A few years back one of my children lost a son to cancer when he was a tender two and a half years old. The grief is unimaginable. My own grief was over the top in every respect. I feel bad for anyone that loses a child by any means. As parents, most of us put our hearts and souls into raising our children. If they come to an early demise, it is a tragedy. The circumstances of their death don’t alter that. All of the hopes and dreams we had for them end in a moment. It’s emotionally unworkable in every way. There is almost always a sense of guilt on the parents part. What did I do wrong? What did I not do right? This is normal to question oneself.
I have to admit that I do have issues with the parents of some of these young adults that prematurely meet their maker because of really stupid choices. When anyone pulls a weapon on a police officer, any potential discussion of their complaint ends. At that point it is the officers decision on how to deal with the real life threat that the young adult has now chosen to present. In almost all cases, the officer’s instinct of self preservation takes over and the young adult posing the mortal threat dies. When police are in a crisis their training takes over. They are trained to eliminate mortal threats to themselves and the public.
We can all jump to conclusions about the motivation of the killing based on the skin color of the victim if we want to but we’ll probably be wrong. We say the young man was the victim of a police shooting. At what point do we start to acknowledge that he was the victim of a really bad choice? Whether you call it bad, stupid, or dumb doesn’t matter. What matters is why does the behavior of the person shot, never come up for discussion?
By now everyone has heard about the Milwaukee Policeman who shot a young black suspect dead in the last couple of weeks. Before they even knew that the police officer that shot him was black, the community started rioting! Blacks in the community were video taped searching for white people to beat. They basically burned their own community! This is backward thinking! Burn your own community? Children are watching adults do incredibly stupid things to others, acting as if there isn’t a real consequence coming. Is it any wonder that some young people don’t understand the connection between bad choices and permanent consequence? Natural consequences teach not only the ones who broke the law, but also those who watched it all happen.
While I’m on the subject, politicians need to change their approach as well. There is such a thing as acting irresponsibly, and I think we have seen it in our president. Taking public positions on cases that have not made it to trial and encouraging prosecution of the police before all of the facts of a case have been determined is inappropriate and akin to throwing verbal matches into a racially incendiary situation.
All races need to teach our children the dynamics of natural consequences. It is not a parents job to be their child’s “friend.” It’s their job to be their parent, and that means to love and discipline them as they need it. Teach them that they are too valuable to treat themselves so poorly; that threatening a police officer is stupid. Teach them to wisely live, so they can fight for justice another day! Teach them that pulling a gun on a police officer ends their chance to change the system they disagree with. Racism is real and does happen, but it is not responsible for people making mortally stupid choices.