Righteous, equitable or moral. These are the textbook words to define the word justice. These are the cries of those in the streets. “No Justice, No Peace!” This is what is sought in retribution for the death of George Floyd. I watched the protests. The words were good. The crowds cried their truth. Then the mobs took over and what followed were not shouts of truth. Look at the images of those looting, rioting, shouting at the police and making mayhem. These are not people who live these lives. These are not people who will pay the consequences of their actions. Search for the images and video yourself. The facts do not lie. As you read my words today know this, the tone has changed. I know this, but my love for the truth outweighs my fear of offending you.
Matt has begun to share with me some of the stories of what transpired. I cannot share most of them publicly, for many reasons, but what I can share I will. In the first day of the protests, Matt was dispatched to the front lines. Literally, he stood in his riot gear, behind a cement barricade, across from those with immense pain and stories to share. Matt told me of conversations with people protesting. He told me of honest, raw conversations that felt genuine and understood. He assured me that this is work that needs to be done. He feels a moral obligation to do so. He feels confident if these conversations continue that the community and police could find solutions and help one another heal their hearts. He shared with me that when he trains new officers, he always reminds them that no matter what, under all circumstances, that he gives everyone a chance when he meets them. He said that he believes this is why he has lasted so long. He says that he tells them that everyone has a story, and most often, people just want to share it and be heard. He believes that if everyone believed this, and took the time to ask, that it would bridge the divide.
I am going to argue that police are not our problem. I watch in complete horror with what the city council is proposing for Minneapolis. I could care less about Matt’s job. He is in a position that if they do defund the department, that he could close this chapter of his life and walk away. My angst and pain comes from knowing that this will pull apart, brick by brick, a city that is already crumbling. I know in my heart that this will not bring pain to those neighborhoods that have means. The city council knows this as well. This is why they speak with such resolve. They know damn well that they can afford private protection, and will not suffer in the least. What most have not actualized, is that everyone else will literally be left to their own devises. Poorer neighborhoods will suffer the most. Those with the least will have even less. Violence will not disappear, it will grow like a cancer and spread. It will eat away at what is left of the beautiful, hard-working, kind, compassionate people left behind. The people calling for this change know all of this. They are feeding us all a pack of lies.
Social workers, psychologists, therapists and community outreach workers are all phenomenal people and highly valuable members of our world. They are necessary to help police do their work. They can’t and will never be a replacement for law enforcement. They literally cannot enforce the law. Some of my best friends and colleagues are some of the above outlined. They are some of the best people I know. But believe me when I say this, they cannot run into a home where someone is beating on their spouse, holding a gun to their head, and diffuse this situation.
I saw a rather uneducated quote posted by someone I know, it is from the brainchild behind police de-funding. It says that “part of our misunderstanding about the nature of policing is we keep imagining that we can turn police into social workers. That we can make them nice, friendly community outreach workers. But police are violence workers” (Alex Vitale, The End of Policing). NO FUCKING SHIT!! However, violence people is not going to magically go away with the addition of social workers, psychologists and community outreach workers. Violence my friends is human nature and is old as time. Response to violence is not a social worker, psychologist or community outreach workers’ skill set. It never will be. Their role comes in when the violence is calm. What will be asked of them will put them in danger, and ultimately allow crime to take over neighborhoods. Injustice will become an undertone in everything that touches these neighborhoods. The necessary reality about law enforcement is that they fight what most fear or even worse, believe DOES NOT EXIST!!! The assumption and load of complete nonsense people are being fed, is that fighting violence and having the ability to work with the community are mutually exclusive. Give me a damn break!
So for those who attended riots, continue to spew twitter rants, and engage in non-productive conversations to call for “justice”, I ask you to take off your ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards) t-shirts, put down your white guilt (people do not need pity), get up from your knees, and have a conversation with these actual communities, police and the people combined, and then you can decide.
The world is not equitable or equal people. This needs to be taught. Equity is a theory and equality is a fairy tale. The world is not fair or equal. It just is not. We are fighting the wrong fight. Morality is fair and equal. Morality decides right from wrong. Morality is missing in our culture. Morality will close the divide. When a society embraces morality, equality will no longer be a fairy tale. Justice does not see color. Justice grows from the seeds of morality.
Say a prayer each day, as I will, that those who are shouting these horrific changes are to be made can find their morality, for clearly they are lost. Justice and peace my dear people can only be found through a moral heart and mind.