Tag Archives: All Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter Explained Yet Again

One house in a row of five houses is on fire. One of the houses that is not on fire is a blue house. The fire department is called to the neighborhood. They immediately rush to the house on fire and commence to their spray water. As they do this, are they saying the hell with the other houses that are not on fire? Ask yourself, are they neglecting the houses that are safe? Are they making a conscious decision to disregard the people in the blue house?

No, they are addressing the problem: one of the houses is on fire and we are here to address the problem. The house on fire is #BlackLivesMatter. The houses that are safe are #AllLivesMatter. The people in the blue house are #BlueLivesMatter (#CopsLivesMatter). In the case of the blue house, things appear to be normal, but maybe a closer inspection will uncover that their house needs attention too. But even in this case, is the blue house in more danger than the burning house?

I can’t understand why it is so hard to understand this. If you are reading this and you still don’t get it, let me try to explain it again because this issue is so important to me…

  • October will be Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Does this mean in October we will say who cares about lung cancer awareness and those who suffer from that illness?

  • Save the rainforests and save the whales? So I guess the other forests and sea animals don’t matter.

  • A doctor is an eye surgeon. Does anyone have the right to tell her or make her also perform root canals?

Each one of these examples is utterly ridiculous. They are so ridiculous that they can be dismissed immediately. Yet when we discuss #BlackLivesMatter, critics can’t seem to comprehend that these examples are the “exact” same thing. Again, black lives matter DOES NOT MEAN we say who cares about white lives. Black lives matter DOES NOT MEAN other lives don’t matter. Black lives matter DOES NOT MEAN their cause can be told or forced to perform a different action, such as address the false narrative that is black-on-black crime.

Not clear enough yet? Let me politicize this for those who might choose to ignore or disregard those examples…

  • For the military crowd:
    • Support our Troops in Afghanistan… does this mean forget about the ones in Iraq? How about the ones in South Korea?

  • For the gun control crowd:

    • We want to protect the rights of handgun owners, so the rights of shotgun owners do not matter.

  • For the support the veterans crowd:

    • Unfortunately, many of our veterans are suffering from combat-related illnesses. Should we concentrate on them, and let those veterans who are just homeless fend for themselves?

To be clear, I do not consider myself the smartest man in the room. I might think I say brilliant things, but never have I considered myself a genius. Honestly, I just consider myself an average person who has a pen, blog, and something to say. So I do not say this lightly…

…if, after all of these examples, you still do not understand #BlackLivesMatter, then something else must be going on. I have two potential explanations.

Explanation #1: There must be something more sinister that is directing your misunderstanding. If this is true, it is probably because of the inclusion of one small word. The inclusion of this word, dare I say, (Donald) trumps all ability to use reason to see what this issue is all about. The word is BLACK. Somehow this word, when it is used to discuss issues related to black people, is always perceived to be a threat (see Black History Month, Congressional Black Caucus, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, etc.). We are talking about a word! Can you imagine how some people feel when using this word is not enough, so we start marching in protests (aka #BlackLivesMatter) in cities across the country?

Explanation #2: There must be an intellectual gap that is directing your misunderstanding. This could be as simple as not understanding words or the analogies presented here. It could also be as simple as adding personal opinions and biases to this issue. Or it could be listening to those who are purposely and intentionally telling you not to use your ability reason and use common sense (this is called intellectual dishonesty). They tell you #BlackLivesMatter is a hate group, so you listen without investigating for yourself.

I will let you decide which explanation works for you if you choose not to understand. For some, nothing can convince them that #BlackLivesMatter does not mean “all lives” or “blue lives” do not matter. I guess we let those folks wear the shoes that fit them.

By the way, because I just mentioned shoes, does it mean I am anti-work boots?

Ferguson

Let me know what you think! I welcome your opinions and encourage meaningful dialogue…

 

 

Fear of a Routine Traffic Stop

Police-Lights

Recently I was pulled over by the police for a routine traffic stop. It was six o’clock at night so there was still plenty of light. I had a broken driver’s side mirror that was still intact, but patched up so that it was still serviceable. I thought that was the reason why I was being stopped. The police pulled up behind me, and followed me for two blocks and then turned on their lights to make the stop. Unbeknownst to me, the registration on my car had expired. I found a safe place to pull over and awaited my fate.

There were a million thoughts running through my head: will this be a friendly or hostile police officer? How long will this stop take? How much of a fine will I get for a damaged mirror? I knew my driver’s license is clear; I have no points on it and my last ticket was four years ago. Yet I still had a feeling of uneasiness as I put the car in park. Then it happened, I spotted a female officer in my right side mirror, slowly inching toward my car. When she got to the rear window, I rolled it down. She yelled, “The other side!” Then she pointed in the opposite direction. I turned to my left, and there was a male officer at my driver’s side window. He was trying to talk to me, but I did not respond because I did not know he was there!

I quickly gained my composure and rolled down the window. He asked the typical question, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” “No,” I replied. He told me my car’s registration had expired. Then he asked for my license, registration, and insurance card. I pulled out my wallet to produce my driver’s license, and then opened the glove compartment to get my registration and insurance card. Meanwhile, the female officer had a curious angle to my right to watch the exchange take place. He also asked who owned the car, before he hastily went back to his police car. The female officer made a much more cautious retreat back to the car. I saw that she never took her eyes off me.

After about five minutes, he returned to my driver’s side window. He told me the car was registered in my wife’s name, but if I am driving it I should know about the expired registration. He did look at the damaged mirror, but said nothing about it. Instead, he issued me a warning for the expired registration and told me to get the car registered as soon as possible. I felt a sense of relief until I looked over my right shoulder. Again, the female officer carefully slid back to her position near my passenger door. She had an anxious look on her face that really made me nervous.

Now I know this seems like an innocent encounter with two police officers that ended without incident or fine. Thank God for that! It was an example of proper police work, and a level of professionalism that I appreciated once the stop ended. However, for me it was far more than a regular traffic stop. It was a situation that could have escalated into a conflict with far worse consequences than a traffic fine. It could have become a #CopsLivesMatter vs #BlackLivesMatter situation. Maybe it was my imagination, but I know how easy these encounters can turn into a confrontation. Let me review a few points…

  1. He was trying to talk to me, but I did not respond because I did not know he was there! What would have happened if my lack of communication led the officer to think that I was being uncooperative? If you don’t think this is possible, please review the case of Sandra Bland.
  2. I pulled out my wallet to produce my driver’s license, and then opened the glove compartment to get my registration and insurance card. What would have happened if either officer believed I was reaching for a weapon? If you don’t think this is possible, please review the case of Jamaal Jones.
  3. She had an anxious look on her face that really made me nervous. What would have happened if she and her partner thought I was a criminal who made them fear for their lives? If you don’t think this is possible, please review the case of Marcus Jeter.

I know that critics who read this will be quick to say that none of these things happened, so what is the big deal. The big deal is that EVERYTIME I see the police, I get a little nervous. Even though I am a law-abiding citizen without a criminal record, I STILL get nervous when I see the police. To be fair, I must share the event described by Will Stack, who is a law-abiding citizen whose traffic stop ended without incident. Not all stops end with a confrontation because there are thousands of good cops who act with professionalism and courtesy every day.

However, this does not diminish the fact that I have to be careful anytime I am stopped by the police any way. I have far too many personal #AliveWhileBlack stories to support my anxiety anytime I see officers of the law in my rearview mirror.

Yes it is true that #CopsLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter. No one disputes this. This is my attempt to let you know that when it comes to routine traffic stops, it is important to remember that #BlackLivesMatter too.