Half of my news feed on FB is black lives matter and the other half is all lives matter. The BLM comes from my “new friends,” ones I met while traveling or living in NYC as an adult. The ALM friends are “old friends,” those I grew up with in my very white town in New Jersey. One foot in each places I see the hurt from both places. Not just the hurt from the recent events but the drug abuse, lack of educational options, and general lack of opportunities that have been going on for years.
Once the shooting in Dallas took place I immediately thought this isn’t a race thing.. this is a mental health and gun thing. I was surprised to see nothing on face book pointed to mental health. Simultaneously the militarization of the police department has been seldom spoken about. Who are these two men who took police officers lives? Military men who have no place in American society. They were trained experts in killing and brought back to a country with little mental health support and a gun loving culture. Men that once received great respect but are now lost in a culture that promotes independence and resilience; not care, support, and love.
I support Black Lives Matter because as an ambiguously brown woman who has lived in countries that has no 911, I feel safe calling the police and anticipate a positive interaction when they arrive. However, if I were black the series of events that take place after calling the police is significantly varied and negative. As an American we ALL have the right to feel safe, and protected from the police. Its a terrifying thought that the 2nd amendment was created for the general population to be able to fight against the military if a situation arose where a significant group felt their rights, safety, and freedom were being challenged. Is this not exactly what is happening to our citizens of colors? Shouldn’t the second amendment supports be happy? Obviously not but doesn’t this turn the gun rights debate on its head?
My meager two cents… The police department is an independent body, not run or controlled by any government body. No general oversight of these 18,000 police departments across the U.S., some offer non bias training and some are run by extremely racist citizens. What I believe needs to happen moving forward.. Put down your banners, stop fighting your fellow powerless neighbor on whether black lives or all lives matter and find out when your local government meets. Go to the meetings. Go to your police department and find out the names and backgrounds to your local police officers. What is the culture? How do you want it to change? What social services does your community offer to veterans? Who are your veterans? What mental health services does your community offer? Join groups that advocate for more services. We’ve yelled, and cried enough. Now is the time to sit down with your neighbor, opponent, or foe and make a list of problems, make a list of possible solutions, make a list of the key players and start DOING the work and enough COMPLAINING about all the problems.
This was written fast… and deserves so much more time, stats, research, and love but had been rolling around my mind and needed to be put to text.