Can't Bite My Tongue
This is one of those times, but I can't bite my tongue. Wouldn't be right. Recently, I took to task another South Florida Blogger, for making what I felt were broad generalizations about black people. He scolded "the" black community, as though we were all of one mind and one voice, for focusing on the wrong issue in a recent series of fatal police shootings (of five suspects - four black, one white) in Fort Lauderdale. He said that instead of berating police, the families and friends of the suspects should look inside and ask how their young men ended up in face-offs with police, while: driving a car-jacked vehicle, carrying weapons, and allegedly ramming cars and nearly striking officers.
The funny thing is no one asked me my opinion. And that's the problem with broad generalizations. People with differing opinions count for nothing, because they're cast in giant groups, rather than as individuals.
But let's move beyond that. I think the guy I scolded had the right idea, even if he was wrong in how he addressed people.
You want to investigate the police shootings - as is being done now by state and federal authorities, go ahead. There's nothing wrong with a check and balance system to make sure that all the i's were dotted and t's crossed and that these shootings were righteous.
But let's also at least ask how most of these men ended up going down self-destructive paths long before the shootings. One man had a record of drug and assault violations. Had anyone close to him who is lamenting the shootings now encouraged him recently to clean his life up? I'm not saying they didn't. I'm just asking. But I dare anyone to tell me with a straight face that if he had gone down a different path when he was younger he still would have ended up in a stolen, car-jacked vehicle with police in his face. Anything's possible. But the odds are high he wouldn't have been in that situation.
It's not the PC thing to say, but if you don't ride around in cars that have been jacked your chances of ending up in a deadly conflict with police are much lower. If you don't refuse to drop the weapon - that you probably shouldn't be carrying in the first place - your chances of ending up in a deadly conflict with police are much lower. If you place your car in park, rather than continuing to drive after after officers tell you to stop, your chances of ending up in a deadly conflict with police are much lower.
I'm not suggesting anyone deserved to be shot. That's nuts. I'm just saying these guys' troubles did not start with being shot. It's about time people acknowledge that the path we choose (or get put on, or are led down) when we're young can lead to dire consequences later in life.
Here's my attempt at logic: When I was younger, the adults in my life - and not just my parents, for those people who didn't have one or both parents - would have beaten me like I stole something if I...stole something, robbed someone, etc. They would've beaten me like Orphan Annie if they'd found out I had even considered that stuff. Fast-forward to today. Because I was effectively discouraged from criminal behavior when I was younger, the odds are high that I'm gonna try to avoid it today.
This isn't a black thing. It's a home training thing. A personal responsibility thing. A choices thing.
Investigate the shootings. If they were dirty, then make the cops pay. And if they were clean then put that energy into steering impressionable boys in the right direction before they grow up and become troubled or troublesome men.