What happens to your heart when you see an officer has been shot? Better still, where does your brain go? Do you find yourself in a place of compassion and empathy, perhaps even anger or do you question what caused the shooting?
These are the thoughts I pondered last Friday morning, Jan. 11 as I woke to the senseless death of a 22-year-old Davis, California officer. Twenty two? Let that sink in a minute. Not enough, how about newly sworn in and eager to do her job as a servant of the law.
My mind honestly goes numb as I type these words, what is going on in this country?
I’m going to be completely transparent and honest here; I don’t believe guns are the problem. Now, before you see “red” and shoot off a letter to the editor or post a comment about the type of person I am for making such a statement you should know this.
I’m not a gun owner.
I was, however, raised in an environment where weapons were placed in places for protection. As children, we knew where those places were and we never felt a need to go there. Quite honestly, we were too busy being kids watching movies, playing and writing notes to pass in class the next day to worry about the hidden “protection.” Just like a car has a job to get us to school, the gun had a purpose to protect the family if need be.
This recent epidemic of disrespect for those in uniform however, it’s not about guns, it’s about respect. Actually it’s about many things, which would quite honestly serve as a great thesis for a college student writing on the topic of the fall of humanity. That’s where we are, in my ever so humble opinion. We are circling the drain.
I hear a lot of talk about people concerned that Social Security will run out. Perhaps we need to hold up a bit and recognize our focus needs to be shifted a bit. For my generation and younger, Social Security is quite honestly the least of our problems, as I see it. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and engage with each other.
What I mean by that is really simple, we need to return to accountability in our youth, model and expect respect and please, for goodness sake, stop enabling our youth with this “not fair” mentality.
Life is not fair and when it doesn’t go your way, you don’t have a right to shoot someone because you had a bad day. That’s obvious, right? Or is it? Because last Friday morning, I scratched my head over all of this, more than I have in a really long time.
Many friends pointed out the rise we have as a country with mental illness. Pointing out the disconnect of this current generation who live and breathe by the sword of their smart phones, the World Wide Web and video games. As a parent, I struggle with this. My children have all of these things. Am I raising future murderers?
That’s a real question, not at all tongue in cheek. Yet, it’s also a stark reminder and perhaps a bit of a smack in the face of what is real and how I must adjust.
As parents we (well most of us), work to do our best by our children. We don’t always get it right – we’re human. Yet as the adults, the experience in life, we must teach them morals, respect, selflessness, kindness and compassion. It is also our place to teach them to respect the law and those whom enforce it. Rules are to be followed and laws are in place for a reason.
So what’s the point really? My question is quite simple, how many lives will it take before we as the “adults” finally get dialed in and recognize our call to duty. Sure, we never took an oath, accepted a uniform or have an assigned beat. Yet as humans, as contributing members of society and this world we each hold a responsibility to model what these men and women have elected to stand for and protect.
God help us all, it’s time to get to work.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.