RANT!


I am going to go straight into a rant. The incident in Baltimore and everything that follows really bothers me. I try to steer clear of controversial topics, but I just can’t help myself.

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First of all, I’m tired of all of the “Black lives matter” and “Police lives matter” stuff. I don’t disagree. But that is part of the problem. People separate themselves from the rest of society due to their race, age, gender, sexual preference, religion, and pretty much every other way that they can. This creates a divisive America. And this creates problems like we are having in Baltimore. And what we had with Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

We live in a society where people intentionally separate themselves from their fellow humans and blame it on discrimination. They isolate themselves into groups and harbor feelings of resentment and anger toward what they consider to be the main pockets of society and authority. Granted, this separation may have been caused by the disenfranchising of these groups, but at the end of the day, it creates an “us-against-them” attitude. And that is why we have to specify which type of lives matter. But it would be infinitely preferable if the rally cry could simply be “Lives Matter.”

Secondly, the riots are not going to do anything to improve racial or cultural relations in America. The Baltimore riots, the Ferguson riots, and many other similar situations do nothing more than paint the African American community as violent and uncivilized. The late, great Martin Luther King Jr. must be spinning in his grave.

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There is a significant difference between activism and revenge. Activism involves a group of like-minded people standing up together and trying to affect change. And they are willing to rise above the violence, they are willing to stand in the face of adversity and scorn with their heads held high, they are willing to be the bigger man. Activism gains respect. Revenge simply breeds violence. Revenge sets the cause back.

People’s lives are being ruined and put in danger in the name of mob justice. People claim to be making a point about how much a particular person’s life mattered by destroying the lives of everyone in their community. This dishonors the memory of the people who the vengeance is being sought for. It also dishonors the memory of true activists, true heroes.

And in the aftermath of the Freddy Gray situation, some people decided to post pictures of themselves stepping on the American flag online. They claim that it is because the Flag represents racism and oppression.

How much did the Flag represent racism when it was being flown by the Union army as they gave their lives to free the slaves? How much oppression did it represent when our soldiers wore it on their sleeves when they stormed the beach at Normandy to fight the Nazi army and liberate the internment camps? Disrespecting the American flag is a slap in the face for all of the brave men and women who fought and died to defend it.

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The riots and the internet photos of people standing on the Flag are cowardly actions. People can hide among a violent mob or behind the internet and still retain anonymity. They can commit horrible atrocities, destroy homes and business, steal, attack police officers, and still not be held accountable during the riots. And they can disrespect an entire nation online and only face some harsh Facebook comments. There are no real consequences. There is no reckoning.

If you believe that your community has been wronged, stand up. Be accountable. Be willing to face the backlash. That is how true activism happens. You have to gain respect. To affect change, you have to be willing to be part of that change in a positive way. Because to truly affect change, you have to gain respect. And you will never gain respect by being a coward. If you believe in something, you have to be willing to stand up for that belief, and you have to be willing to stand alone.

And finally, regardless of what happened leading to the Freddie Gray situation, attacking law enforcement and public safety workers is wrong. I understand that not every police officer is a good person. But there is corruption and evil in every occupation and walk of life. It is not a reason to attack the law enforcement community as a whole. A lot of people seem to miss that irony.

But, I digress. The law enforcement and public safety workers in Baltimore did not deserve the abuse that they received during the riots. They were simply trying to do their jobs at that point. They were trying to defend their community, and the people within it. The men and women behind the badges are still people at the end of the day. They have families and loved ones. And the most important part of a job in law enforcement is being able to make it home at the end of the day to see them again.

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Law enforcement is an occupation where you are not guaranteed that privilege. You go into work every day knowing that a bad decision could cost you your life. And it doesn’t even have to be your decision. When you put on the badge, you make yourself a target. But they do it anyhow. They walk out of their homes every day knowing that it could be the last time. But they put their lives on the line to protect yours. And that deserves respect.

*RANT OVER*

 

– Ron George

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