The latter half of 2014 has been the era of Police Brutality. Several cases have made national headlines, including the killing of Eric Garner on July 17th, the killing of Michael Brown on August 9th, and the killing of Tamir Rice (12 years old) on November 22nd. In addition to these most well known killings, there is also the Nov. 2nd death of Sheneque Proctor, a young mother who was in good health but died with no official explanation after reportedly calling her mother and reporting that the officers had been handling her roughly. On November 25th, Dornella Conner, a pregnant woman who was not part of the protests in Ferguson, was nevertheless shot by an officer's beanbag round, and lost her eye.
There is a lot to be angry about in all of this. When we consider that police officers are also getting away with these and similar offenses seemingly all the time, the sense of rage only increases. The mantra of the police force -- "to serve and protect" -- rings increasingly hollow. As Andrew Napolitano has said, "The definition of a police state is when the government's prime concern is for its own safety, not for the lives, liberty, and property of the people it has sworn to protect." Nowhere has this been more apparent than in Ferguson, where the police response to protests about the Michael Brown killing and the subsequent grand jury decision have included the use of tear gas, which is banned by the Geneva Convention for use in warfare. An over-militarized and over-zealous police force is quite obviously no longer protecting and serving "We the People." This should raise the question, who then, are they protecting and serving? While "they" is by no means an all-inclusive term for every police precinct in the nation (Nashville's police behaved quite admirably when their citizens protested the Michael Brown verdict), it can still nevertheless be said that "they" seem more and more to be behaving like a cabal, and less and less like public servants.
As I have taken to my Facebook page to share my own frustrations about the police, I have been met by a lot of support from others who are similarly outraged. I also ran into a great deal of opposition, which went far beyond the public comments and escalated into private messages and then harassing phone calls (not only to myself but to members of my family) from individuals who were not police officers but were closely and personally connected to police officers. The whole mess frankly just stinks to high heaven.
But I would like to say, I disagree with this chaos. Let's be done with the noise now. Beware the narrative of "Us vs. Them." Because the truth is, that if we who are the champions of freedom and peace, justice, and transparent government, could make our voices heard by the officers themselves, and convert the very police to our principles, then we could be well night unstoppable when it comes to turning this country around. The uncanny timing of all these highly publicized killings, so close to one another, also makes me wonder if something grander and more sinister is behind it. Perhaps some entity wants the protest movement to come to hate the police -- because the alternative, that we respond with love and win them over, would be precisely the missing ingredient in the formula for truly wide spread Change.
I have had many discussions to this effect over social media, about what could really change the world. By far the most interesting suggestion has been that we need to consciously reach out to police and the military. AFTER ALL, do they not work for We The People? Do we not elect the sheriffs, impact the laws, help set the salaries? By fully and strongly asserting ourselves democratically, perhaps we could finally reign in the police brutality by reminding some of "them" that we in fact, DO hold the strings, and besides that, we share a common humanity. Police officers of the world, you do not have to be beholden any longer to corporations and crony government. Open YOUR eyes, recognize the family you are among, and join the protests.