Let's Not Destroy What's Most Important

So, here we go again, round and round and round. Stupidity breeds violence. Violence breeds violence. And here's the real shame of it. By looting and setting fires, destroying businesses and wreaking chaos, the protesters are destroying what's most important--the reason for the protests in the first place. That's what should be in the news. Protests that bring awareness to the connection between police brutality and systemic racism. What to do to remedy it. Yes, I know, it's an old issue, and one that is frustrating, given that we continue to see the murders of black people. For what? George Floyd was accused of cashing a counterfeit $20 bill. Think about that. He died for 20 dollars. Sadly, we're not talking about that today. We're talking about senseless destruction. We're talking about the National Guard. We're talking about the possibility of military invention. We're talking about what was set on fire, what was destroyed, who was hurt and how the violence is expected to escalate.

I've never orchestrated a protest. If I did, I would understand something fundamental. It requires grown-up, educated people who offer positive direction to those who follow. Grown-up people with experience, not only civic experience but social, psychological, spiritual and behavioral experience. Those with a plan on how best to proceed to achieve the necessary results. One, justice for senseless killings, to make sure the officers involved are properly tried and convicted, that they serve jail time for their criminal acts. Two, to demand more of police departments, in particular how they hire and train officers, to make sure would-be hires have appropriate education (more than what they are currently required to have, which is not much at all). To make sure, in addition to further education, they pass stringent mental, emotional and psychological tests. That they receive training in active listening, how to negotiate with someone who is agitated or has a mental disability. That they are trained in cultural sensitivity and tolerance. That they learn how to de-escalate potential violent situations, as opposed to provoking them through aggression. That they are required to receive an education about the basic tenets of what is morally just and humane.

I don't mean to insinuate that the majority of officers don't already possess these traits and skills. I am sure they do. It's the small percentage of bad apples that need to be plucked from the tree and discarded. Otherwise, this Orwellian nightmare will continue. I can think of few things more frightening than a police officer with a gun, with power, without possession of education and knowledge, possessing instead psychopathic impulses, with no regard for human decency, without respect for people of color, if respect for anyone.

I understand the protesters' frustration. I am frustrated as well. We all are. But let's not lose sight of the reason. Let's not become agitators, rebels without cause, who, through destructive actions, lose credibility as meaningful protesters. Let's not destroy what's most important.

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