The more radical I become in my activism the more extreme my positions of love become.
I often like to tell you to love pedophiles. I do that because I know it’s the hardest challenge of love for many of you (unless of course you have a loved one that is a pedophile, like I do).
Here we are 2 days after the Grand Jury found that 8 police officers were justified when they shot Jayland Walker 46 times with 90 bullets. And I’m telling you to love our police officers.
Everything about that message sounds cruel and possibly even racist. How can you side with the police when they so clearly murdered Jayland Walker?
Make no mistake, they MURDERED Jayland Walker.
I watched the still pictures of the shooting. It clearly looks like he reached into his pockets. And then it very clearly looks like he stretched his arm straight out.
They tried tasing him. It didn’t work.
I very easily could have been the person to decide to pull the trigger on that first bullet. Based on what I saw, that makes sense to me.
Within 6 seconds another 89 bullets were fired.
And I’m here to tell you I could have shot that 90th bullet just as I could have shot the 1st bullet.
To think you would have acted differently in that situation is a delusion. Maybe you wouldn’t have acted in the same way. But statistically we know that’s just not true.
It’s always a delusion to think you would have been better than the people who supported a terrible outcome. Do you really think you would have been one of the people to hide Jews in your attic in Nazi Germany? I highly doubt I would have. My activism always happens very neatly and conveniently away from my personal home and family. I’m as much of a coward as anyone on planet Earth.
Have you ever been to a shooting range?
You put on your ear protection, you put on your eye protection. You bring the gun you want to fire neatly organized in a bag with extra magazines and bullets and other handy items. Maybe you like to use a mechanism to help you load more easily.
You open the soundproof door with your bag on one shoulder and your favorite target you just bought from the sweet lady at the checkout counter.
You go to the booth that has been pre-selected for you. You set your bag on the counter in front of you, you put your target on the auto-feeding mechanism and then BAM! someone shoots off a round a couple booths down from you.
It makes me jump every single time.
You slow down. You take your time getting all your items organized and ready. You hear it again. BAM! And again BAM!
You slowly get acclimated to the surroundings.
And then eventually you get your gun loaded. You remember to keep your trigger finger on the side of the gun. Never on the trigger. You remember your 2-handed stance. You think about your feet positioning. You take a breath in and then as you are breathing out you slowly pull the trigger until your gun fires. BAM!
It’s incredibly loud. The kick of the gun is severe. A casing goes flying out of your semi-automatic gun.
You start the process over. Remember your stance. Remember your hand-hold. Breathe in, slowly breathe out. BAM!
You get acclimated to the surroundings slowly. Very slowly.
It’s shocking every single time.
Now throw that all out the window as you are chasing a masked man at midnight who had just fired a round out of his car window. 7 other people around you. Yelling. Running. Adrenaline pumping. No eye protection. No ear protection. Just the hellish scenario that came out of nowhere, right before your eyes.
You jump. You are panicked. BAM! BAM!
You don’t have time to think.You are now in a war zone.
You aren’t relying on your prefrontal cortex of your brain that intelligently regulates your thoughts and actions and emotions. You are now fully in the almond-shaped mass of gray matter called the amygdala. It drives core animal fear. Fight or flight.
You are instantly in the fight of your life. Everything is flashing in your brain. Your kids. Your wife. Your dog. When you were a kid and you got your first bicycle for your birthday.
Everything is about trying to save all that for one more day.
If you think you wouldn’t have emptied your clip that night I highly doubt you are being honest with yourself.
There are some people that probably would have been more comfortable in that situation. Actively trained military probably would have handled it much differently.
Have you ever watched these videos of young guys in an urban warfare setting, talking to the camera like they are standing on a street corner on Main Street U.S.A as mortar fire and bullets are going off all around them? The entire scene is insane.
They got trained and they got acclimated.
Maybe in addition to de-escalation training we need more urban warfare training. I don’t know. All I do know is we have to figure out how to stop it from happening next time.
Americans are great Monday morning quarterbacks. And usually the answer to some atrocity is “lock ‘em up and throw away the key.”
That answer is as idiotic as it is impossible.
There is only one answer to solving an atrocity. And that’s going to the heart of the matter. And there is only one way to do that: LOVE.
