We still await the day Martin Luther King, Jr. longed for – that day when there will be no distinctions between black persons and white persons, but that day of “man as man.”
That it’s not here yet, is something that should trouble all of us. As if there are not already enough problems that the nation must face and overcome, we certainly do not need to have racial issues added as an additional burden.
As is often the case, unresolved racial issues that run just under the surface often flare up when tragedy strikes. “The incidents in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland where two unarmed black men died as a result of their interactions with police spawned the Black Lives Matter movement, riots, looting and violence against law enforcement.”
The reaction from the Obama administration was rather predictable. “The Department of Justice under Barack Obama decided it was time to crack down on what it saw as an epidemic of police brutality against black citizens, launching a series of investigations and ultimately ‘agreements’ with local police departments to stem the tide.”
The new Attorney General, Mr. Sessions, is taking a different approach. “The Washington Post reports, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered Justice Department officials to review reform agreements with troubled police forces nationwide, saying it was necessary to ensure that these pacts do not work against the Trump administration’s goals of promoting officer safety and morale while fighting violent crime.”
The object of law enforcement is to arrest criminals based on the alleged crimes and with zero regard to matters such as race or sex. The problem for law enforcement officials is that their margin for error is very small, with people’s lives, including their own, hanging in the balance depending on the decisions they must make in a split second.
That there needs to be a general sense of trust between a community and its police force is obvious. When someone or some group acts to disrupt that, old wounds are reopened and everyone loses.
The other problem is that, sadly, there are those who stand to benefit politically and in other ways from continued racial unrest. Some of those leaders are already unhappy with Mr. Sessions’ decision. Yet if the police sense they are under siege and respond by stepping back from enforcing the law, the community loses as criminals rightly sense an opportunity.
This is a problem without an easy solution because it requires one of humanity’s most fragile characteristics – trust. It would be interesting to consider what Dr. King would have said of all of this.
Source: Allen B.West