What a frightening time we live in here in America. As a young man, was not alive during the chaos that ensued during the 60s where we saw great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr, and the Kennedy brothers assassinated. I wasn’t around when protests seemed rather common. (Whether people were protesting the war in Vietnam or protesting discrimination and racism in the south). I didn’t see the hate, anger, bitterness that seemed to be a part of every newsreel I watched to learn about our nations history and what my parents group up in. What I do know is that I cannot recall a time in my lifetime that the people of this country were so divided and so angry. It seems like every other day I hear about another tragedy involving a shooting and a teenager. Brown and Martin of course were the big stories. However, there was the young boy in Cleveland that was also shot. He was holding a toy gun that had its safety orange removed so that it would look more realistic. The police officer had no idea it was a toy until after he fired. On a much lesser scale of violence, it seems like every week I am learning of another athlete in trouble with the law because he abused someone in his family. Adrian Peterson beat his son bloody, Ray Rice was caught on camera knocking his then fiancé and now wife out cold and then dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator, and numerous other less high profile athletes have been suspended by the NFL for similar issues while the legal system continues to play out. As I read of these types of stories and more, my heart wept.
How many more parents have to bury their children before something is done about it? How many more times does a woman have to take abuse before things change? How many more children must suffer at the hands of an abusive father, or mother before we open up our eyes? Sure, people are throwing out solutions. Some think that removing guns from police officers hands is the answer. Some people think that the NFL (and other places of employment) permanently suspending players is the route to go. For me, I don’t think this fixes anything. The issue is not whether or not the NFL hires aggressive players (it does, its football). The issue is not whether or not guns are easily available for anyone one. Those things only try to mask the problem or worse yet control the problem without fixing it. If the NFL stopped hiring aggressive people will this make aggressive people less aggressive? No. Will the lack of a gun make a police officer do his job better? No.
What really need done is fixing the anger, bitterness, etc that resides in the heart of the people. Let us go back and look at this Ferguson, MO situation. The family said they wanted justice. The legal system is what brings justice. It was determined, based upon information I am certain that none of us really have, that what happened that day while a tragedy, was not illegal. The police officer did what he had to do. He reacted within his rights to defend himself. Justice was served. As a result riots ensued. What was wanted was not justice, but vengeance. When vengeance wasn’t served it spewed out onto the streets. Business’ were looted, burned, etc. As I looked at the aftermath, my heart wept. It wept for the city. It wept for this family, and it wept for the police officer. No one wanted what happened. And here we all are witnesses this anger, ripping apart this city.
Then, I saw the video of the young boy reaching out and hugging the police officer. This is what we need. Understanding. Love. Hope. As Martin Luther King Jr once said, violence begets violence. In order for this nation to heal we need to take a lesson from this young boy. Reaching out with love is the only way to restore peace in our hearts and in our nation.