CHARLOTTE, N.C., August 30, 2015 – At the risk of sounding crass, the latest buzz-phrase “black lives matter” is nothing more than a hot-button expression that ramps up racial tension. Truth is, the idiom is just plain stupid, because it implies that “other lives DO NOT matter.”
EVERY life matters…regardless of ethnicity.
Last week in Charlotte, another white on black police incident resulted in a hung jury following the trial. A local white police officer was charged with excessive violence for shooting a black assailant multiple times.
The jury voted 8-4 in favor of acquittal, but given the high number of guilty votes, the judge called for a mistrial that, for now, will not be retried.
Protests followed the verdict, and they were peaceful, unlike Ferguson and other places. But the signs of protest outside the courtroom still echoed the all-too-familiar phrase “black lives matter.”
Only last week, two white reporters were gunned down and killed on live television in Roanoke, Va. There was no rioting. No looting. Nor were there signs claiming that “Innocent White Lives Matter Too.”
Instead the loudest voices came from the gun control lobby rather than the racial elements of society.
At the same time the jury in Charlotte was deliberating last week, an innocent bystander in the same city was driving his wife home from work when he noticed a police helicopter making tight circles in the sky above his car.
Four men suddenly ran from another car that was stopped by the side of the road in front of the witness and his wife. Immediately, three police officers came from seemingly nowhere in pursuit of the alleged criminals.
Within minutes, the four perpetrators were lying on their stomachs on the ground with their hands cuffed behind their backs. It happened quickly, efficiently and without undue force by any law enforcement official upon their captives.
According to the bystander and his wife, the police executed their duties efficiently and within all the proper guidelines of law enforcement to apprehend the offenders.
“It happened just like a perfectly executed football play,” commented the male witness.
While relating his story, the bystander was impressed by how the officers who found themselves in a personally dangerous situation conducted themselves in capturing the wrongdoers without excess force.
More often than not, that is the way police officers go about their business on a daily basis in most places in this country. And, guess what, that NEVER makes the news. Why? Because that’s the way it is supposed to be and that is the way it is done most of the time.
In any given hour of the day, thousands of airplanes are in the sky around the United States and the world carrying uncountable numbers of passengers. On most days, 100 percent of those planes take off and land without incident, and the flying public comes and goes about its routine business.
Then on one rare day, a single jet liner has a tragic accident killing everyone on board the plane. It is a major catastrophe and, of course, a major news story. It should be. Such an event should not be minimized in any way.
But given the percentage of travelers who fly safely around the world on a daily basis, the odds against such an accident are almost as high as winning the lottery.
Law enforcement is no different. Police officers put their lives on the line every time they put on their uniforms, as do our brave men and women in the military.
Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes they do not happen nice and neat and according to the book. Sometimes people get hurt and even killed. Sometimes they are also innocent, like the reporter and cameraman in Roanoke who were merely doing their jobs on a routine assignment.
When excessive force is used to the extreme, it should be punished.
But that is NOT the same as politicizing a situation for racial gain or influence.
This country needs to wake up and begin using some common sense rather than resorting to knee-jerk, violent reactions that result in rioting and looting and further injury, sometimes death, because of every incident that takes place.
In Charlotte, the cries from protesters outside the courtroom were that justice was not done.
So how do you define justice? Is justice only a reality when it suits your personal point of view?
In other words, the verdict, or lack of one, did not go the way one element of society wanted it to go; therefore it was “unjust.”
What the bystander and his wife witnessed in Charlotte last week was a textbook example of how law enforcement works at its best.
Sadly, not every incident is textbook. In fact, most probably are not, yet the people who are trained to protect the innocent respond appropriately a high percentage of the time and without fanfare because that is what they are paid to do.
It is easy in hindsight to analyze the actions of others who are reacting in mere seconds to situations that are out of their control. Suffice it to say that very few people would react in any manner than to protect themselves first and consider the proper protocols later.
In the shootings in Roanoke, there was no opportunity for the reporter or her cameraman to respond.
And you know what? Their lives “mattered” too.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award-winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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