Mistakes (commentary)

What’s worth noting is the more wrong someone is, the more emotionally determined they are to refuse to listen to someone else, even reasonable viewpoints. As I watch police forces across the country get more and more violent and downright indifferent to the effects of that violence, I wonder if this isn’t a byproduct of that effect.

Seriously, police forces have had a rash of “justifiable” incidents, and even if you remove the racial component (which you really can’t, despite some well-meaning commentaries from people who don’t want it to involve race even though it certainly does) and the paramilitary byproduct of arming local forces with military grade weapons (which, as some have pointed out, if you only have a hammer, every problem seems like a nail), you’re still left with this recurring failure to own any culpability on the part of, well, anyone.

Simply put, are we watching our police force respond to criticism by digging in their heels and refusing to budge, almost like a reflex. Like someone telling us to eat our broccoli, but we DON’T want to eat our broccoli and you CAN’T tell us what to do because! That’s why!

This human reflex is present everyday and in all aspects of our lives and culture, but it’s insidious when people with the power of life and death adopt it (even by accident). Certainly, not all police officers are bad, but the good ones maintain a wall of silence, which is tantamount to supporting these policies and outcomes.

I get it. It’s complicated being a police officer. But all of us, in any job, in every walk of our life, have to ask ourselves, honestly, could I be better? Mistakes will be made. But a refusal to even acknowledge our own failures (especially at the cost of lives and public trust) is terrifying and means progress will be even slower in coming.

Hang in there, folks. I wish I had better answers to these questions, but all I know is that until we are free to acknowledge our mistakes, we can never improve. Which is well and good when it comes to the piddling little nonsense of our daily lives, but pretty horrific when it comes to matters of life and death.

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