Speaking of Protests

The latest headline of a policeman’s bullet killing a supposedly innocent and unarmed man is crushing to read. According to reports, a young man was gunned down by police on the eve of his wedding. Protests have filled city streets and prominent minority leaders are on the scene voicing concern over police leadership and practices. The need to raise one’s voice and demand better of police is understandable. The taking of innocent life is alarming, especially at the hands of those in a position to protect and serve.

Though I support the effort to organize and demand answers in this situation, I am disappointed the taking of innocent life by those who aren’t in law enforcement barely generates a gasp anymore. Police officers are continually exposed to more aggressive criminals with younger faces and impressive weaponry. They put their lives on the line every day. It is no wonder to me tragedies happen as a result of jumpy trigger fingers. Perhaps if individuals were equally as loud over the crime that lays the foundation for these types of tragedies, they would become more rare. When the news captures groups protesting crime, the protests are usually directed at police and city officials. Participants demand to know why aren’t they doing more to stop the violence? Why must police always be in the wrong? Why not target the criminals who are at the heart of the problem? When are we going to stand up as a society and get loud about criminals? When are we going to fill the streets and shout out our refusal to tolerate the violent and illegal behavior that makes our police officers’ jobs so dangerous? When are we going to accept there is only so much a man or woman in a bullet proof vest can accomplish without the full support and assistance of the community?

The courage it takes to put on a badge and take to the streets is immense. Instead of simply reacting with scorn to the episodes where police officers have made an error in judgment or have acted aggressively in stressful situations, let us do our part to help rewrite the job description of those in blue. Let them be the keepers of peace instead of warriors on a deadly battlefield.

4 Responses to “Speaking of Protests”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Lisa, this is gorlitsa from pg.org, and I really want to thank you for this post. My husband is a police officer, and was caught on film escorting some protestors from a mild riot a few months ago. If he hadn’t just passed probation, he might have lost his job. Thank you for supporting our men in uniform and calling attention to the unfair treatment they get in the media.

  2. lisa says:

    Elizabeth, I believe anyone who is willing to risk his/her life every day to do a job deserves support and consideration when faced with challenging situations. The rush to crucify is unsettling. I don’t see the possible benefit of discrediting the police…as if they are the enemy. It seems unfair to me for someone to ‘call’ for someone to lose their job when the person doing the ‘calling’ is unwilling to take on the job himself. Not that innocent deaths and arrests should be swept under the rug. And not that every cop is perfect and good. Rotten eggs or people who are unqualified to serve need to be identified when possible. Let’s stop the witch hunt though. Let’s accept we are continuing to put police in dangerous and impossible circumstances.

  3. Holly says:

    What a well said post! I have been thinking the same thing but you put everything much more eloquently. I have many friends who are police officers and they are faced with risky situations every day and have to make split second decisions to preserve lives. We don’t know the full story yet on this situation, but it is heartbreaking that the death of young children by stray bullets in the same area don’t get the same press or protest attention.
    BTW- Suz (Kaden’s mommy) is a very close friend. She sent me your blog address and I’m going to be a new reader of yours!!

  4. lisa says:

    Welcome Holly. Thank you so much for your post. I’m so glad you plan to stop by again.

    I completely agree with you. No one is saying innocent deaths at the hands of police officers should be ignored. Any loss of life is significant. Demanding answers and better practices is essential. What we are saying is why are these deaths being met with more outrage and unity than the everyday murders and violent situations cops are faced with processing/preventing/diffusing? In Baltimore, where I’m from, we often hear news stories of children caught in the middle of violence and losing their lives as a result. Where are the protests? If a police officer’s gun killed a child in the middle of a chaotic situation, you can bet we would see the cardboard signs and hear the demands for action. Have we given up on our ability to stop or reform criminals that the only people we are willing to demand better of are the police? How shameful we expect someone’s willingness to risk his/her life for our protection, yet we quickly throw them under the bus when the opportunity presents.