I have read so much about police shootings of unarmed people in the last few weeks. Many of the stories are just heart wrenching, the thing that breaks my heart the most is that these are just the ones we know about. These are the ones where the families somehow found the strength and motivation after devastating grief to make the story known for nothing more than a glimmer of hope that it would prevent more undue harm. More have happened, their stories won't be told.
I'm gonna jump around a little, but stick with me.
I worked in retail for six years. I am familiar with the fact that a job where you deal with the public can instill contempt for people in somebody who is otherwise optimistic and happy. For my friends who have never worked in any form of customer service I describe it as
"Imagine that there's a race of people called "customers".
Ok. Now imagine that you are a HUGE racist.
There ya go.
You make a lot of pre-judments of people.
You often speak in hushed tones.
You say "they" and "them" a lot."
(We'll save why this culture of bitter cynicism exists for another post.)
I had this experience working at Trader Joe's, a place known for the happy-happy relationship between employees and customers. I can only imagine what working in retail would be like if it were a job where customers openly showed that they hate me while I was on the job, where there was a whole culture of music that celebrated the disrespect/demise of me and my coworkers, and I feared for my life for most of my shift.
I've never been on a ride-a-long, I have no family in the police force. I have a friend who is a cop, but he never talks about it. Even being far removed from the reality of life as a cop, I can still empathize. Being in a high stress situation with uneven power dynamics is a recipe for irrational decision making. Its human. Just read about theStandford prison experiment. This is why I've never even entertained the notion of life as a police officer.
Now lets jump ship for a second and remember this moment from arguably one of the best action movies ever made.
I slightly paraphrased those scenes to be concise, do the character dynamics justice, and get my point across.
My point being that even knowing very little about being a cop, I still can understand how hard it is to be a cop,
when you find yourself in a situation with an unarmed suspect please, please, please police officers, hold yourself to the standard of at least having
as much humanity as the Terminator.
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