My son is autistic. My brother was a police officer. I’ve lived all over the world. I’ve lived with a group of people that are very proud of their genetic makeup. I’ve lived with a group of people that mostly embraced me in spite of mine. My children have been the minority in their school. At the time, my little people weren’t aware. My big kids were very aware, sometimes bullied not necessarily because they were white sometimes because they are military brats. The short point to my long sentence is our perspective may be different than yours.
I read the story yesterday. You know the one. An unarmed black man with his hands in the air trying to protect an autistic patient was shot. Thankfully he was only injured and not killed. You can read the story here.https://gma.yahoo.com/video-shows-unarmed-man-ground-hands-police-shoot-103603747–abc-news-topstories.html
Sigh… I read it and then read it again. My first thought was “what would Tye say?” My heart broke knowing that officer knew he made a horrific mistake. My heart broke for the man who was protecting a patient. My heart broke because he felt the great need to protect a patient from the police. My heart broke for the pain he will endure. My heart broke for the damage this will do to another community. It is still breaking as I scroll through the Facebook posts of my friends.
I am white. I don’t have the benefit of truly knowing the perspective of a black American. I do know a little about a police officer’s perspective. I do have a degree in criminal justice. My only brother was a police officer. While I wish I could ask Tye what he thought, I think I can speak a little to how he might respond.
The officer most likely reacted out of fear. I’m not in his head so I can’t say. He even said he wasn’t sure how he reacted that way. I hate that the fallen world we live in makes it so that the people we choose to protect us are worried about their own safety at a suicide call.
I think Tye would say we expect too much from all of our first responders. They are expected to walk into volatile situations and be psychiatrist, babysitters, field medics, family counsellors all while upholding our laws and in the back of their minds…now they have snipers to worry about. We are expecting them to do all that with little support from the community.
So what do I think about this situation? It’s a tragedy. It’s horrible. I wish I could walk back and change everything that happened and I’m probably not the only one. A few days ago, one of my children almost closed a door on Jack. She was excited, in a hurry, irresponsible but there was no real intention to hurt her brother. I was angry. I scolded her. I explained what might have happened and how awful things could have been.
Now, don’t get your panties in a twist. I know almost is only important when you play with horseshoes and hand grenades. There is very little about a slammed door that can compare with a gun shot. I’m sure this officer has a sick feeling like Bria had. He reacted. He reacted badly. He hurt someone else and an entire community and maybe even an entire country of people will have repercussions from that single millisecond reaction. I am so disappointed but I can’t revile him. I don’t know what happened to him that made him react that way. I don’t think he should be working as a police officer. I am sick for his family. I think he will be paying for this mistake for the rest of his life.
Why am I telling you all this? I don’t want my children growing up thinking police officers are inherently bad or judgemental or racist. I don’t know what it must be like to raise a young black man up and send him out in the world. I do have friends that have done it. They’ve raised these precious spirits to be kind, generous loving men. I can’t imagine a police officer being threatened by any one of them. I only hope we can all stop. Let’s talk about this in a reasonable manner. More than that, let’s pray.
My friend recently posted this.