UNITED STATES—The unrest recently created by the unfortunate and unnecessary death of George Floyd is a reminder of how quickly things can get out of hand. We all face many problems each and every day. So many challenges, disappointments and built up frustrations each of us has brewing inside. Each of these elements are to the boiling point and just waiting to explode.
Life is short, when I was a young boy, I was always complaining why does this and that take so long. My mother who was such a special person told me, the older you get the faster time will pass. Like most advice she gave me, she was more than right. Why waste time on hate, vindictiveness or evening the score. Fortunately, I have learned how to let things go and move on to a better life. Yesterday is gone and all that matters is today and the future. My philosophy is to learn from the past, so that tomorrow can be a brighter new day. Change must happen for all of us to enjoy a better and more meaningful life.
The George Floyd homicide is the latest episode in police brutality that has been going on for years. The majority of police officers are caring people, with a mission to serve the people. However, there are those few police officers who are rouge soldiers. These few out of control police officers often cause damage to the reputation of the many by their actions. I personally respect any person who has chosen the career as a police officer. The job is challenging and often involves a risk to the life of the police officer.
I have been treated unfairly more than once by a police officer, but more times than not it has been the opposite. I can think of many situations were the police officer cut me slack and went over the top to give me a break. I am thankful for these officers and I forgive the others. Remember, we are all human and everyone occasionally will make a mistake. The problem is when a police officer makes a mistake it often is at the cost of a person’s life (often their own).
Police officers are important to your safety and I support these brave people. In the last century there were “protection extortion racketeer gangsters” who would make people pay to be safe. If we reduce police departments this type of thuggish will return. We should all respect and support the many good police officers and quickly punish the few bad apples.
There are many factors that can be the catalyst which might cause a person to temporally get out of character and control. For example, I used to have a temper and it would be exceedingly small things that would set me off. The regret I would feel every time I lost my temper took me on a journey to solve the problem. In the end, I found that it was what I thought that made me lose my cool. I would think if this or that happens, I will be mad. Of course, I would lose my temper if this or that did happen. I retrained my mind to be solution based instead of reaction focused and it solved the problem.
With this in mind, we must first recognize that a police officer is also a person. We must all find ways to better manage human nature. We should realize that first and foremost all of us are Americans. Being an American symbolizes the concept of equality at its core. A young gentleman gave me an idea that could start an entire new way of thinking. I think he should be given the “Noble Peace Prize” for his simple idea. His name is Alex Seastrom and his suggestion is a winner.
The COVID-19 experience taught us all the power of fear. The entire world was paralyzed in lock down with borders closed due to the fear of the virus. Police need to be able to also install fear at times, as this is their advantage over criminals. However, that does not mean that methods of apprehension need to always be lethal from the start of an encounter.
The young man mentioned Alex believes that the first three rounds of a police officer’s gun should be loaded with rubber bullets or some type of ammunition that disables people without killing them. It is true that a rubber bullet can kill someone, but usually it does not create a fatality. A rubber bullet is painful and will disarm even the toughest of suspects. Have you even been hit with a paintball? It hurts and a rubber bullet is 100 times stronger than a paintball.
Alex suggests that the first three rounds of all police officers’ guns be load with rubber bullets. The remaining chambers would be loaded with live ammunition. This idea could help in the avoidance of many of today’s accidental killings. The police officer would be free from a tragic mistake in judgement and the world would be a better place. This is only one idea and I think there can be many more solutions to avoid accidental deaths. When the suspect is down and handcuffed why not step on their back instead of their neck.
Of course, solving the gun issue of accidental killings is only scratching the surface as many more things are at work here. George Floyd was killed due to pure brutality. Was prejudice involved is unknown? What is known as all too often prejudice is a factor and that must be changed.
If more people can think like Alex and find solutions to avoid the overzealous situations, then we have a nice start toward a brighter future. If our population can learn that the entire world’s population is important then yet another step toward a better humanity is realized.
I have been fortunate enough to live in various countries around the world. Places where I cannot speak the language. Situations where at first the culture is foreign and must be learned. It has taught me caring and tolerance. It has taught me love and forgiveness. It has taught me the importance of listening. It is time we all stop, listen, and create lasting changes. Changes only happen by first listening and observing. By listening once action is taken it will have purpose and can create forever changes.
I call for everyone to think like Alex and to come up with workable solutions to creating a better world. Change starts with today. Slowly we can all build a reborn attitude of fairness and equality. Forgiveness is always at the core of any fresh start. If you have showed lack of tolerance toward others in the past, you must change. You can begin by forgiving yourself for these past thoughts. Replace them with tolerance, love, understanding, listening and acceptance.
To accept others does not mean you need to join or be the same as everyone else, instead it means tolerance. There exists an old saying which basically says treat others like you would like to be treated. This is fine, but I believe for success you must take it a step further and treat others like they would like to be treated. We are all different and this uniqueness is one of the most wonderful things about being alive.
We all must accept that it is okay that someone thinks different than you. That is acceptable that someone dresses different than you. That it is cool that someone speaks a different language than you. We are all people and hence we all deserve respect and acceptance from each other. Yes, attitude and listening are the defining difference in solving social unrest problems. To accept others for who they are is so important. I advise to stop trying to clone yourself on others and instead just appreciate the other person for who they are. Changes always take time but by starting today we are that much closer to the Utopian world we all dream about.
As a final note, “Black Life’s Matter” does not mean “Only Black Life’s Matter.” It simply draws attention to imbalances and injustice. To support “Black Life’s Matter” does not preclude you from also supporting any variety of other important and meaningful causes. With this explained It seems no one should be against supporting “Black Life’s Matter.” Supporting a good cause in peaceful law-abiding ways is a step toward the common and universal goal of creating a level playing field for “all races of people.”
In the end with this and other campaigns awareness is created. With increased visibility, we can all enjoy a better life by being given equal opportunities. I wrote this article because “My Life Matters” and I want to make a positive difference in the world in which we live. If we can all take this attitude, I assure you the future will be brighter in every possible way. Be a difference maker as “Your Life Does Matter.”
Written By John Probandt