August 23, 2014

Cultivating Compassion. ~ Jill Carskaddon

Police at War in Ferguson.preview

My heart is heavy as I continue to read headlines of the tragedy in Ferguson.

The cries of pain and injustice continue to grow louder, perpetuating a broken relationship between law and community.

Michael Brown was not the first to die at the hands of an officer without reason. The tension between the African American community and the law has continued to increase since segregation, and the tension finally snapped.

I hope and pray that these tensions may eventually be released, and the St. Louis County will find peace.

It is natural that in our own communities we feel anxious about our own police’s ability to serve and protect. I am sure many have toyed with thoughts of what they would do if the situation was turned to martial law, or if Michael Brown’s life was ended in their own hometown.

The inherent desire to protect one’s own will always inspire feelings of brave resistance. These feelings are noble and natural, and may be useful one day, but hopefully will never be needed.

As Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

Which brings me to the reason for giving my two cents on the situation… We must react on a higher plain. We must avoid the problems where we can, and solve them eloquently and efficiently where we cannot. Prevention is the best medicine and I think that we can all help with that task a little in each of our daily lives.

Your law enforcement does not wear their uniforms to bed at night.

Once they are done with their shift, they return to normal citizenship, and are contributing members of their community. It isn’t until that suit and badge is donned that these men and women are separated from the rest. It isn’t until then that we cease to call them by name and call them “cops.”

Officers are given the power of discretion when presented with a situation that is non violent or of moral dispute. It is up to us “normal” citizens to help cultivate positive discretion. We cannot ostracize and dehumanize members of our communities and expect them not to react negatively.

We should not make others feel less for doing their job, no matter how much that damn parking ticket is. It is true, there are officers out there that are racist, on a power quest, or detached from their own humanity, but it is not the majority, and we can lessen those numbers with simple compassion.

As tensions across the world begin to escalate, it is pivotally important that we stay united, so that if the dark day ever does come, and our protectors are asked to turn against us, these brave men and women will have the wisdom and discretion to choose to fight for their communities, their neighbors, and their homes, instead of the powers that be.


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Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Google Images labeled for reuse

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