I follow the blog “Scary Mommy” because of course, I’m a mommy and I’ve been told I can be scary so why not follow it. But one of the posts in the last day hit a sore spot with me. I’m listing it below. I respect people blogging about what bothers them; that’s what this whole online world of thoughts and feelings and musings is all about, I guess. But I also believe that you can use these opportunities to share your own perspective with people. If they don’t know, then you can’t expect them to understand. With the events that have happened this week, I am hurting. and I am angry. But I don’t have time to stop and I can’t call in to work because I’m upset about it. I have to go to the place that requires me to strap on a vest and a gun and all my other equipment and I have to deal with reality. You may want to read her post before reading my comment in order for it to make sense.
Here’s my comment:
I read this and attempted to do my best not to allow anger to fill me because I honestly believe that when most people speak on this, they really are doing it from a place of fear and lack of true understanding. I do believe most people on both sides of the debate wish for peace and oneness and all the other words that fill facebook posts and hashtags. My words won’t fix anything. But I ask that you consider them.
You spoke of your cancer. I’ve never had cancer. I imagine a lot of your readers never had cancer. I know nothing about the pain, both physical or mental, that you’ve gone through. I know nothing of the types of treatments that your doctors are experts at to rid you of this killing disease. I’ve read all the social media posts and little articles that talk about the cause of cancer being from sugar and how if you eat superfoods, they kill cancer cells. I’ve heard all the tricks to help nausea, from drinking ginger ale to sucking on peppermints. Did you receive advice from people on what to do or how to treat your cancer? Were some of these people like me, having never had cancer but they read an article once? In addition, when you had kids did people who had never had children give you parenting advice? Did they tell you that you shouldn’t breastfeed your child past a certain age (as you point out in your latest post)? My point to these questions is this: Your doctors and you (the person who had the cancer and had researched it) knew better how to handle your cancer. Your doctors and you fought your cancer, physically and you won. The advice people gave you, while meant to help, came from a perspective of naivety and wishful thinking to your problem. The parenting advice people gave you came from a place of lack of knowledge and understanding. The judgement people gave you(which you speak alot of in your other posts, telling people not to judge) regarding when to stop breastfeeding, came from a place of second guessing and shaming.
I’m a police officer. I’m kind hearted, I treat people with respect and I act professionally. I hope I never have to pull the trigger. But I’ve come close, damn close. I am compassionate and I understand that there are people who are the way they are either because of the environment they had no choice in being brought up in or because something happened in their life that pushed them down that road. I feel for them. But make no mistake; I am taught to eliminate the threat. And I will. It is sad, devastating and affects everyone’s life that’s involved, there is no mistaking that. But to simply say words like “Do not allow yourself to rationalize these deaths” and “what happened to the part where he is arrested, read his rights, and taken to jail?” further shows your lack of understanding for the dynamics and biomechanics of a physical force situation. There is no rationalization; there is justification. The intent in the initial contact is for the purpose of exactly what you said-arrest and jail. But that cannot occur in the unfolding interaction with an uncooperative subject. The situation becomes unpredictable and each action brings a reaction. This is all occurring while all subjects sympathetic nervous systems are elevated, which causes the “flight or fight” response you’ve probably heard of. During this time, all subjects are affected by it and in someone who does not want to go to jail, that response can be more devastating and cause more poor decisions. This is why people who have commented on different social media outlets don’t get why “2 officers couldn’t just hold him down and hang onto his hand.” Officers should not be expected to allow themselves to be injured or killed to keep from doing the same to a suspect who is actively engaging in the fight. Officers are more often injured and or killed doing just that; hesitating or attempting to fight someone using less force than needed due to perception and public and department scrutiny. But this is the real world, not the “wishful thinking, why can’t we all just get along, no one should be killed for selling CD’s” world. All of those things are wonderful and I so wish they could be accomplished. But they are words spoken by people who do not understand that the reason we have police and judges and jails are because in spite of those that wish to live in a peaceful world, there are others that bring chaos.
Police work is rewarding and deep and complex and hard for the normal citizen to understand. And it involves violence-it always will. And I know that is scary for those that choose to avoid violence at all costs, whether out of fear or personality or whatever the reason. The video is hard to watch, not just for people who don’t understand it, but for those of us that do. I’m watching it and I can point out in detail what is happening and make a informed assumption as to why the officers did what they did. It doesn’t change the fact that it is violent, deadly and disturbing-I recognize that it is. But please know that many of the statements and feelings you and other make about it, are coming from a place of pure emotion and fear and no understanding of that type of situation. Mr Sterling did not die because he was selling CD’s, Mr. Castile did not die because he had a broken tail light-they did not die because of their past criminal history-they died because of their actions on that day.
As you ask mothers in your posts to hold their judgement of other mothers and stop shaming each other, I ask that you hold your judgement of police officers who have to make awful, life changing decisions which can lead to injury or death. There are people killed by police that are deemed unjustified, and understandably so. But these are few and far between. And a full investigation will be and should be done when a person, no matter their past record, has lost their life. Racism is certainly a real thing, it always has been. But unfortunately, it is being used as a platform to distract from a bigger problem in our country. We have neighborhoods being run by criminals who are terrorizing the innocent minorities. We have children killing children, we have capable young black men who have the potential to change our world but choose the criminal life. Trust me, police would love to see these men thrive. We have officers that work with teens to try and keep them away from the criminal element. We are not the enemy. But if you attempt to inflict injury to us or other people, we will do our job. Our ugly, violent, sad job. And I can’t apologize for that because while that may make someone feel warm and fuzzy, it’s not realistic. I hurt for members in the black community that have to deal with fear and crime and the ugly side of life. And I do not deny that some of them have been the victim of racism from other people. I work with officers who came from those neighborhoods, who have heard those same sentiments. But do not point the finger at the protector and choose to shield your sensitive heart by ignoring the aggressor.Because then we are right back to the fantasy world you wish to live in that sounds good in a post. Sorry for the extended comment but I hope I’ve offered a perspective that some might have learned from. Others will label and curse me and that’s fine too. It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened to me 🙂 Be kind and pray for our country or keep it in your thoughts or meditate about it, whatever your preference.
Photo taken from https://www.humanizingthebadge.com/ facebook page.