I am probably being super naïve, and certainly corny, but I have always loved the Andy Griffith Show. I know that it represented a small fictional town; but here, Sheriff Andy knew the citizens he was to serve and protect.
Of course, since it was fictional there was very little crime, the most frequent “crime” was dealing with Otis the town drunk. But looking at our society today, compared to the town of Mayberry, the one thing I see missing is empathy. I know all society has its own dysfunctions, but I believe that if law enforcement would really get to know those whom they are charged with serving and protecting, police shootings of people of color, mainly African Americans would greatly decrease.
I believe I have said this before either on Facebook or as another Daily Prompt post. But it is time for something drastic. It’s beyond training or maybe it is training plus comprehensive background checks that include looking at candidates’ biases, making the police force look like the communities they serve, and having community events where the personnel patrolling that community are there to get to know who they are serving, protecting.
Law Enforcement, it’s not impossible to know your community. It is important to know your community. Community events or even in the daily patrol talking with the community eases the tension. It will take time to build trust, but we have to start somewhere.
Back to the Andy Griffith show, I particularly like this scene that shows how Andy and Barney deal with Otis the town drunk. Here even gun happy, Barney had empathy.
I get it that when we don’t know people of a different ethnicity, we may be apprehensive about them. I have found and am still discovering how much we are the same. I recently saw this when a young Russian couple from my church invited my husband and I over for dinner.
When the wife and I started talking about our previous churches, we were both amazed how alike our churches were. Both churches had children choirs, youth choirs, senior choirs, mass choirs and male choirs. At both churches, the attendees felt the need to wear their Sunday best. The music was a very important focus.
I would have never known that had we not spent time together.
These names are of those who died by the hand of policemen. It isn’t a comprehensive list. But in each of these cases, the outcome should have been much different. We need to come out of the darkness and address what we know in the light of day.
There are definite policy changes to be made. This cannot continue to happen. We are all of one race, the human race. We may look different, have different upbringings, but we are all the same.
And hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. Acts 17:26
Yes, we are of one blood. Can we see this? Can each of us reach out to someone that is not like us? It helps to dissolve stereotypes. That would be a great beginning.
My response to the Daily Prompt – Darkness.