Where are you?
No, seriously, where are you?
I know that you exist, but I can't see you.
A tragedy occurs, and all I hear is, "Not all cops are bad."
Let's ignore the simple fact that such an assertion so greatly misses the mark. That to take a tragedy such as the ones recently suffered and turn it into something about you, the good cop, is illustrative of the very ego that underlies the foundation of these ordeals.
When a mother commits a horrific act against her child, there is not one part of me that thinks to call attention to and defend all mothers. To ensure that people know that "not all mothers are bad." Outside of the fact that such a declaration is so painfully obvious that it is to be undeserving of remark, to operate in such a manner would only serve to blur the focus. A focus, which belongs on the victim; not the infallibility of the class of perpetrator.
And isn't that what society's citizens are? Law enforcement's children? After all, the sole purpose of their existence is to "protect and serve." Unfortunately, the verbs included in that missive so often fail to attach to the proper nouns. So often it is not the community that is protected, but the officer's pride. It is not the public that is served, but the policeman's ego. Realities that are only further complicated by racial prejudices that are unfortunately a very real and present actuality.
When a mother commits an atrocity against her child, she is publicly admonished. Her actions are scrutinized, discussed, and disseminated by fellow mothers as a cautionary tale for generations of parents to come. And yet, when a police officer engages in a deplorable act, all I see from fellow law enforcement is...silence.
This is your time, good cops, to speak up. To align yourself with the community; a community that feels betrayed by your peers. This is your opportunity to use your power (that same power that prevents you from being tried, in the wake of a murder, as your neighbor would be) to effectuate change and advocate for the greater good. To forge a bond and mend fences with a populace that feels abandoned.
And yet you are absent.
You, as a good cop, know what it takes to wear the badge with honor. You know the underlying traits, both mental and emotional, that make for a great officer of the law. You know what it's like to feel fear in the face of uncertainty, and to demonstrate courage and make the responsible decision in the face of that fear. You know what it's like to put your life on the line; choosing to protect society's innocent, rather than jump to conclusions and assume their guilt in the interest of your own self-preservation. You know whether there should be changes to the hiring process, the training process, the mechanisms of oversight, or all of the above. Better than anyone else, you know.
So stand up, alongside your constituents, and fight for justice. Stand up and demand change. We all know that it's necessary for the betterment of society, and there is no one in a better position to carry that movement forward. Your voice is respected. Your voice is powerful. And your voice needs to be heard, especially by those who have been disproportionately oppressed.
For until you do, there will continue to be a divide. Until you do, your silence will continue to be taken as tacit complicity. As some guy named Albert Einstein once said, "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."
So please, don't do nothing. Don't let another missed opportunity pass you by. Take this chance to fight for those who are feeling underrepresented and powerless. Protect them. Serve them. Be the hero you signed up to be.
Because our brothers and sisters are dying out there. And I'm running out of tears to shed.