Burn it all down. Phoenixes come from ashes right?
The recent deaths of unarmed black men, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, have sparked wide spread outrage and a slew of sometimes violent protests. What can really be gained from a violent protest?
Berkeley, Calif.— The Associated Press recently delivered a disturbing report, announcing that a night of protests turned into a night of mayhem after explosives were tossed at the California Highway Patrol. Two officers received minor injuries, and one protester was assaulted on scene while attempting to keep other protesters from looting.
New York, New York- CNN reports on massive protests in the famous Grand Central station as large numbers of protesters gather to sing “justice carols.” Hundreds of protesters have gathered for what is called a “die-in,” which is large groups of protesters simply lie down next to one another to mimic the position of a dead body.
Ferguson, Missouri- Fox News reported, “The city is reeling after a slew of violent protests that saw parts of the city go up in flames.”
Seattle, Washington- Per the Seattle Times, crowds gathered downtown to protest the Ferguson and Garner rulings.
Boise, Idaho- KTVB reports that dozens of protesters were involved in a solidarity march that extended from Idaho Anne Frank Memorial to downtown Boise.
The pulse of the nation beats rapidly as the recent string of police shootings that have led to the death of multiple unarmed citizens. Earlier in the week, I had the pleasure of being a guest on the Paisano’s podcast “UTSA Dialogues” where I was a member of a panel that discussed the Michael Brown case in depth. In the discussion, we talked about some of the issues that people are fed up with.
The overarching fact is that race relations are less developed in this country than we care to admit. With that being said, I think these recent cases speak loudly, and the breadth of that voice covers more than just race relations in America.
What these cases show me is an overly developed militarization of our police. America has always had a policing culture, which is evident by our incarceration numbers, but it has come to a point where citizens and police have become desensitized to proper actions between each other.
I would never try to insinuate that being a police officer is a simple job, because it is not. Being a police officer can be a thankless job as it is easy to point out the blunders of a cop while the many selfless deeds of the police can often be overlooked. Police have to constantly walk the fine line between protecting oneself and protecting the citizens.
So what can truly be done?
Many of these protests have become violent, which is painful for me because I believe violence only detracts from the cause the protesters are speaking for. But these protests have done some good because they are stimulating conversations on this difficult subject.
What this ultimately comes down to is that citizens and police need to understand each other better, so that we can advance as a people. Fear and violence will never create understanding and advancement.