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[personal profile] bedlamhouse
This essay is based on information obtained at 9:15 am on Friday, 8 July, 2016. Things may change, but these are my feelings at this moment in time.

#BlackLivesMatter. If "All Lives Matter" is to be anything more than an act of denial, then preserving it requires we address the lives most at risk. Black lives are most at risk, especially in police encounters. Attempting to treat them the same is like having a toilet seal leak and a basement pipe burst at the same time and deciding to address the toilet leak while letting the burst pipe flood the house because of some misplaced idea that "all pipes matter". The first rule of triage is to address the most dangerous issues immediately. We must address this immediately.

#PoliceLivesMatter. I know members of the law enforcement community who put their lives on the line day after day to protect people regardless of their skin color. Taking revenge on any accessible white police officer is as appalling and wrong as a white police officer assuming a threat from a black man and using deadly force without due cause. Whether you quibble about the use of "racist" when a population is unempowered or not, a guy with a gun is empowered to enforce his own prejudices.

THESE ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.

Not all police officers are racist fascists, Not all black men are criminal thugs. But the fact that of "not all" should empower NO ONE to argue the existence of "none", nor should it be used to invalidate the emotional response toward the ones who violate their own humanity. #BlackLivesMatter is about making people aware that there is anger and despair about something that happens over and over again - but people should take into their hearts that there is also anger and fear based on the existence of multiple shooters targeting police officers who were no more guilty than Philando Castile. To argue one's own case DOES NOT MEAN DEMEANING THE EMOTIONS OF OTHERS. To discuss "it happens more" on one side or the other is valid for determining placement of resources, but it is NOT VALID WHEN RESPONDING TO THE EMOTIONAL NEEDS OF THOSE AFFECTED.

I am in mourning for all who died. I am in mourning for a population that continues to be threatened out of proportion to its size. I am in mourning for members of a profession whose reputations are destroyed by individual and systemic racism. I am in mourning that a peaceful protest was hijacked by those who would exact revenge based on race, thus destroying any chance for dialogue and setting us against one another. I am in mourning for the shared sense of our humanity that is being stripped from us all every time we ignore the value of life and argue over semantics and refuse to find common ground.

We are meant to be one people who come as a myriad of beautiful individual parts. We are meant to find God (or our fulfillment as human beings, or both, as your beliefs may define it) by meeting these challenges, not by succumbing to them.

Once, just once, whatever side you find yourself on, PLEASE take a moment to take a breath and think of someone you find opposing you. Once, just once, think of how to join yourselves together instead of thinking about how to score debating points. Once, just once, feel each other's pain and sadness and fear - and once, just once, think of how you can act together in love.

Anger, grief, pain - all are valid responses. Let them not lead to blindness, despair, and hate. Instead, let them fuel our resolve, our vision, and our love.

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