The police shootings incidents involving black citizens this year have led to widespread protests and extensive violence. The anger and frustration, particularly among blacks is understandable. The looting and destruction of businesses, however is not a justifiable response and hurts many of their own friends and neighbors. The late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr (and others since) knew that true progress is never made through intimidation and violence. The best way to convert people to your cause is by winning their hearts through non-violent means. The recent scenes of protesters disrupting outdoor diners in Rochester and Pittsburg is not likely to win new supporters to the cause of Black Lives Matter (BLM). The average person is probably sympathetic to what appears to be police overreaction toward black suspects yet they are disturbed by the random looting and violence as a response. Many people within the community (especially whites) do not know what BLM stands for or what they do for the black community. Does BLM help eliminate drugs and crime in the community? Do they help improve schools? Do they restock the local food banks? What may have begun as a good idea seems to have gotten lost somewhere and has become more political than was originally intended. As an outside observer I often see more white faces than black faces in a group that is supposed to represent black interests and concerns. As a white man I do not claim to know what it is like to be black. The BLM movement should not allow white voices to hijack their protests and speak for them. If white protesters (such as Antifa) misbehave in the name of BLM it hurts the entire movement.
The police incidents we have witnessed this year (and past years as well) should be thoroughly investigated. If police behavior is found to be inappropriate then those involved should be disciplined or prosecuted as necessary. Police have the most difficult job in our society and they are under constant scrutiny. They often must make split second decisions while under stressful conditions. As humans we are imperfect and do make mistakes. That does not excuse them for poor judgement or excessive use of force. There is also a responsibility of the citizenry to cooperate with police. Even if you feel you’ve done nothing wrong the time to appeal is before a judge. Resisting or running from the police may result in a bad outcome. It also suggests guilt, so if you’re innocent just cooperate and take your case to the courts. That is the best way to live to see tomorrow. A civilized society needs a well-trained police force; the best way to ensure that is through adequate training and funding of our law enforcement that will allow them to do their job well and equitably.