Monday, December 28, 2015

All Life Matters

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

The Christmas week has once again become a police verses community headline for Chicagoans.  2015 has really been an active police and politics and community challenge for the residents.  It’s not just Chicago, Ferguson, Baltimore and many other places in the USA, you will hear the slogan “Black Lives Matter”.  This year and this slogan have been synonymous with each other.

To start with the slogan should be “ALL Life Matters”.

With either the police using their power to protect or power to execute, perhaps using their guns with a bit more aggression than needed.  There is also constant aid of social media encouraging the public to record everything they see, and 24/7/365 media coverage providing launch pad for the eager attention needed and the drama of personal and political nuances that follows every tragedy.

It is to the public’s dismay that the law enforcement doesn’t have the equipment (cameras and voice recordings on the car or and on person) to clearly record and document these incidents.  While the public somehow has a way to record just about everything, police and law enforcement somehow can’t document what they do.  While the consistently spend excessive to their available resources (including the ability to borrow) and spending limits, along with underfunding education and basic infrastructure.  The elected governments appetite for waste, misuse and mismanagement never allows for spending public’s money as it should be.  Ill equipped police force is not a single city phenomenon, rather it is a national issue.  Also police vs the community is not an isolated issue to one city, rather a nationwide problem.

First, we need to give credit to the law enforcement for doing a good job or maintaining law and order in general.  USA is by and large a peaceful and law abiding society, and with very little big brother handling, we are a country of peace and quiet.  The value of the police to the society is enormous by simply being a part of the community and making the people realize the rule of law.  Do policing sometimes profile people based on who they are and how they look?  The answer to that is, Yes!  There is no question that the law enforcement profiling citizens based their experience with each member of the community.  It is in fact human nature to use experience of life to profile and form opinions.  There should be no prejudice in profiling, simply a matter of fact based on experience and how to react to each instance if that happens in real life.

Before we point to the police and their actions, the community issues and its participation in the overall impact to the city should be more in focus.  If you take a large city like Chicago and its suburbs, where do the police get the most 911 or emergency calls?  What are these instances of distress, medical emergencies, civil issues, accidents and or any other law enforcement related issues?  Where are the police most vulnerable to the risk of confrontation and violence?  What are the areas where the city experiences crime the most?  There are so many variables to respond to and what the police has to deal with in each call they have to respond to.  The perspective of the danger to life and the relevance of history of the neighborhoods, is very real for law enforcement.  Race or religion has nothing to do with danger to life and to the law enforcement.

If a city has a diverse population and it also has diverse law enforcement team.  The responsibility is to have equal protection under the rule of law.  It is a fact that statistics and history of each neighborhood is available to law enforcement, and how they plan their actions to support every neighborhood.  The police are no different from any other human being, and they will do what they can to save and protect life and also their own life in doing their duty.  For sure they will fear for their life as any other human being would be.

Communities can police themselves against unruliness.  The huge metropolis has hundreds of neighborhoods and majority of them live without incident.  Most of the population live in peace and follow the law, and thereby not putting themselves and also their neighbors in harm’s way.

All we need is very little investment into each person in law enforcement while they respond to crisis.  Record the events and make them public immediately.  Let the police be constantly trained on crisis management and how to deal with each instance when they really are walking into danger.  The duty is to protect everyone and every life, including their own life.  What will be an impossible law enforcement issue is public and community guessing the actions.  Perhaps police should have body cameras that work and public should follow the law, rather than continuously be disruptive and confrontational.  If everyone follows the rule of law we should have no accidents and violence and killings, simply peace and quiet.  It is impossible to serve and protect, if society doesn’t want to follow the rule of law, and communities don’t embrace the law enforcement.  At the same time the police show restraint in handling everyone.  Finally, the community should support and invest in the safety, security and equipment needed for the police to do their job.

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