As protesters in the USA (and around the world in solidarity) spread the message that BLACK LIVES MATTER, we must keep in mind that all lives should matter equally.
No one disputes the fact that the unnecessary and violent demise of George Floyd in Missouri was horrific, only one in a list of black lives brutally taken by white police officers over the past few years. Police have to do better, everywhere. They have been sworn to protect and serve everyone, respectfully and without discrimination. They must be held accountable for their mistakes, harassment, bullying, poor judgement, and especially the cold blooded, calculated acts of violence such as the one we all saw on video recently.
On the flip side, we must respect that fact that the job of a police officer is not an easy one. They are called upon to investigate, solve and diffuse a diversity of situations, often putting themselves in danger. Many of their decisions and reactions have to be made in a split second. That’s where their training has to come in, so they are (better) equipped to make educated, fair, non-discriminatory decisions. Intentionally killing an officer must remain classified as first degree murder. They deserve respect too.
My brother is a retired RCMP officer; I have heard many stories throughout his career. Some funny, some sad, some downright tragic. In fact, you can spot the active or retired officers posts on social media, of course they can relate to “their side” of a situation. We must remember and respect that there are always (at least) two sides to every discussion and argument.
Back to the matter at hand, the ongoing protests and ensuing vandalism, looting and violence. Many are peaceful demonstrations, simply demanding change and respect. Perhaps the violent ones start out peaceful too, but the out of control rampages do not solve anything. In fact, they detract from the message the peaceful protesters are trying so hard to get across to those with the power to make the changes we so obviously need.
Yes, black lives matter. So do blue lives. All lives matter, equally. At least they should. We must accept the fact that racism still exists in most countries around the world and do better. Although we have come a long way over the years, we must continue to move forward with revised practices, training, education and laws. For everyone!