I Unfriended Someone….

7/8/2016

I unfriended someone today on Facebook because they posted a “if you can’t agree with me, unfriend me” post. Well, sorry to say, I couldn’t. Here’s why:

I’m sorry that you’re worried about your police officer relative. But, I’m just as worried about my non-white son. I worry every time he pulls out of my driveway, or goes on a trip, or is put into a situation where someone doesn’t know him and judges him on the color of his skin instead of who he is.

I’m sorry that you see your police officer relative in the videos of the two people who were killed, but I see my son. I understand that your relative is a kind and caring individual, and the chances of him unjustly drawing his gun on a suspect is pretty slim, but just because *he* is doesn’t mean that *all* officers are. Even you should be able to admit that, just as I can admit that all people of color aren’t always in the right during arrests and that force should be used if lives are threatened. All situations are different and we shouldn’t fall into the trap of comparisons that draw conclusions based solely on our own experiences.

I’m sorry that you feel that people are armchair quarterbacking the videos that were released. I’ll admit to doing so, but what I saw in the first video was that two officers had someone restrained and *then* he was shot. I’m not a cop, but that doesn’t seem to be the normal procedure. I don’t feel that I need to be a cop to draw that conclusion. Further, I have to agree with the sentiment that every time someone dies or is seriously injured while in custody, there should be an automatic Federal investigation.

I’m sorry that police and others were shot in TX, but I can understand to some extent, the frustration and fear of not being heard while living in a country where your loved ones may be the next victims. My understanding this does in no way mean I condone it; I don’t want innocent people to die. But there are a lot of videos out right now showing violence by police officers and if they’re not addressed, the situation will only deteriorate. Denial of the problem doesn’t make the videos go away.

Your relative chose to be a police officer, which is commendable. And I’m sure that it’s true that many, if not most officers go into the force with the mindset of making the world a better place. My son (and others) didn’t choose the color of their skin or the prejudices that come along with that. The more deaths are reported, the more I feel like I need to give my son “the talk.” You know the one: when a cop pulls you over, try to pull over in a spot where you’re visible. Don’t move, keep your hands where they can see them at all times. Don’t reach for your wallet. Don’t reach for the glove box. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t. All the good grades and best behavior in the past won’t save you if something is misunderstood at a traffic stop.

No one should have to give their sons (or daughters) this talk. And we should be able to feel confident that if our children must interact with authorities, that they will always be treated fairly. We should be able to trust that they will be held without life-threatening aggression as long as their actions don’t threaten the lives of others. I don’t feel any of this today, and haven’t for a long time.