Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dallas, Louisiana, Minnesota

Let me be clear.

You should never shoot a police officer. Ever. They are the ones who protect us, they are the ones who we look for when things go wrong. They are the ones who run towards the inferno when all of us are running away from it. They are the good guys.

Never do it.


My heart and prayers go out to the families in Dallas that are left behind. Children who will never truly know their father. Wives who are now widows. Families who now will have one less setting at dinner.

It's a cliche to say it's been a terrible week. Heck, it's been a terrible year.

I'm black.

Have been my whole life.

I'm not here to talk about vengeance I'm here to talk about justice.

When I was younger this is what my father told me to do if I was ever pulled over by the police: put your hands on the steering wheel where he could see them. Hands at 10 and 2. Be cordial and polite, "Yes, officer," and "No, officer."

And don't forget to smile.

To avoid appearing to be a threat.

But there seems to be a difference if you're white.

One day, at CBS, my boss was a bit late getting to work and was hot under the collar when he arrived. Turns out he got pulled over because he was going too fast. He then said the words I couldn't believe, "I gave the officer a piece of my mind." Incredulous, I thought, "You can't do that." That quickly turned into I can't do that.

He did get the ticket and was soon on his way.

If I did what he had done I'd probably have been taken downtown.

Or worse.

You all know the reason why people were protesting in Dallas in the first place. You know the news out of Louisiana, out of Minnesota.

The news out of too many more places.

I'm the father now. I have sons. What do I tell them? Do I tell them I worry every time they go out? Do I tell them to not appear to be a threat? Do I tell them to always be on guard?

How does one do that?

My boys are good boys. Innocent boys. Polite boys. Smart boys. Kind and decent boys.

The world is a dangerous place.

If something ever happened to them I'd be devastated.

I'm not here to talk about vengeance I'm here to talk about justice.

And kindness.

And love.

And to tell you I'm worried.

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  1. Mark.
    I think all of us who grew up The way we did, in a military family, were taught respect. We never saw color, just new kids to play with on base I don't see that respect being taught any more. Young people now want instant satisfaction. Don't want to work to climb that ladder. It seems to me this world is going backwards. Not forward to one loving nation
    I fear for my adult children but so much more for my 3 innocent grandkids!
    What kind of a world will they grow up in. Certainly not the one we did where it was safe to play outside, go to the pool without constant supervision, and just not be afraid to outside your door for fear of some kind of hatred
    God help us all!
    Sue "Wolfe" Ridgely

  2. Beautifully said, Mark. I'm worried, too, and I'm a white girl! I spent my last year at Stanford riding the graveyard shift with the police in East Palo Alto, Ca. At the time, it had one of the highest crime and murder rates. I watched the officers rescue a baby from a mother putting cigarettes out all over it's' body. I watched them dive for cover when a man burst from a bar with a sawed off shotgun. I watched them 'rescue' a woman from her abusive husband only to have her turn on them with the pointed end of her high heels. It is a dangerous job fraught with paranoia and guaranteed to put the fear of God in you--no matter your color. Sadly, if we really were kind & tolerant towards one another we wouldn't need them at all. :)