I have a real problem understanding how rioting, burning, looting, assaults, threats, beatings, vandalism, destruction of property, etc., are considered means of peaceful protests. They’re not. Far from it, actually.
But I do, even though I’m mostly white, understand racism. No, not because my mother’s side of the family has deep Native American roots. Nor is my understanding because other family members owned a house that Harriott Tubman used as part of the Underground Railroad, helping people escape slavery (something, by the way, I had absolutely nothing to do with, ever).
Yes, I remember the signs above business doors—“White Only” at the front entrances, and “Coloreds Only” above side or rear entrances. The same was so at a local movie theater. Main Floor – Whites Only
And let’s not forget the segregated drinking fountains with signs above to direct “Coloreds” to the typical not-so-clean fountain that was often in disrepair. The doctors’ offices with separate waiting rooms. Restaurants that wouldn’t serve “the darkies.”
And then came the integration of schools. The South went nuts, with many white parents sending their kids to private schools to avoid having their children associating with black children. Yet, many of those parents employed black maids who cooked, cleaned, ironed, and raised the white children until they went to school. Now that’s a head-scratcher if ever there was one.
I was born in the North, having moved to the South with my parents (job transfer) when I was young. What a culture shock that was, especially seeing the rising flames and smoke in the distance from the Friday night cross-burnings in the field behind the old drive-in movie theater. I had no idea what that was all about at the time because way up north that just didn’t happen. At least not that I’d seen.
I sometimes caught glimpses of those white sheets and hoods. In fact, I once saw a man remove his hood to speak with a friend…in public, smack dab on the sidewalk in the city. I would see him again many years later, and I was shocked to learn that he held a job of great importance.
I get it. This was horrible. I despised it as a child and I despise it now.
But back to my understanding of racism. You see, it’s a two-way street. I’m hated, yes hated, merely because of the color of my skin, and because of the uniform I once wore.
So these next words are to those people who hate me for what I am.
You may not know me, but I’ve been to your house to stop your nephews, nieces, husbands, wives, friends, lovers, neighbors, and children from killing you and your family.
I pulled you from a burning house while you were too high to get out on your own.
When you overdosed on cocaine and alcohol, I placed my lips on yours to give you the breath that allowed you to live another day.
I bought Christmas presents for your kids because you didn’t have a dime to your name, even though I was struggling financially as a single parent.
I helped you find a job so you could stop selling crack cocaine as a means to feed your kids.
I brought groceries for you when your cabinets were bare.
I bought kerosene for your heaters when you were cold.
I stopped gang members from abusing the elderly on your street.
When it was raining, I gave you a ride to the store, or to work.
I got your kid into rehab when you did nothing to help.
When the school year rolled around I bought your kids pencils, paper, books, lunch boxes, and even clothing and shoes, because you spent your money on drugs, alcohol, and prostitutes.
I gave up my hard-earned money (I worked three jobs at once) so your kid could go on a school trip with her friends, a group that included my daughter.
You and your kids have been welcome in my home.
I stepped between you and a knife-wielding attacker. I bled. You did not.
Still, I’ve been stabbed, by you, while you spit at me and called me a “white mother f****r. Your wives, mothers, and girlfriends have spit on me. You’ve punched me, kicked me, slapped me, and bit me. You and your kids have shot at me. You even shot through a window in my home, endangering my family.
I tracked down the men and women (of all races) who killed your children (of all races), and I sometimes took a beating while arresting them. Yet, you call me a racist? Me, the officer who’s been stabbed, beaten, cut, punched, slapped, kicked, spit on, and shot at…by people of all races?
But I was still there, wasn’t I? Day in and day out, working through it all to protect you and your property. And you’re angry at me? Me?
But you were my friend when your friends weren’t around. And you never hesitated to call on me when you needed me or something I had. You knew that if you were hungry you could show up at my doorstep, or stop me when I passed through your neighborhood, and I would feed you, or slip you a few dollars so you could feed your hungry kids.
Again, I get it. You’re still being treated unfairly in too many instances. And that needs to change. It really does.
But this…to march down the street destroying property, attacking police officers simply because they’re police officers, especially white police officers, is wrong, my friends. Do the protestors not understand that this is simply another form of racism/discrimination?
