After the launch of my blog, I spent weeks carefully crafting what was to be my first post. Then the last few days happened, and I realized, it needed to wait. It needed to wait because there are things that need to be said, because there are emotions that need to be processed, and because it’s hard to write about the goodness of God in the face of these latest tragedies.
There have been plenty of people who have made statements about these brutal killings more eloquently than I can: Trevor on The Daily Show , author Leah Campbell , and Christian writer John Pavlovitz .
As many others have already said, it is possible to both be a supporter of good, honest police and stand behind those in the Black Lives Matter movement who are fighting for fair equality. It is possible to support police and still recognize there are a number of police in the US that are corrupt and use brutality against blacks.
If we can’t recognize that there is a major problem here in North America, if we cannot recognize that there is an ever-growing need for change, then there is no hope.
When the first response to a black person being shot dead is “yeah, but we don’t know what they were doing wrong yet,” “they have a criminal record,” or “police would only shoot if their lives are in danger,” this should prove we have a problem. When the colour of someone’s skin causes automatic assumption of wrongdoing on their part, we have a problem.
And when mass amounts of people are more concerned with keeping their right to bear arms than they are about another human being’s right to live, we have a problem.
But even worse, we have a problem when so many people can see nothing more than an ‘Us against Them’ mentality. It is not one or the other.
Trevor Noah at the Daily show said it best:
We cannot go on with this idea that you are either pro-cop or pro-black, because it only serves to grow the divide.
More than ever, what America needs is unity. It needs more people to be willing to stand together and fight for accountability. Because here’s the thing: when the bad police are heralded and protected for abusing their power, it doesn’t help the good cops.
Because here’s the thing: when the bad police are heralded and protected for abusing their power, it doesn’t help the good cops.
It doesn’t matter what makes a bad cop, well bad. Each bad cop that is allowed to walk away and is allowed to abuse their power makes it harder for the marginalized and disenfranchised to see the good cops. Every time cops are protected for doing the wrong thing, another person’s hope dies. People who have no hope are dangerous because they lose the ability to aim for better. They lose the ability to hope their actions or words can make a difference.
People with no hope are prone to actions of complete desperation.
We can unite with the police who truly fight to make a difference, while uniting with the African-Americans who live in fear every day. When we unite with both, we have the opportunity to restore hope.
I see the angry posts from either side on my news feed every day. The posts of people who are pro-police only applauding the decision to fire six shots into a man already restrained, four shots into a car with a four-year-old in the back seat. Reminding people that if these black men had guns, the police were right to fear for their lives.
I’m thankful I see far less of the posts that are completely anti-police on my news feed. That most of the people I am friends with who support BLM also support the good police who are trying to do those jobs.
But every day, I wake up to even more heartbreaking news. Police officers being lured and executed. Protests turning violent. People on Facebook turning ugly to one another as they vehemently defend one side or the other, using the same bitter vitriol fueling these feelings in the first place. Compassion being passed over for aggression and the need to be right.
As this continues, I find my hope fading fast. But as it fades, I also find myself searching out more of it. Hunting for examples of the solid officers who are taking a stand. For the moments when both sides come together to acknowledge one is just as important as the other. Stories like the following:
There is hope for change. We just need to be willing to stand up for it loudly, passionately, and compassionately.