We have to love people so that we understand what they are going through. Love is the same word as empathy, compassion, understanding. If you think I’m being too unrealistic with my word “love” then use whatever word gets you to the same place.
Instead of telling the police what they need to do (this is what we do to homeless people, by the way) we need to ASK the police what they need. What would they like to help them do their job better? What does it mean to them to do their job better?
These 8 police officers should be named and fired. Not because we hate them. But because we deserve the right as citizens of a society to be protected. We need to trust the systems of our society. How can we trust a system that allows our “protectors” to shoot us as many times as they see fit? But that will not be happening. The system wins again. Just like in Vegas, the house always wins.
Here’s an article that came out less than 2 weeks ago:
Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown has released his agency’s report documenting a long history of widespread child sex abuse and systemic cover-up by clergy and others associated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, United States, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and murdered 26 people. Twenty of the victims were children between six and seven years old, and the other six were adult staff members.
The biggest lessons we are learning as we grow up from being naive American children of the 1950s is not that atrocities happen. It’s that the systems are broken, untrustworthy and uncaring. Things may shift around. But at the core nothing will change.
Churches will continue to cover up their sex abuse scandals. 6 year old children will continue to be slaughtered. Police officers will brutally murder unarmed Black men. AND NOTHING WILL CHANGE. NOTHING WILL BE DONE TO MAKE THE SYSTEM BETTER.
The 8 Akron police officers that murdered Jayland Walker will walk anonymously among us with guns. Clearly changed one way or another from this extreme situation. They will be protected at all costs and we will be less safe because of it.
We must grow up and realize that’s the truth. SYSTEMS DON’T CHANGE.
But there is also another truth. Just as much as the systems will fail us like clockwork, the people of America will rise to the occasion like clockwork.
If, right now in this long article, I were to put in a request for a tent for the biggest loser homeless person you’ve ever met in your life, I guarantee someone would get it for me. Your compassion is as reliable as the sun rising every morning. It’s so consistent I never doubt it. It’s the manifestation of the love of God. It’s a never-ending river of giving and kindness and love.
That’s the strength of the world. The love of the people. We need to play to our strengths. And our greatest strength is our unending love that we bring.
We can try to make the systems better. I guess.
Get more cameras. Get more training. Try to get rid of qualified immunity. But the foundational principles will never change. Systems will protect themselves at any cost. It’s not the 8 police officers that are the problem. Or the pedophile clergy or the mass school shooters. IT’S THE SYSTEMS THAT PROPAGATE THESE SITUATIONS. And I’m telling you, they will never change. Never.
It makes the anarchists look good. Maybe they have a point. Just burn it all to the ground. The people will do better than what we have now.
But ultimately that’s not true.
Roads, Internet, fire departments, EMS, the electrical grid, hospitals, medicine. These are systems that we really can’t replicate as individual people.
But we can learn something from the anarchists. I believe we need to work on needing the systems less and relying on our neighbors more. The more we can sideline the police, the clergy and the politicians the better we are going to be collectively.
Don’t burn the systems to the ground. Just use them as little as necessary.
If we want to work on something, I think we should work on minimizing our use of the police. We could work more on community security clubs. But that would be a huge shift in Akron. We call 911 all the time. We call 911 so often that police can’t do the things we say we want them to do: be more involved in the community as partners.
We all play a role in the responsibility of the extreme murder of Jayland Walker.
Every time you dial 911 for something that you could have handled on your own or by calling a friend, you are taking away time for police to do foot patrols and community building. You are pulling the police (the government) into your personal business. You are asking them to get mixed up in it all.
We must stop looking at what other people are doing wrong and spend all our judgmental time looking at what we individually are doing wrong.
We all share the blood of Jayland Walker. It’s on all of our hands.
We fix that by practicing compassion and understanding of people who make us angry and hateful. It’s like being angry at the tornado for tearing down your house. The anger will do no good.
Let go of your hatred of the police. It’s pointless. They got caught up in the situation. They are not properly trained. And they are working in a city filled with illegal guns. It’s not hard to understand where they are coming from. Let it go. They are free and anonymous in Akron right now.
If we want to fix the police situation in Akron, it doesn’t start with the police, it starts with the person reading this article right now. What are YOU going to do about it? If safety is your big issue, what are YOU going to do to make us more safe? Otherwise, these 2000 words were a waste of computer pixels.