On many Friday nights during my high school years, I found myself in a car with friends on the Las Vegas Strip. I was in good company; I was either with close friends or friends of close friends.
It’s the Strip, so, inevitably, a police car would drive by with lights flashing and sirens blaring.
No matter the company, it was equally inevitable that someone in my car would form a gun shape with their hand, point it at a rushing cop car and light it up with an imaginary Uzi or grenade launcher.
It disgusted me.
Hating police officers is the current American social fad. I’ve been told by many that my stance on this issue makes me sound like I am coming from the perspective of a privileged, white, middle-class man.
For better or for worse, that is what I am; so that’s the perspective from which I can, and will, unapologetically express myself —and I know I represent many who feel the same way: black, white, poor and and more.
Please understand—I am not saying racism isn’t an issue. Nor am I saying that families, regardless of their color, have not lost loved ones at the hands of corrupt or eccentric cops. Those kinds of cops exist.
They probably always will, and yes, we should investigate and prosecute them as justly as possible.
However, it is concerning to me that a few agencies out of the thousands around the country have been the defining example for law enforcement.
It’s disturbing that a controversial issue can spread like wildfire and even make the unaffected citizens of this country hate law enforcement just so they can feel they are part of a movement.
Perhaps this issue is more concerning to me than the average “white, middle-class” person because my brother was a cop.
He left the force in Henderson, Nevada, after a short career of dangerous active-shooter situations.
When I see people, especially my friends, pretending to blow up or shoot up cop cars, it affects me personally because I see my brother in that car.
When I hear of people exclaiming that police need to be harmed or killed to pay for their actions, it’s my brother’s blood they want to spill.
He will always be a cop at heart even though he is not currently serving on the force, and I have always admired his bravery, dedication and acceptance of all people.
I understand and profoundly agree that #blacklivesmatter, but can we consider the motto #alllivesmatter longer than scrolling casually over its meme-form on Facebook? Whether a black citizen or a white cop gets shot tomorrow, chances are they are part of a family, have people in their lives that love them dearly and would be shattered by their death.
It would go a long way if we all got to know our police departments. We should learn what we can about our local officers and what they do to protect our community long before they pull us over and pull out their ticket books.
Maybe they can’t come to our homes and get to know us, but I’m sure we could spend an hour or less on a weekend getting to know them.
Perhaps when we finally get to know our cops, fewer people will feel the surge of fear when a cop rounds the corner.
Perhaps the brush with which society paints our officers will get a little thinner.
Perhaps, in them, we’ll see our neighbor, our fellow citizen, a brother or a son.