And to see hundreds of people marching while chanting, “What do we want? Dead Cops.” Followed by, “When do we want it? Now?
Well, that’s no different than burning cross in someone’s front yard, or draping a rope across a big, fat tree limb. No different at all. Don’t you see that?
By the way, this chanting about wanting dead cops took place during Sharpton’s organized, “peaceful” march where police officers were attacked and beaten. Remember, Sharpton is an adviser on race relations to the president of the United States.
This post is solely an opinion based on my own experiences, and it does not reflect the views of anyone other than me. So NO cop-bashing, kill whitey, etc. I will delete those comments. However, an honest, thoughtful DISCUSSION is welcome.
*One final thought, and this is in case some are not aware that police officers have absolutely nothing to do with a Grand Jury decision.
Law enforcement officers do not have even a tiny speck of control over what the Grand Jury does or how they reach their conclusion(s), which, by the way, is based on FACT, not emotion. So to fault every cop in the country for a decision reached by your very own friends, family, and/or neighbors is blame misplaced. After all, it is they, the Grand Jury, who choose to indict, or not. Not the police.
1. Never underestimate suspects. The little ones are also quite capable of inflicting enormous amounts of pain. In fact, the hardest I’ve ever been hit with a bare hand was by a woman who didn’t take too kindly to me arresting her extremely combative adult son. The young man, by the way, had just committed an armed robbery and I’d chased him on foot for several blocks. The chase ended inside dear old, sweet little (225 lb.) Mama’s house, a woman with a fist like steel and a punch like a jack hammer.
2. Crooks sometimes make really stupid comments So keep your ears open. Listen to your suspects and witnesses. After all, you just may hear a few comments like I did back in the day. Such as…
“Come on, man. I spent my last twenty bucks on that rock. At least let me smoke it before you take me to jail.”
“I didn’t rob that guy. The one I robbed had blonde hair.”
“He was already dead when I shot him. I think he had a heart attack or something when he saw my gun.”
“I was not driving the get-a-way car. The one I was driving when we robbed that store was a Mustang.”
“He couldn’t have recognized me. I was wearing a mask.”
3. Never engage in a foot pursuit when you have a perfectly healthy rookie riding shotgun.
4. If you have to shoot more than 6 times, the bad guy can still see you. Move to better cover.
5. The raincoat in your trunk is meant for the rookie riding in your passenger seat. No need for both of you to stand in the downpour. Besides, someone has to man the radio and finish the coffee. Waste not, want not.
6. Flashlights are dual-purpose tools. The handle end is great for ending confrontations. When the delivery is just right, it sounds kind of like an aluminum baseball bat hitting a softball when the battery-filled tube connects with a forehead. The other end is perfect for helping you see (in the dark) the crook’s eyes spinning like windmills after the little “love tap.”
7. Never rush into a fight-in-progress. Wait a few seconds, instead. Let the two goons wear themselves out. Then, like a lion after its prey, you can grab the one who’s the most tired and perhaps a bit wounded, while the rookie gets the still-fighting gorilla.
8. Never leave your patrol car, even for a second, with the keys in it. There’s nothing worse than chasing a bad guy on foot, wrestling with him for ten minutes, then marching the handcuffed thug back to the empty spot where you just know you left your car. I promise you’ll hear howls of laughter from the bad guy, who, by the way, will remind you of “the day you lost your police car” for the rest of your career. He’ll shout it from the curbside, the jail cell, from his prison window, and from his mother’s front porch (they almost always live with a parent, aunt, or grandparent).
9. Be sure you never, ever write a check with your mouth that your rear end can’t cash. Nothing worse than talking a big game only to find yourself sitting on the pavement looking up at a laughing bad guy who’s now holding your only pair of handcuffs. And the bruised ego is far worse than the black eye.
10. When you and your partner are in the process of arresting a combative slimeball-scumbag, always know who’s spraying the “hot sauce.” It’s a real pain in the rear when the buttwipe ducks at the precise moment both of you squeeze the button. Ever try arresting a guy when neither you nor your partner can see anything? It’s not pretty. There’s nothing like watching two crying cops wrestle an innocent waitress in the middle of bar fight while the bad guy calmly walks away.