I got into a bad media cycle last night. I was consumed by the news coming out of Dallas. I was weary, but I couldn’t make myself shut everything down, like somehow constantly updating my Twitter feed was going to alleviate the turmoil inside me.
When I finally did shut down, I lay in the dark trying to find a way to calm the demons, so I could sleep. I just silently send out the word Live. I sent it to the Dallas police officers who were, at that time, still in surgery. With all the mental power of pray or whatever term you like for it, I threw that plea out into the world. Live, live, live. I sent it to those officers, to any who were in pain because inside the human race is a dark place capable of horrors. Live, live, live. Just live.
And then I mourned because there were those who I could no longer send that pray to. I could not send it to the officers already dead. And I could not send it to Alton Sterling or Philando Castile. I could not send it to those killed in Orlando or Istanbul or any of the places where hate has prevailed, where the dark place became all consuming.
That dark place likes to make Others. They are not like me. They are Other. And the dark place assigns roles to Others, so that causing harm becomes righteous or self preservation. Making someone Other, someone capable of violence just based on skin color, makes it that much easier for a few police officers to reach for a gun and fire. There are infinite ways to make someone an Other, a danger, all of them wrong.
Right now, here in America, the most danger way people are making Others is based on race. And people are being killed for it. They are being killed by police officers. And then we watch as those officers are not held accountable. And then we watch as police officers doing their duty to protect protesters, officers who would work with those protesters to make things better, to beat back the dark place, are murdered too.
All because there is a twist in human nature. All because we fear the unknown. All because we make judgments based on very little information. It is enough to make any one of us feel all is meaningless.
But there were thousands of people who came together yesterday across the country. They are angry but peaceful. They want change. They want innocent lives, particularly black lives, because those are the ones being lost in the highest numbers, saved. They want all citizens to feel that law enforcement is there to serve and protect.
And while they gathered, the police did protect and serve. They watched over the crowds, many of whom would direct their anger at any officer available, again making judgments out of anger and with little information. And those officers showed support, posing for pictures with protesters. Most came together peacefully, knowing that working together will get results faster than taking nonexistent sides. Being there at that protest was the duty these brave people have chosen to shoulder.
Thousands of people. Together in peace.
Like it only took a few police officer’s actions to cause the protest, it took only a few people to shatter the peace.
I don’t get it. I never will because I just want to shout out to everyone, LIVE. Hating enough to shoot someone is not living.
Let’s all be one of the thousands gathered to try and facilitate change through peace. Be the officers who protect them.