B and I got Thor up this morning, and asked him to come talk to us. The last thing you want is for your kiddo to hear bad news from someone else.
B gave him the breakdown of what happened in Dallas last night, and I told him we knew some people were going to be very upset today, and we wanted to make sure he heard it from us, not some random five-year-old. Because five-year-olds are notorious for getting the facts wrong. He laughed.
But, B worked from home this morning, and Thor stayed home with him, so we don’t really have to worry about that.
I made my way in to my Dallas office, listening to the radio stations reporting the latest updates. I listened to the mayor, and the police chief, and then turned in to Chick-fil-A and bought a tray of chicken minis because I kept thinking, “This is too sad. We’re going to be too sad. We need food.” I’m from the South. Death means food. Maybe you can’t be happy, but your mouth can. Maybe your heart can’t be full, but your belly can.
Here’s what I know: You cannot marginalize, dehumanize, and brutalize a group of people and expect civil obedience. You cannot excuse, defend, and protect what should be brought to justice and expect civil obedience. That’s because while the vast majority of people will protest injustice peacefully, there will always be the wingnuts who think they need to make a violent statement to be heard.
Here’s what else I know: Police Officers are men and women doing jobs that I am too afraid to do. Those men and women are just like the rest of the population. Some are good people, some are okay people, some are terrible people. They have good days, and bad days, and those days are exacerbated by where they fall on the scale of angelic to evil. Not all officers are going to aim a gun at you. Not all officers are going to fire on you. I think most officers are using violence as a last resort.
Something has to be done about the ones who drive up on children and shoot them without question, and the ones who pin men to the ground and shoot them in the chest while they are helpless, and the ones who invade the wrong houses and kill the wrong people, and the ones who break the necks, and the ones who deny medical treatment, and the ones who are just lousy human beings because they are making the job even more dangerous for the officers who are doing it right.
Something has to be done about the fact that people of color are disproportionately affected by police brutality.
And that’s what I’m thinking while I chew on my chicken mini. My mouth is happy, but I’m a mess, wondering what we can do? What can we do? How can we protect our neighbors, and how can we protect our officers? What can we do to make this place safe for all of us, and what can we do so that the only misinformation my son is hearing at camp is regarding where babies come from?
And that takes me back to the classroom. We owe our children, and our neighbor’s children, better education. Our society is skewed toward entertainment over intellect. We aren’t teaching the next generation to think, reason, and have measured debate. We are teaching them to yell and intimidate until they can bully the other person into backing down.
We need to pay our teachers better, and offer them the same support, and benefit of the doubt we offer to Tom Brady. We need to be involved with our schools, and not treat them like daycare for our kids. And, we need to be involved with our kids. We need to teach them to listen, and to express themselves, and to respect the people around them by modeling our own listening skills, modulated self-expression, and respect for them.
We need to care about each other as much as we care about ourselves–even the people who are different from us.
Dallas has been my home since 1981.
I’m going to go eat another mini. I’m sad.