I'd loot too

I know what you are thinking...

WHOA!  FULL STOP!  Did that cop say he would loot too?  Is he an anarchist?  A rabble rouser?  A criminal cop?

I'm none of those, and nor would I loot.

Now.

Based on my life's circumstances and how my finances are in place I don't need to.  I can fully support my family, pay my bills, and have a few hobbies.  I can keep a roof over my head, food on the table, and clothes on everyone's back.

Even as a kid growing up in a large family, my father worked and was our main source of income.  I got a paper route at a young age to start saving money with, and was able to buy myself toys and eventually a car when I was old enough.  My mother did some in home babysitting to shore up some more family finances, so I had plenty and was taken care of.

But I still had the spaghetti dinners, the whatever-lunch-meat-on-sale sandwiches, we drove (very) old cars, I wore hand-me-downs from other families being the eldest in mine, my first bicycle was probably something from the 60s and I was born in the 80s.  My parents had a 1 gallon change jar they'd cash in right before vacation as our family fun fund.

While I look at where I am now and where I was then I can see the "lack" my parents had to operate in.

BUT...

My father still was able to work.
We still had food.
We still had a house.
We had working cars.
I could ride my bicycle out in front and didn't worry about violence.
My neighbors were cops and firefighters and parishioners and city workers, and we knew them.

So...

Imagine being and having none of what I had.  Being part of a societal system that was established generations before me that would quietly subvert the vast majority of my chances to get out of it.

Being homeless.
Being dirty.
Being hungry. 
Being cold.
Having clothes that don't fit properly. 
Maybe even having 1 or 2 good outfits, neither of which are very clean.
Living in a building that in other neighborhoods would be deemed unlivable and condemned.
Hearing gun fire.
Seeing people that look like me dead in the streets from violence.
Having store owners that aren't from my neighborhood offering "services" of tobacco products, poor nutrition food, and a job getting paid cash under the table that would cause most people with decent sensibilities to turn their nose up at the option of working there.
Being offered more money to sell poison to my neighbors and strangers. 

Now take those life experiences and now a man that looks like me is all over social media having died at the hands of these other people who were supposed to protect me.  You find yourself angry, hurt, abandoned, and marching along thousands of others in the main economic engine of the city you live in.

All around you is money, prosperity, posh living, and all the things you know you could never afford yourself.

Suddenly a white kid dressed in all black runs up, takes a skateboard or metal pole and walks up to that bit window and then, SMASH!, the window isn't there.

You're already there, you're angry, and you look down.  You've got old clothes on, you know it was your cleanest outfit you had, your shoes are falling apart or they don't fit.  You look around, your peers are looking around too.  The window smasher walks off and leaves this gaping hole.

You know there isn't much at home for you, you feel like you have nothing and suddenly you realize that you can step through that window and have something.

I watched my city burn all over, started and provoked by a lot people that didn't look like they were asking for their rights and such to be addressed.  

When you've been made to feel like nothing, good chance have much of nothing, and your future looks like nothing....something, even stolen, is better than nothing.

I can't say I blame most of the looters.  Yes some took advantage of the (so far) week long protest, and not all the window breakers were white anarchists. But we have to address the root causes a lot of these people felt was the cause of this.  Hard conversations need to be had, this won't be a hats and bats situation, but a coffee and lunch situation.

I implore all my fellow officers, talk. 

Talk to the protesters, talk to those getting out of lockup, talk to your fellow officers who grew up in the bad areas and know first hand, from both sides, how this may have all started.  Do so with an open mind, and learn to sit and listen.  It's hard, especially when you are blamed for what Chauvin did in Minnesota.

But every time a officer falls we all feel it because we can see ourselves in that memorial photo or body cam video of the officer getting killed, why shouldn't a citizen feel the same way when someone that looks like them dies in incidents involving the police?

Lack of dialogue got us into this mess, dialogue will be what gets us out.

Comments

  1. Dear Sir, thank you so much for sharing this.

    May God Bless you and all the police officers, you are in my prayers.


    Regards,
    Marc Migdal

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hear what you're saying although I came to this party over a month late. I get the feeling that many of those looters and rioters aren't that interested in a conversation. Even a month later there's not conversation. Police are the bad guys no matter what conversation they try to have. I'd be willing to talk with a police officer about his job and how hard it is and understand their POV more than I'd want to preach about what they should do.

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