According to an article published in the Washington Post, a 65-year-old Asian woman was brutally attacked and beaten. Her crime? Being Asian while walking to church. Bystanders watched on while they videoed the encounter and did nothing to stop the attack (Elfrink, 2021).
On a video posted on YouTube in January 2021, we see multiple Pro-Trump “protesters” rioting and attacking police officers as they take it upon themselves to enact their version of justice (Storyful Rights Management, 2021).
Via another YouTube video from Sky News Australia, we see the lawlessness and the devastation allowed as groups of “protesters” burn and pillage a community enacting their version of justice (Sky News Australia, 2021).
On April 21, 2021, a police officer responded to a call of a woman armed with a knife. Upon his arrival he saw a woman lunging at another woman with a knife. The officer reasonably feared the suspect with the knife was about to put the life of another at risk of death or great bodily harm.
Instead of being praised for saving a girl from being stabbed, the officer was attacked for shooting a person actively attacking others with a deadly weapon (Ferenchik, 2021). The age of the person attempting to kill another is not relevant. Their life is forfeit as they chose to put the life of another at risk.
Like it or not, this is the world we live in.
A world where it is okay to attack airline staff, curse out your neighbor for a difference in political view, beat someone up for the color of their skin, stab someone in front of a cop, shoot a police officer, or kill a 4-year-old boy while attempting to even a gang dispute.
These things cause no social outrage.
Sure, there are people who do a bunch of lip service. They take to their keyboards (like the internet warriors they are) and decry their opposition’s opinions. But what have they really done? Nothing except spread more vitriol and hate.
It does not take someone working for one of the alphabet agencies to see the system is broken. We have lost our path as a nation, and we are roaming in unfamiliar territory. Half of us think the other half is going to kill the other by sneezing on them. The other half believes their very existence is under attack and is unwilling to go quietly into the night.
But who is right? Does it matter?
“To have anything offered them repugnant to this desire, must needs in all respects grieve them as much as me; so that if I do harm, I must look to suffer, there being no reason that others should shew greater measure of love to me, than they have by me shewed unto them: my desire therefore to be loved of my equals in nature as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to them-ward fully the like affection; from which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn, for direction of life, no man is ignorant (Locke, 1690).”
What is John Locke saying here, as he attempts to explain the relationship between our government and the citizenry which it oversees? Essentially, he is saying, “don’t be a dick, and treat others how you want to be treated.”
We all struggle to be happy and occasionally these desires conflict directly with the desires of others. The correct response is not to stab the other person; to shoot a police officer; to burn down your city; to overthrow your government; to beat an elderly Asian woman.
Instead of responding with violence and hate, we must have compassion, true empathy, and respect for one another. But again, these are just words. More lip service.
We need to take action.
Instead of patting yourself on the back for telling off some “troll” on Facebook or Instagram, get your hands dirty and volunteer with an organization which improves your local community.
Instead of griping about how “dirty” you feel the police department is, grab an application and fix it from the inside.
Instead of sitting there angry over what some other person is doing (which likely does not affect your day in any meaningful way), have a little compassion. Understand that you have no idea what someone else is experiencing in their life and they have the same right to pursue their happiness that you do.
This country has a long history of coming together in times of crisis. The current climate not only in law-enforcement, but in society more generally, is quite bleak. Hate has taken over. Taken over so much that we accept the death of a police officer at the hands of a criminal as a reasonable outcome.
I saw the hate directly. The man who shot me intended to kill me. When he did not succeed in the first volley of rounds so, he sought out other weapons, loaded them, and continued his attempts to take my life.
How much hate must one have to kill another human being; to burn a city; to shoot a cop; to overthrow a government?
The only way to stop hate, is to stop hating.
Said more plainly, “don’t be a dick.”
“Above all, it’s about going home at the end of the shift … “
We couldn’t agree more.
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Elfrink, T. (2021, March). New York man charged with hate crime in Asian American attack that bystanders watched without helping. Retrieved from Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/03/30/asian-american-attack-newyork-condo/
Ferenchik, M. (2021, April 20). Ma’Khia Bryant: Columbus police release body camera footage in shooting of 16-year-old. Retrieved from The Columbus Dispatch : https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/crime/2021/04/20/one-person-killed-officer-involved-shooting-east-side/7309088002/
Locke, J. (1690). The Project Gutenberg EBook of Second Treatise of Government. Retrieved from The Project Gutenberg Files: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/7370/7370-h/7370-h.htm
Sky News Australia. (2021, April 15). Sky News Australia. Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRXTFuzBclY
Storyful Rights Management. (2021, January 10). Storyful Rights Management. Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEGthdTzedk