#blacklivesmatter or #backtheblue; or Both?
As a young, white male clergy voice, I think one of the most important things I can continue to say about recent events in our nation publicly is this: You can love police. You can support . You can do both of these things at the same time.
Loving police does not mean you don't want to examine and change the system in which they are functioning. A few things that might be worth taking a look at from a Dallas, TX perspective as an exampe:
- Local ordinances: in Dallas, police are allowed 72 hours before an officer is required to report/give testimony about an officer involved shooting which provides ample time for bad actors to manipulate corroboration and is unjust as no other citizen has this privilege.
- Drug testing: in Dallas, the DPD Internal Affairs does not drug test police after a shooting incident, or at least they are not required to; if drug tests happen after work place incidents, why don't they happen if a police officer ends up shooting someone, justified or not?
While we are at it, we should also be examining what is happening that causes a police officer to have to moonlight and take extra hours of paid work (security, etc.) in order to make ends meet. Are we paying our police enough? If not, we are encouraging a chronically overworked police force to enter into the most high stress domestic situations that anyone save our military and other first responders face in our community.
I should add that I didn't come up with these suggestions, I learned about these problems and heard these suggestions from the black community who has had reason to examine and organize to improve these conditions for quite some time. The black community deserves white, listening ears, and while this racial polemic is uncomfortable to mention, it is no less real than it has been all this time.