“Hands Up!” “Don’t Shoot!”

Posted: June 10, 2015 in From Me To You, Leadership, Opinion, Referrals, Theology
Tags: , , , ,

chain LinkJust last night, I heard about an incident that happened this past Friday. I didn’t know anything about it, so I decided to look it up. I found a disturbing video, one that reveals a complex, multi-faceted social problem.

What was this incident? It revolved around a pool party in a well-to-do neighborhood in McKinney, TX. A neighbor called the police to report that there was a disturbance, so the police came to put a stop to said disturbance.

What happened when they got there is telling, to say the least.

Whether you have or have not seen the video already, take a minute and watch it. This footage of the event is only 50 seconds long. In fact, since it is so short, watch it several times over. Note how one person reacts throughout the video. Then watch it again, focusing on another person or action. After you are satisfied you have seen what you needed to see, move on to the next part of my post.

What did you see? Did you see a case of excessive force? Did you see inappropriate use of a weapon? Did you see hooligans? Did you see American citizens acting appropriately? Did you see racial biases and presumptions in play?

I would agree with much of that.

(Here are a few more videos, if you want to see more of the incident: Vid 1, Vid 2)

***SIDE NOTE***
The officer was not pointing his weapon at the teenagers. Look up images and videos of a person actively pointing a gun at someone, then compare those with how he was handling his weapon. You will see that he had it drawn as a matter of preparation and posturing, not in active use. He was being careful not to point it at someone’s face or chest, as instinct would dictate. Wee need to talk about this and other issues, but in order to have a proper discussion, we need to look at it as it happened rather than call it “a cop pointing a gun at a bunch of kids.” At least the title of this video puts it more specifically than some other sources.
***END SIDE NOTE***

But there is also another layer to all of this, one that is being overlooked by much of society — both in social media and in “professional” media: We have forgotten the principles of Proverbs 22.

A good name is to be more desired than great wealth,
Favor is better than silver and gold.
The rich and the poor have a common bond,
The Lord is the maker of them all.
The prudent sees the evil and hides himself,
But the naive go on, and are punished for it.
The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord
Are riches, honor and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse;
He who guards himself will be far from them.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (NASB)

How are we training up our children? It seems from the trend over the past few years that we are teaching them to disrespect and question police officers at every turn. We are teaching them that it is ok to throw rocks and bricks at police officers or otherwise intend to kill or hospitalize them (take special care to read the entirety of that article), shouting “Hands up, don’t shoot!” and other rally cries with varying levels of factual truth.

It is becoming commonplace to see groups of young people — and adults as well — acting maliciously or just plain foolishly towards police officers. Have we forgotten to relay to them the personal and societal dangers of obstructing law enforcement? Have we decided it is unimportant to teach them the seemingly-obvious principle that aggressively interfering with an investigator is counter-intuitive?

It seems to me that as a nation, we have shown them that the process of justice can and should be circumvented by political statements — by local offices of the lowest level and by national offices of the highest level. This has given the coming generations more confidence to do the once-unthinkable, under the false belief that it is somehow morally sanctioned by our divine humanity.

So what are the police to do? All these events have been heavy on the minds of police officers across our country, honorable and dishonorable alike. Is pepper spray their only option against potentially deadly force, given the now-standard societal backlash for anything further? How is our justice system supposed to function when our peacekeepers become the de facto criminals in any case involving ebony and ivory, while mobs and troublemakers’ mistakes and false notions are overlooked?

Proverbs 22 also says,

11 He who loves purity of heart
And whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend. (NASB)

The Bible speaks a lot about the role of government (i.e. “the king”) being to punish wrongdoers and reward good citizens. An infusion of hostility will make you an enemy of the king, whether that king is corrupt or not.

Is there racial discrimination in our justice system? Yes. Is there excessive force? Yes. Is there good reason for a cop to draw his weapon in a group of unruly, seemingly defiant teenagers? Perhaps. A look at the Tueller Drill suggests the possibility.

(In this case, I don’t think the girl was the problem. It seems to me that she was trying to do what the police told her, but Casebolt didn’t handle her as such. The boys, however…)

But what we need to revamp first and foremost is ourselves. Yes, we can examine police training practices and procedures, but so long as we are concurrently teaching our young people that it is justified to act belligerently towards police officers and the justice system at large, we will continue to cause more problems than we are solving.

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