Due to recent events, I think we Americans need a little lesson on compassion and value of life. As I write this with a knot in my stomach and tears rolling down my cheeks, many names are running through my head: Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and most recently; Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the officers of Dallas Police Department, to name just a few.
I am blown away by the lack of compassion I have witnessed regarding these shootings. People have gotten so caught up on which side to be on, they seem to forget a life was lost. An actual human life. Fathers, sons, brothers and husbands were unable to go home to their families because their life was snatched away from them. They will never see their kids graduate or be able to walk their daughters down the aisle. They will never be able to kiss their loved ones goodnight. Wives have become widows and children have become fatherless.
NO ONE deserves to have their life taken by another human being. I could argue with you all day about who I believe was in the wrong in these cases; and, while it is imperative that we talk about the injustices and extreme flaws in the system, we need to take a moment to humanize the victims.
When things like this happen, news channels and social media are flooded with new facts on the latest story, but with these facts comes an immense amount of opinions. When you immerse yourself in these opinions, you become so consumed with who is right and who is wrong that you lose sight of the big picture. You become desensitized to the fact that someone lost their life. You forget that they are human just like you.
Whether it be one of the many black men wrongfully killed by the hands of police or an officer that honored his oath to serve and protect until the day he died, both lives deserve your respect and compassion. You should be outraged that both lives ended far too soon, and action should be taken.
Whether you care to admit it or not, police brutality against people of color is a very real problem. This is not to discredit the officers out there that do their job and do it well. I have the utmost respect for the officers that put their life on the line for others every day and use good discernment. These officers do not deserve to be placed in the same category as the officers that abuse their authority.
It is a sad world we live in, where a black man can get pulled over for a broken tail light, and the traffic stop end with him being shot and killed in front of his girlfriend and young daughter. It is a sad world we live in, where a black man can be shot multiple times and killed at point blank range while being restrained by two officers. It is a sad world we live in where a black child can be shot and killed for playing with a toy gun. It is a sad world we live in where innocent officers who had no affiliations with acts of police brutality were shot and killed simply because they were white police officers.
There are a hundred good police officers for every one dangerous officer — the same way there are a hundred peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters to every one dangerous protester. The good officers aim to serve and protect, not to detain and kill. The peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters aim to raise the call to end violence, not escalate it. Do not look at people who have different opinions as you as "the other side." They are people just like you who are standing up for what they believe in.
Rather than being divided, come together and understand that innocent people will continue to lose their lives at a rapid rate until we start holding each other accountable for our actions. Push your ego aside and be there for one another and support the families of the victims during this time. No matter what your views are on the subject, the fact is lives were lost. Extend the love and compassion you would want to be extended to you if you were in the shoes of these families. Drastic changes need to be made, but it will never happen if we remain a divided society.