I stare at the blank white space, and I want to say that there are no words.But there have to be words lest these people died in vain, and more will die, too. It's indisputable that police treat black people differently than white people. And it seems equally indisputable that the "blue code of honor" protects murderers. The first thing to impose on all police officers is that the death of a civilian will be treated as a homicide by the police officer. For far too long, police have not faced consequences for their actions, and that must stop. As President Obama said today: "...these fatal shootings are not isolated incidents. They are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal justice system, the racial disparities that appear across the system year after year, and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve."To admit we’ve got a serious problem in no way contradicts our respect and appreciation for the vast majority of police officers who put their lives on the line to protect us every single day. It is to say that, as a nation, we can and must do better to institute the best practices that reduce the appearance or reality of racial bias in law enforcement...."In the meantime, all Americans should recognize the anger, frustration, and grief that so many Americans are feeling -- feelings that are being expressed in peaceful protests and vigils. Michelle and I share those feelings. Rather than fall into a predictable pattern of division and political posturing, let’s reflect on what we can do better. Let’s come together as a nation, and keep faith with one another, in order to ensure a future where all of our children know that their lives matter."https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/07/07/president-obama-fatal-shootings-alton-sterling-and-philando-castileNow is a time for grieving the loss of these men, who were killed by police officers because they were black. We have long recognized there is a terrible problem, and here is where my words ring hollow, I suppose. I don't know how to fix this (although President Obama's commissioned Task Force on 21st Century Policing no doubt offers a starting direction). Regardless of how feeble and hollow my words are at the moment, at least I've spoken out, which is what we all need to do to show our public servants that murder is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
Thank you for speaking out my friend. It means more than you will ever know.
I recently saw a pic of the men in your family. It was a great group photo, spanning the generations, each man's personality visible, distinguishing himself. I lingered on it for a few moments, and I began to think about the faith and courage it takes to be aware that each time they leave home something terrible and tragic could happen. At the heart of this is a recognition that we are all one race, the human race. Years ago, I went to see President Obama in Milwaukee. I was a little unfamiliar with the location on the lakefront where he was speaking, so I asked around, and joined up with a few folks who were going to see him. They were accommodating and I tagged along. When we got to the venue, one of them strategized for the best viewing position, and herded us there. And, it was a great viewing location! We cheered and clapped, and the pride and enthusiasm was so visible. When the event was over, we walked back to wait for the bus that would take us to our vehicles. When I hopped on and began to pay, the driver put his hand over the coin box and said "it's already taken care of." I joined my new friends, and thanked them for their courtesy. We talked about the event, and that one was a caregiver to the other. As their stop came up, we hugged in parting. The mothers of those black men raised real gentlemen, who showed by their behavior that we are all in the human race.
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