What has been going around in my head today is a reaction to a facebook post by someone I deeply respect. He didn't want to hear any more about the reactions to the killings of black young men and the lack of judicial response.
It was a jolt to me. I started thinking -- this is not just about black males. It is much more than that. When my two sons were teenagers, there was a gathering of their friends in our suburban kitchen. Someone commented that everyone in my house -- except for me -- had been arrested -- even our dog. None of the boys were criminal types. (The dog was bailed out -- he had been a hero protecting a young woman who was being attacked.)
We live in an environment where police are overly zealous. For example, I don't drink, but I was stopped for not having my headlights on. The police woman was clearly disappointed that she couldn't get me on a DUI. What is going on? Years ago, a cop would have politely advised this grandmotherly person that she needed to turn her lights on. Instead, I faced a hefty fine and a trip to court that took most of my day.
On the highways, there are towns that make their budgets by catching speeders. And they're famous for it. All these little infractions bring in money, too. And there are the prisons that are for profit enterprises. Far too many people are locked up for too long, many of them for little or no cause. Money, money, money.
It strikes me that the police who are sent out to do the dirty work are patsies. They don't get paid much, they're in the line of danger and many people hate them for what they do. What is all this about? Abroad we are the policemen of the Western World. At home, we're selling military equipment to our towns and cities.
NRA mentality has gone much too far. When we look in the mirror, we are not a pretty sight.
To claim we are civilized, we must make sure that we are.