre in the US since 9/11. You’d be scared, sad, upset, and angry. Wouldn’t you?
Imagine your a police officer who feels called to protect and serve. Imagine your brothers and sisters in arms were attacked and hurt/killed in Dallas. You’d be scared, sad, upset, and angry. Wouldn’t you?
Imagine you’re a young person of color who hears DAILY that someone like you has been killed from altercations started by events like broken tail lights, no drivers license, jay walking, no front license plate. You’d be scared, sad, upset, and angry too. Wouldn’t you?
This isn’t a competition for who deserves grief more. This isn’t a new reality show called “America’s Next Top Victim”. We can be sad for the police victims (AS WE SHOULD), just as we can be sad for the victims of what seems to be a trend of overreaction by cops. There also seems to be more deaths of people of color than white people at the hands of police for like infractions. Maybe some of the shootings were justified, according to the court system they are… but every. single. one?
It’s important to question and challenge systems that don’t work. We see it everyday. People challenge their government officials on their policies, procedures, and stances all the time. People challenge their workplaces, churches, friends, family on their points of view as well. Questioning the police is not an act of disrespect, it’s an act of “can’t we do better than this?” Don’t take my posts as disrespectful to police. It’s not about disrespect, it’s because I care. All lives do matter. Blue lives, black lives. And that’s why we question and challenge. Otherwise nothing changes, and that’s unacceptable.