Gut Check

It’s time for one.  It’s time for a collective gut check across this nation.

Once again, we are in the midst of turmoil.  Once again shots were fired.  Once again there are protests.

I’ll keep this brief and try not to get too preachy.

First and foremost, my husband’s best friend of over 30 years is a retired police officer.  He worked in a shitty area.   Period.  I have the utmost respect for law enforcement.  They do what the rest of us fear to.   They protect us everyday and often times get not one iota of thanks.   I love my husband’s best friend.  He is MY friend.  He is important to me.  He is a touchstone in many ways for both Mr. Magilla and myself.  He is kind and compassionate.  He believes in good.  He believes in honesty and hard work and family.  Like a lot of us do.

But right now, I’m going to talk about the other side of that coin.  What is your first instinct when you hear of yet another police shooting?

I’ve seen a lot of the knee jerk reaction – he had a criminal record – he was wrong.  That’s why we have investigations.  In some cases yes, absolutely.  But in every case?  Damn, play those odds.  What about the fact that this keeps happening?  There is a societal break down that needs to be addressed.  It needs to be fixed.  The disparity is staggering.

What are we doing to stop this?  Are we holding Congress accountable?  Are we protesting in a constructive way?  Are we opening our eyes to reality instead of what the TV or our political pundits told us think and say?  Or are we just more and more beaten down?

I work in an industry where the rules were overhauled due to the financial meltdown.  Sometimes we need to shake things up.  Sometimes we need a gut check.  We need to ask ourselves again, what do we believe in?  Why?  Is it our own thoughts that formed our opinion?  Has it changed at any point?  Has the world changed?  Has the axis on which this belief is formed shifted enough to evaluate?  Have you grown?  For the better?  Or have we societally dumbed down to the point that we follow where we’re led without question?

I don’t have the answers to the chronic killing of civilians.  I know that anyone with a conscience must take pause when they see for themselves what it’s like for someone to be gunned down.   We are supposed to be better than this.  We are supposed to be more enlightened than this.

And this may ignite the flash fire of indignation for those who so vocally point out a criminal record.

To that?  I say this.

Take a look at the lone wolf killers out there who have gunned down people at work, in churches, in movie theatres and still received their day in court and were given protection during that time.

This country was founded on due process.

Whether you like or dislike it…it doesn’t matter.  None of us should like this.  It’s horrifying, just like death is supposed to be.  It makes you numb.  It hollows you out until you don’t know what to feel anymore.  There is nothing to like about either a broken system or systemic killing of it’s citizens.  Nothing.  This is not supposed to be comfortable.

My friend told me today, “I don’t know what else to do.  I literally woke up this morning and looked in the mirror and told myself, you are loved…you are somebody…they can’t break you…don’t let them break you.”

That’s one of my best friends.  He has striven to rise in ways that I have taken for granted my entire life.  Oh and coincidentally, he’s black.  But more importantly, I’d like to list these qualities:

He is strong.  He is smart.  He is funny.  He is loyal.  He has a college degree  He works hard.  He is worthy and as long as I draw breath I swear, he will not be broken.  He is one of the reasons I wake up in the morning and smile as I count my many blessings.

We are a great country.  We are strong and we deserve better than this everyday life meets violent video game existence that we have relegated ourselves to.

I call on you Corey Booker, Bob Menendez and Leonard Lance as I have before to lead us.  I call on the justice system to root out the bad and raise up the good.  I call upon our government to get out of their own damn way and get down to what matters.

I call on the rest of us to bring the barriers down; to pick up the cause of decency and to live a life of purpose.







I write about life as I know it.

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