I actually was going to post something like this a few days ago and then deleted it. I guess I was afraid of opening up too much. I was afraid of saying the wrong thing, of what people might think, etc. I’ve always been afraid of discussing sensitive and controversial topics, for fear that I might offend, but today I realized something. That fear is the enemy trying to silence me. He would love nothing more than to silence us and I’m at a point where I no longer want to be burdened by silence.
When I saw that video of George Floyd being killed, I was, like I’m sure you were, angry and heartbroken. There is just no way to justify what happened. It doesn’t matter what his past was, what mistakes he may have made in his life. He did not deserve to die and I understand why people are angry. My heart breaks for George Floyd and his family and others like him. No one is perfect and everyone deserves a chance to live and to make a better life for themselves. For victims of senseless murders, they have that chance taken away from them. Their voices are forever silenced and that breaks my heart.
Now, I see these protests happening and I have felt challenged to think about my own thoughts and what I believe in. I have never been one to publicly address my own views and even when I may be thinking something, I never speak up for fear of what others might think. Like I mentioned in that first paragraph, this is just the enemy trying to silence my voice. I look at every emotion I’ve been feeling these past two weeks and I feel like God was trying to get my attention. “Use your voice. Speak up for what you believe in.”
Well, that’s what I’m going to do here. The whole point of this blog is for me to share my inner thoughts with the world, so here we go. I am a supporter of the First Amendment. I believe in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to petition the government, and yes, the freedom to peacefully assemble. If you want to go out and stand up for what you believe in, if that means attending a protest and sharing your experiences and addressing the problems you have faced, then you better believe I will defend your right to do that. I am not going to stand here and tell people about their experiences, just like I don’t want people coming up to me and acting like they know my life better than I do.
What I don’t support? Setting stuff on fire, assaulting people in the streets, and looting stores. It’s not okay, it makes me sick to see it, and I am not going to sit here and say that it’s okay, because it’s not. I watched riot coverage for two days and barely, if at all, did I see mention of George Floyd. Because the focus wasn’t on equality and confronting injustices. No, all I saw on my TV were people setting shit on fire (excuse my language), beating each other up, and looting. Because yeah, nothing says justice like a 60″ flat screen. That was sarcasm, in case you couldn’t tell.
Look, I am not condemning people who are angry and frustrated about injustice. I know people are angry. I am not blaming anyone for being angry and hurt and scared, and I am not going to act like I understand anyone else’s experience. All I am saying is that burning our cities down is not going to make things better. Like I said, when I was watching the riots on TV, no one was talking about George Floyd or seeking justice, they were talking about the riots. Yes, that bothered me.
And here’s another thing! I believe that you can support good cops and not support the bad ones. Supporting our police does not mean that you support police brutality, abuse of power, or anything of the sort. If there are any corrupt people in our police system, then I want those people to see justice. However, there are innocent cops just trying to do their job that are getting stuff thrown at them, are beaten in the streets, and some have even gotten killed. How is that justice? How is that productive in any way? Why are people fighting evil with more evil?
I want you to take a look at someone.
This was Captain David Dorn. He was a retired police chief who was trying to defend his friend’s shop from looters. He was more than just a police officer, though. He was a husband, a father, and a grandfather. His life was cut short when it shouldn’t have been. Notice anything else? He was a black man. So yes, Black lives do matter. ALL black lives matter, including black police officers. You can’t be in support of Black Lives Matter without caring about every single black life. David Dorn should be alive today. Just like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others. If you want support Black Lives Matter, don’t be selective in which black lives you support.
Here’s something else I’ve thought about. A few weeks ago, people were protesting for their right to reopen their businesses and go back to work. I supported that protest too! Freedom of peaceful assemble, people! Now, I do have one complaint, though. Bringing your guns to the state capital. To me, that doesn’t strike me as a good way to protest. It looks threatening and I am fairly certain that it’s illegal. Just saying. Maybe keep the guns at home and bring a sign instead. Guns have bullets, signs do not.
I want to go back to our previous discussion now. Well, sort of. I am not black, so I obviously don’t know a black person’s experience. I’d be stupid to say I do. What the past two weeks have made me think about, though, are my own thoughts about the criminal justice system. So here’s a bit of a personal story. I never thought I’d be sharing this on my blog, but since I’m voicing everything else, I may as well share this.
On October 21st, 2004, my mother was murdered at the prison she worked at. She was a single mother working as a mail clerk because she, like other single moms, wanted to provide a good life for me. So she took this job. Well, there was an inmate who was working as a “trustee”. Basically, he displayed “good behavior” so he got special privileges. Well, that inmate was serving a life sentence for two counts of aggravated sexual assault. He had a clean disciplinary record and so he worked as a janitor assisting the prison’s administrative staff.
One day, my mom was getting ready to leave work, but first she had to take some files down to the file room. This sick human being was lurking, waiting, watching, and you know what he did? He shoved her into that room and she fought back, so he killed her. He strangled her to death. He was a two time sex offender and yet he was left alone where he could murder a woman. They actually trusted him to be alone and look what happened. So I don’t want to hear anyone lecture me about the criminal justice system because believe me, I get it. That criminal justice system you’re talking about? It allowed my mother’s killer privileges that he didn’t deserve.
But you know what else? I don’t hate every person that works in that prison or in criminal justice. A majority of people who work in criminal justice are good people who just want nothing more than to serve. There is that small percentage that are bad, but that doesn’t mean we should blame every single person associated with the profession.
This post was really hard for me to write. I have spent so long being afraid to speak up, to be bold in my beliefs and opinions, but this was it. This was me finally gathering enough courage to speak out instead of being overwhelmed by anxiety at the thought of pissing someone off if I say the wrong thing. I want to look at 2020 not as being a totall shitshow (again, excuse the language), but as a learning experience. I am learning that we are all different, we all have something to contribute to making our world a better place for ourselves and for future generations. Instead of letting hate fuel anger, I want to see people channel their energy into making a positive difference in our world. There’s still so much good out there, friends. Be the chance you wish to see. Take that love and light inside of you and spread it around to others. You never know the impact you might have.