Contemplating Societies Response to Murder Victims

David Sherrard, a Texas police officer, was killed last week after responding to a disturbance call, where he was shot. Later that week his funeral was held, and I just so happened to be driving on the highway that his funeral brigade was being led down. At first I didn’t realize what was going on. There were tons of people sitting on the grass next to the highway, and at least 75 cars pulled over on the shoulder. Finally, when I saw all of the first responder vehicles and tow trucks holding massive American flags, I understood what was happening.

It was tragic and beautiful at the same time. So many people came out to pay their respects to him. I may not be a fan of the way our justice system is run, and I 100% condemn the actions of the racist police officers who continue to target and kill people of color. However, in this situation an innocent man was murdered when trying to respond to a disturbance call and protect the neighborhood. He left behind a wife, two daughters, and countless other friends and family members. The response to his murder brought tears to my eyes and sent chills rushing down my body.

I in no way mean to down-play the severity of this situation or the massive loss his friends and family members are going through, but it made me think about how we respond to other murder victims. When police officers are the victims, hundreds of people gather and make donations. We hear news stories for weeks, and hold huge candle-lit services. However, when the victim is an unarmed black man, who was murdered by the police during a traffic stop, the majority of our society is silent. The victims community steps up, and black people continuously call out the injustice, but the world does not respond in nearly the same way. Where are the hundreds of people waiting to pay their respects to them? Why do we value some lives more than others?

I’m not saying that the response to Sherrard’s death is wrong or unwarranted, I just believe we should have a conversation about why we don’t respond to other victims the same way. We should be even more outraged when the victim is a civilian, let alone a civilian killed by police. It is a tragedy when anyone is murdered, and we should respond in the same way. First responders lives are not more valuable than civilians lives. Every human life has value, and the loss of anyone, especially when they’ve been murdered, should evoke a strong feeling in all of us to pay them respect, and make sure we can do everything in our power so it doesn’t happen again. I want to see hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects to victims of police brutality. Yes, some cases do make it in the news, especially in the last few years, but so many others go unknown. These people deserve the same response and respect that police officers get, and above all they deserve to be treated like their life had the same value.

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Where is the love?

I’m tired of seeing hate and bigotry all over the news.

I’m tired of seeing hate crimes, and racial targeting.

I’m tired of seeing innocent lives being taken, and then justice not being served.

This morning I saw a video of an altercation between a white cop and a black woman in Fort Worth, Texas. The woman had called the police after her white neighbor choked her seven year old son, because the boy didn’t pick up his trash when the neighbor told him to. The situation escalated quickly after the cop questioned why it was wrong for the man to choke her son, then he put the woman and her daughter in hand cuffs, and threw the mom on the ground. Let that sink in. This cop looked a mother in her eyes and asked why is was wrong for her child to be choked, and then put her in handcuffs. While in the end (as far as I’ve seen) the cop didn’t shoot or injure anyone, unlike many cases of police brutality that have taken place this year, he still sent a clear message to not only this family, but all of America, that black lives don’t matter, and white people are allowed to terrorize and abuse minorities.

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Now these incidents of police brutality aren’t new; the news is only now beginning  to cover these stories. Every week, if not everyday, there is a new hate crime being committed by officers and every day people towards minorities in America. I don’t think all law enforcement is bad, but this past year I have seen more harm than good.  Police officers are power hungry, and their go to emotions are often hatred and hostility. Every experience I’ve ever had with a cop as a white woman in America has been negative. We aren’t adequately training our officers, and they are becoming “trigger happy,” and killing innocent black people left and right, and then not being indicted. How are police officers supposed to “keep us safe” if they are a huge part of the problem?

I will never know what it is like to be black in America, but I do know I am terrified every time I see a cop car, and I can’t imagine the kind of anxiety minorities must feel. Police officers are afraid of black people, due to their own racism and bigotry, and in return black people are often afraid of police officers because cops are killing their friends, family members, and neighbors unjustly. Black lives matter. I will never understand how someone can respond to that statement with, “no, all lives matter!” Saying black lives matter does not negate the fact that everyone’s life has value. It simply states that black lives do matter, are important (especially right now), and it is a movement for racial equality.

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Where is the love? And why are we letting our fellow Americans get murdered? We are all human, and race, sex, gender, sexuality, religion, ability, class, or age shouldn’t change how we treat one another. The amount of racism in America shakes me to my core, and I will never understand the hatred in some peoples hearts. Everyone deserves love, respect, and equality.  As cheesy as it may be, I really love the Black Eyed Peas song, “Where is the love?”

“But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeah”

Why has it been okay to discriminate against one another? Since our new President is being inaugurated soon, I believe the American people need to band together for the greater good, instead of continuing this great divide. Fighting one another will only cause more harm, and so far it’s getting us no where. Every life has value, and black people deserve to be treated justly and have the same rights as every white man. I want to live in a world where we are all equal, and bigotry isn’t tolerated

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Love your neighbor as yourself, and treat everyone with respect. Do no harm, and fight for others rights. I want to see more white people calling out injustices, and less innocent people being killed.  We may say “liberty and justice for all,” but I have yet to see a society in which that is true.

Lots of Love to Everyone,

Alyssa

 

P.S. This somehow got deleted and I had to write it again. It was better the first time, but I hope you still enjoy it.