This Week’s Violence

My heart and tears go out to the families and friends of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Officer Patrick Zamarripa, Officer Brent Thompson, Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, Sgt. Michael Smith, and Officer Michael Krol. I mourn for the black community and the police community. I cannot imagine the fear, pain, and discouragement they must feel, as their hopes of reconciling black and blue have exploded into the worst sort of violence. Grant them peace, O Lord.

I don’t have much to say other than I am confused and worried by the social media responses to these tragedies. I cringe whenever I see a white person post a tribute to or an article on the Dallas police officers’ murders but fail to mention Alton Sterling’s and Philando Castile’s. One Facebook post rounded up all the tragedies of the week that broke the poster’s heart, but apparently brutal shootings by police didn’t bother the OP as much. (I haven’t seen any of my minority friends post anything.)

I am confused why white people share and like posts, without comment, about how white people get shot even more than black people. How is this a good thing? Instead of discriminatory police officers, we have indiscriminately violent police officers? It relieves you that that all of us should look out for our lives at the next traffic stop? Or is it relieving to believe the black community is lying and we can turn a deaf ear to injustices we will never face?

I am tired of white people misunderstanding and mischaracterizing the Black Lives Matter movement because they refuse to acknowledge systemic abuse and racism. It always astonishes me that advocates of total depravity and the impending evil days are so unwilling to acknowledge evil and abuse in themselves, in their communities, and in their heroes.

I am at a loss on how to lament both authority figures abusing their power to kill innocent people and a fearful, sick man killing innocent authority figures. I don’t how to explain, to myself or anyone else, that while there is no justification for killing police officers, there are explanations why this happened. But then, even giving an explanation seems to justify evil and make it less than it is.

It hits home for me because I live in a minority community. This fall, I’m teaching mostly black and Hispanic students. I have to teach them a unit on how policemen are our friends, and I wonder if that’s true for them, as minorities. (Bob Jones University didn’t write their K5 curriculum for minority students, as evidenced by the painstaking efforts to label all non-white characters by their proper ethnicity so that “students will be exposed to diversity.”) I wonder if that simplistic view on racism and abuse of authority could someday cost their lives. The last thing I want to do is swoop in as a benevolent white person, brushing away their concerns and reality with a smile and a “Jesus loves you!”

I think I’ll just stick with listening and lamenting, for now.

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5 thoughts on “This Week’s Violence

  1. Karen

    “It relieves you that all of us should look out for our lives at the next traffic stop?”
    This. What a great point. I blogged about this issue recently and then someone criticized me in a private message about how the statistics show that theres no difference in color among police shootings. But as i told him, thats not the point; those men’s infractions did not deserve death. End of story. And you dont have to dig deep to know racism still exists in america. Listening to others is key. I hope that we as american citizens can start doing a little more of that this year.

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