Supposedly in response to police shootings of African-American men Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, Micah Xavier Johnson, age 25 allegedly gunned down multiple police officers in the city of Dallas, murdering five of them. Johnson later was supposedly barricaded in a parking garage and, although the details are subtly different depending on which news agency report you read, Dallas P.D. sent in a bomb defusing robot armed with a bomb to kill Johnson. Other reports say that Johnson had the area wired with bombs and police used the robot to detonate one of them.
All of this goes back to “Black Lives Matter” vs. “All Lives Matter”. It’s easy to see why the concept of black lives matter makes a lot of sense, but at the same time, the actual enactment of the movement spawned by the sentiment is so dangerous, to police, to African-Americans, and to the rest of us.
This isn’t the first time populations have been separated within a nation and deliberately put at odds with one another. This isn’t the first time such conflicts have been used as an excuse to disarm citizens who legally own firearms.
I’m currently reading Elie Wiesel’s Night, his landmark chronicle of his personal experience as a survivor of Hitler’s Holocaust. The Jews were vilified in Nazi Germany and made the scapegoat of everything bad happening in that nation.
It was subtle at first. The Nazi’s first step wasn’t rounding up the Jews and shipping them off to the camps. That was the last step. The first step was marginalizing one or more populations from one another. If diverse populations in a nation are united, they cannot be overcome by the government. If the non-Jewish German citizens had stood by their Jewish counterparts, could the Nazi government have perpetrated the Holocaust?
What about us?
Almost fifty-three years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous I have a Dream speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. I was nine-years-old at the time but wouldn’t hear about the speech, let alone hear or read the words, for years to come.
Dr. King talked about black and white people working and living together, enjoying the same freedoms. He didn’t say that one population should be separated from the other. Divided national populations weaken national citizenry as a whole.
I find it ironic that Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogan is “We Are Stronger Together” since she seems to be one of the voices urging racial division.
I saw something on Facebook, a graphic that seemed to be from a blog or other social media. I’m reproducing it here (spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors included) to make a point:
So this morning I went into a convenient store to get a protein bar. As I walked through the door, I noted that there was two white police officers (one about my age and the other several years older) talking to the clerk (an older white woman) behind the counter about the shootings that have gone one in the past few days. They all looked at me and fell silent. I went about my business to get what I was looking for, as I turned back up the isle to go pay, the oldest officer was standing at the top of the isle watching me. As I got closer he asked me, “How I was doing? I replied “Okay, and you? He looked at me with a strange look and asked me, “How are you really doing?” I looked at him and said “I’m tired!” His reply was, “me too.” Then he said, “I guess it’s not easy being either of us right now is it.” I said, “No, it’s not.” Then he hugged me and I cried. I had never seen that man before in my life. I have no idea why he was moved to talk to me. What I do know is that he and I shared a moment this morning, that was absolutely beautiful. No judgments, No justifications, just two people sharing a moment…
The author is an African-American woman named Natasha Howell from Andover. Here’s the link to the graphic.
The internet being what it is, I have no idea if this actually happened, but I hope it did. It’s a living example of what we need to be doing in our modern little dystopia. We need to find a way to build bridges, two people at a time, over and over again. We need to recapture Dr. King’s dream instead of trying to fill it full of holes.
This isn’t just a white person’s job or a black person’s job, it’s everybody’s job. Are police shootings of African-American’s increasing at such an alarming rate, or is this impression being manipulated in social and news media. Who could be behind such horrible acts and what would motivate them?
I think we do have something out there trying to destroy us, but it isn’t the police, it isn’t white people, and it isn’t black people.
Who or what profits most by a country divided?
No, this isn’t some horrific vision of a grim future crafted by a science fiction writer in the mid-1970s. We can close the pages of dystopian science fiction and thank God it isn’t true. But this is true. This is our reality in 2016. We can’t depend on the news media or the government to change our reality. We need to depend on ourselves and on each other, one ordinary person to another. We need to come together and change it ourselves.
If we remain divided, if we allow the news media, trolls on social media, and government officials to keep us divided and increase the gap, we will fall, as a people, as a nation.